Thursday, July 31, 2008

Vocabulary bleg

I'm working on a translation project, and I'm getting deeper and deeper into that zone where I understand perfectly well what the original means, but I'm having a hard time remembering what the appropriate words are in English. (Somehow the more languages I get into my head, the less I can correctly use any of them.)

So I turn to the blogosphere. First, an easy-ish one: in English, is a female marquis most appropriately called a "marquise" or a "marchioness"?

Second, there's a Portuguese word recolhimento, which describes a place that would take in women and give them a basic education and a place to live, usually until they were old enough to marry. Its name comes from the verb meaning "to gather," so it's a place that gathers people in. I can't for the life of me think of a corresponding term in English: it's not a poor-house, because the women weren't necessarily poor; it's not an orphanage, because they often had parents; it wasn't exactly a finishing school, because (at least to me) that suggests building on a previous education as well as preparation for entry into an elite world, which wasn't necessarily the case here. It was really a mix of all of these things, with a religious element (but it wasn't a convent, becasue they didn't take vows). Is there any word that would suggest this, or am I stuck writing a long awkward footnote to explain this term?

Thanks for any suggestions!

No comments:

Post a Comment