I’m translating a small book on wine labels and have come across a problem: the Italian title is Enografie: il Design racconta i vini del Piemonte.

The publisher wants the English title to be the same length for the purposes of layout.  Enografie is one of those peculiarly Italian neologisms, well the French do it too.  In despair, I googled Enography (I gave up on the idea of a plural form!) and – thanks for the millioneth time to Internet – yes, it does exist, mainly as Oenography – meaning “words on wine”.  It’s the title of a charming little book in the State Library of South Australia whose cover is reproduced below.

So oenography it is.  As for the title of the book I’m working on, well in consultation with my co-translator, we’ve gone for Oenography: Designer labels for the wines of Piemonte.  And before anyone points out that Piemonte should be Piedmont or Piedmontese, this publisher’s house rules tell us to stick to Torino and Piemonte… so needs must, however ugly!  There’s no logic to the decision – just imagine if VisitScotland were to publish a book with the title, say, “Mangiare bene a Edinburgh”!  But he who pays the piper calls the tune…


About Lucy Byatt

I'm a translator, from Italian into English. I also teach Italian Renaissance history and write.
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