Guidelines for Readers and Authors

Les Intraduisibles, the paradoxical dictionary of untranslatable terms in politics, is interactive, decentralized, bottom-up. Political scientists all over the world are free to register as authors. They are free to make new entries or comment on existing terms and texts.

How To Browse Les Intraduisibles

First, select the dictionary you wish to revise.

Then, select a specific term or click on "Look up entire dictionary" to have all entries listed.

How to Make New Entries

To introduce a new term, be careful to select the right dictionary. Then, click on "Add a New Term".

To comment on existing entries, just go to the field "Adding a Comment" placed at the end each entry.

In Which Language to Write

Important: All entries that discuss problems of translating foreign-language terms into English should be in English.

All entries that discuss problems of translating English into some other language, may be written either in that same language or in English.

Dictionary Language
Dutch-English English
French-English English
German-English English
Italian-English English
Spanish-English English
English-Dutch Dutch
English-French French
English-German German
English-Italian Italian
English-Spanish Spanish

How Should Entries Look Like

Entries of new "untranslatable" terms may short and informal. They may lay only the broad contours of the translation problems involved.

Yet entries may also be more formal, elaborate, and sophisticated. Ideally. entries should respond to three basic questions:

Which is the problem? In what respect does the term lack a precise semantic equivalent? Is it broader or more narrow than similar foreign-language terms? Does it denote different things? Does it carry different evaluative connotations than similar terms in the other language? Etcetera.

How do scholars translate the term? Do they recognize problems of translation? How do they commonly resolve them? Which are the advantages and drawbacks of different translation practices.

How should we translate the term? Do we have any innovative solution to offer? Are there new and better ways to cope with the lack of semantic equivalence?

In addition, entries may contain a brief list of bibliographic references that give a guide to the main literature on the term or concept under discussion.

Who May Make Entries

To introduce new terms, authors have to meet only one simple requirement: They have to be members of the Committee on Concepts and Methods. To join us, just fill in brief the C&M membership form. It will not take you more than 90 seconds.

Colleagues who wish to comment on existing entries are invited, but not required, to join C&M.