luminaire

Sodega

Member
French
I'm working on a document that is using the word "Luminaire" (lantern) in both English and French. I know it's a French word but my contact thinks I should leave it that way because they've been using it for so long.

What I'm wondering is: if I leave it that way, should it be written in Italic like we would do for a English word in a French text? Should it be written with the first letter in capital?

Example: Luminaires are placed around the path.
 
  • SwissPete

    Senior Member
    Français (CH), AE (California)
    Luminaire is a perfectly good English word.
    It can be found in many dictionaries.

    There is no reason to capitalize it.
     

    In Absentia

    Senior Member
    UK English
    Personally I would translate it, but it depends on the context and the intended audience. Luminaire has a technical definition in English (which differs tremendously from the word lantern), so the risk is to either sound too technical, too pretentious or just not be understood at all.

    If you were to say lanterns are placed around the path I would naturally envisage this:

    http://www.withoutahitch.co.uk/blog/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/lanterns-on-steps.jpg

    Unless electric lanterns were specified, I would assume candles were involved.
     

    Sodega

    Member
    French
    SwissPete: for luminaire I haven't found it in the Grand Robert & Collins, Larousse or Webster. I did found luminary which is not the same as what luminaire stands for in my text.

    In Absentia: I did thought of using the word lantern which seemed to be more appropriate but since the organism have been using luminaire for so long it seems like they wanted to stills use it so I thought it would be better if I wrote it in italic to specify the French approach of the term. Thanks for your advice on the matter. I will verify with the person what they want to do...
     

    In Absentia

    Senior Member
    UK English
    In Absentia: I did thought of using the word lantern which seemed to be more appropriate but since the organism have been using luminaire for so long it seems like they wanted to stills use it so I thought it would be better if I wrote it in italic to specify the French approach of the term. Thanks for your advice on the matter. I will verify with the person what they want to do...
    Cool good luck with it :) If they use it a lot they should presumbably have form for italicising, or not as the case may be.

    Just so you know though organism is a partial cognate faux-ami partiel. In this context you need to use organisation otherwise you're talking about a living thing.
     

    Kelly B

    Senior Member
    USA English
    SwissPete: for luminaire I haven't found it in the Grand Robert & Collins, Larousse or Webster. I did found luminary which is not the same as what luminaire stands for in my text.
    Are you sure luminary doesn't fit? What exactly are yours, and are you writing for a British or American audience? Luminaries are placed along the path works perfectly well in my region, if you mean something like candles in bags of sand as pictured in the link In Absentia posted.
     

    Sodega

    Member
    French
    The word they use is luminaIRE. It's luminary but written in the French form. I asked them if they wanted to keep the French form or have it translated. I'm still waiting for an answer. My question was in the case they decided to keep the French form, if I should have it italicising or not. I know it's a small matter but since a contract that is important for me I wanted to do it as professionally as possible.
     

    DrD

    Senior Member
    England English
    Hi Sodega, I would say that yes, you should italicise it, as although the word 'luminaire' does exist in English it appears to mean a complete lighting unit. It doesn't seem to have the meaning of lantern according to any of the dictionaries I checked, including the OED, so I would treat this word as being French and italicise it if they want to keep it.
     

    wildan1

    Moderando ma non troppo (French-English, CC Mod)
    I don't think most people who don't know French would understand "luminaire" unless they were in a specific specialized field (lighting or interior design). If that is the audience for this translation, then go ahead and use the French word.

    The only term in American English for these little paper lanterns (now often electrified and in plastic) with which I am familiar is borrowed from Spanish: luminaria.

    The English term luminary suggests to me a person who shines in his/her field -- a music luminary, a literary luminary.

     
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