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When doing my language exams for my doctorate, I requested to translate articles relevant to my interests that had not previously been translated, and to be able to do them at home, with the agreement that they would be much more difficult than what you might do on the spot in an exam setting. This was a very enlightening process for me when I did my French exam, and I expect it will be again when I start the German one next week. But I was hoping to make more of a contribution to the community with these translations, rather than them just sitting in a file somewhere at the school.

Does anyone know of a database for downloading and voluntarily submitting translations of math articles? I can't find anything fitting that description online. I expect such a thing would want to be moderated. But my translations are (and will be) good, I'm doing them very carefully, and if they weren't good my professors wouldn't accepted them.

In the meantime, if anyone is interested in an English translation of an article by Weil called "Sur la théorie des formes différentielles attachées à une variété analytique complexe," feel free to contact me and I'll send it. It's actually a letter he wrote to de Rham in 1946.

Also, if anyone is interested in an English translation of a 1977 article by Volker Schneider called "Elliptische Fixpunkte und Drehfaktoren zur Modulgruppe in Quaternionenschiefkörpern über reellquadratischen Zahlkörpern," I should have that done in a couple of weeks.

...but there's gotta be a better way of making one's translations available to those who would benefit from them.

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I do not pretend to be expert in such things, but I worry that various copyrights applying to the originals might apply in some way to translations... I'd recommend getting expert advice about copyright. (Although on scholarly grounds I am highly in favor of making important documents available in the first place, and myself would count a translation as a new thing, etc.) – paul garrett Mar 20 '13 at 20:28
@SylvainJulien: I certainly do not equate morality, or even ethics, with law, etc. And, as I intended to indicate, I am all in favor of availability of information, etc. However, I'd prefer that people know what they're getting into in such things, rather than discover trouble they'd not bargained-for. Information about "law" is good, too, if only as an indication of the plans of the power-elite for us. :) – paul garrett Mar 20 '13 at 21:20
@Sylvain: Concerning your suggestion about the law, see (unless you already know the story). – Misha Mar 20 '13 at 21:30
Also, as with other "intellectual property" [sic] episodes, activity below a thresh-hold attracts no attention, while larger-scale action gets more, with "examples" being made. (Thanks for your point, @Misha.) Thus, a "centralized" system with unclear legal status would seem more dangerous (?) than a more "distributed" system... as is often the case. Thus, unfortunately, this evolves somewhat "disorganized" viable operation modes. Translation of Anatole France: "The law in its majestic equality forbids the rich as well as the poor from stealing bread, begging and sleeping under bridges." – paul garrett Mar 20 '13 at 22:02
It may be sufficient to just link to the PDF from your webpage and let Google do the rest of the work. – Adeel Mar 20 '13 at 22:47

2 Answers 2

Put it on, in the math.HO category ("HO" stands for "History and Overview"). I've seen (and read) contributions there that are no more than translations of Euler from Latin to English. You'll want to write it up like a paper, with an explanatory paragraph providing context before the actual translation. This plan seems to provide everything you want, since is indexed by search engines, available to everyone, and should last a long time.

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Nice. I went to the site and registered. The article already has a preamble explaining exactly what the context is, it should be ready to go. Now I'm wondering if I should say I am the author or that Andre Weil is the author. If I enter Weil as the author it asks me to verify that I have permission to submit it, which of course I don't and never will because he is dead. In this case am I expected to contact the publisher of the book I found the French version in? Certainly there must be a standard procedure for doing this. – j0equ1nn Mar 21 '13 at 2:33
the common practice on arXiv is to list the author of the original work in the author field (just check for papers by A. Einstein on – Carlo Beenakker Mar 21 '13 at 12:41

I do not know of such database, but I like the idea of having one very much. Then we can ask all students passing the language exam to contribute to it:-) Mathematical papers are very rarely translated from French and German to English. (Most papers of Gauss and Riemann are not available in a good English translation). Unlike Russian papers: almost all main Russian journals are translated cover-to-cover, at least this was the case few years ago. Presumably people think that if you understand the alphabet then you can read mathematics written in this alphabet in any language:-)

Meanwhile, before this database is created, you can submit your translation to the arXiv. People do submit translations to the arxiv. Search for example on the name: Euler.

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Didn't Gauss publish in Latin? – Someone Mar 21 '13 at 10:20

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