I hope this is the right place to pose my question.

I'm writing a thesis in English, but it's based on a project aimed to Italian native speakers (and so am I) and therefore I have often to refer to Italian terms.

Since its main language is English, I want it to be completely understandable by English speakers, without the "gaps" due to Italian words. What is the best way to address this problem?

My current solution is to write translations in parentheses or footnotes, but I don't like it very much.

Is there a better solution?

1 Answer 1


If you provide a glossary of terms at the end of the thesis, then you only need one footnote, at the first Italian word, to point readers to the glossary. If the first usage of any Italian term is also written in italics, then the reader is prompted to consult the glossary if needed.

  • I already wrote a footnote at the first occurrence of an Italian word, warning readers that several others will appear later in the text. Unfortunately I don't consider the glossary solution suitable because I'm also including Italian sentences (as they are sample questions posed by real users) in the thesis.
    – M-elman
    Commented Nov 2, 2018 at 11:46
  • Harder then. Would it be suitable to put the English in the main text with the original Italian in footnotes, rather than the other way around? Endnotes is another solution that might be possible (rather than footnotes).
    – Buffy
    Commented Nov 2, 2018 at 11:49
  • 2
    Switching the languages of the examples as you suggested (English for the main text and Italian in footnotes) would probably seem to imply that the project has been developed in English and - more importantly - that the application is able to understand English utterances, which is untrue. Endnotes would probably make the reader lose the train of thought. I know it's a tough case...
    – M-elman
    Commented Nov 2, 2018 at 12:13

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