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I see, if we adopt your solution we could do something  like <note>translated from the <bibl> <textLang mainLang=„grc“>Greek</textLang><bibl><note>. This has the advantage that it seems to be more in line with  the common bibliographical pratice and in addtion you avoid empty tags. 
Best
Thomas
---------------------------------------------
Prof. Dr. Thomas Stäcker
Direktor der Universitäts- und Landesbibliothek Darmstadt
Magdalenenstr. 8
64289 Darmstadt 
Tel. +49 (0) 6151 16-76200
Email: [log in to unmask]

> Am 22.10.2018 um 18:02 schrieb Martin Holmes <[log in to unmask]>:
> 
> Hi Thomas,
> 
> I'm trying to find a solution that uses language codes (à la BCP 47) values in a parsable way, so I want to avoid an ad-hoc note-type solution.
> 
> Cheers,
> Martin
> 
>> On 2018-10-22 2:26 a.m., Thomas Stäcker wrote:
>> Sorry, now also to the list.
>> Thomas
>>> Am 22.10.2018 um 11:25 schrieb Thomas Stäcker:
>>> Martin,
>>> from a bibliographical angle I don't see any necessity to refer to a different bibliographic item. It would suffice to note that your text is a translation from the Greek. This can be done by adding a bibliographical note such as <bibl><title>Selected Little-known Greek Poems</title><note>translated from the Greek<note></bibl>. See e.g. the "translation note" in https://www.loc.gov/item/12032596/.
>>> Best,
>>> Thomas
>>> 
>>> 
>>>> Am 22.10.2018 um 04:51 schrieb Martin Holmes:
>>>> Hi Conal,
>>>> 
>>>> I take your point, but I think my unease derives from the fact that:
>>>> 
>>>> <relatedItem type="translatedFrom">
>>>> 
>>>> is ad-hoc (there's no such standardized, recommended or sample value for relatedItem/@type), while
>>>> 
>>>> <derivation type="translation">
>>>> 
>>>> is there in the spec, as a sample value. If <derivation> allows me to specify that something is a translation, why can't I specify what language it was translated from in the same place?
>>>> 
>>>> Cheers,
>>>> Martin
>>>> 
>>>>> On 2018-10-21 3:56 a.m., Conal Tuohy wrote:
>>>>> Hi Martin
>>>>> 
>>>>> I agree it is a little unusual to have a <bibl> containing nothing but a <textLang>, but personally I don't see anything wrong with that if it accurately reflects the (unusual) state of your knowledge about this particular text, which I think you said you know nothing about except that it was in Greek. My conservative inclination is not to add new syntax to TEI where it is already adequate (as it seems to me to be). Of course, in the event that you DID find out more about the text which was the source for the translation, and you had used a <bibl> to describe it, then you could enrich that description very easily simply by inserting new elements into that <bibl>.
>>>>> 
>>>>> Personally I don't find it too prolix or "roundabout"; but perhaps this is because this style is more akin to the way it would be encoded in RDF, which is something I've come to feel very comfortable with.
>>>>> 
>>>>> <bibl>
>>>>>     <title>Selected Little-known Greek Poems</title>
>>>>>     <textLang mainLang="en"/>
>>>>>     <relatedItem type="translatedFrom">
>>>>>        <bibl>
>>>>>           <textLang mainLang="grc"/>
>>>>> </bibl>
>>>>> </relatedItem>
>>>>> </bibl>
>>>>> 
>>>>> The clincher, for me, is that <bibl> and related elements already provide a standard way to encode many kinds of bibliographic metadata including the language of the source text. Personally I don't see what you stand to gain by adding another alternative method whose utility would be more restricted.
>>>>> 
>>>>> Cheers
>>>>> 
>>>>> Conal
>>>>> 
>>>>> On Sun, 21 Oct 2018 at 06:46, Martin Holmes <[log in to unmask] <mailto:[log in to unmask]>> wrote:
>>>>> 
>>>>>     Hi Conal,
>>>>> 
>>>>>     On 2018-10-19 11:18 p.m., Conal Tuohy wrote:
>>>>>      > The element <relatedItem> may be helpful: if you have a <bibl> which
>>>>>      > describes your English-language text, it could use a
>>>>>     <relatedItem> to
>>>>>      > point to a <bibl> which describes the original text of which it is a
>>>>>      > translation (even if only to the extent of naming the language,
>>>>>     with a
>>>>>      > <textLang> element). e.g.
>>>>>      >
>>>>> http://www.tei-c.org/release/doc/tei-p5-doc/en/html/CO.html#index-egXML-d53e48477
>>>>> 
>>>>>     That seems a really roundabout way to do something that really
>>>>>     should be
>>>>>     quite simple, don't you think? I <bibl> containing nothing but a
>>>>>     <textLang> would be a bit weird:
>>>>> 
>>>>>     <bibl><textLang mainLang="la"/><bibl>
>>>>> 
>>>>>     And it seems to me that <derivation> is where this should really go.
>>>>> 
>>>>>     I think I'd like to see the definition and of <lang> expanded so
>>>>>     that it
>>>>>     isn't constrained to linguistic contexts alone; and also I think it
>>>>>     needs an attribute on which the language can be specified using BCP 47,
>>>>>     rather than encouraging the use of ad-hoc textual language descriptors
>>>>>     in the content of the element, as we do now.
>>>>> 
>>>>>     Cheers,
>>>>>     Martin
>>>>> 
>>>>>      >
>>>>>      >
>>>>>      >
>>>>>      > On Sat, 20 Oct 2018 at 01:45, Martin Holmes <[log in to unmask]
>>>>> <mailto:[log in to unmask]>
>>>>>      > <mailto:[log in to unmask] <mailto:[log in to unmask]>>> wrote:
>>>>>      >
>>>>>      >     Hi all,
>>>>>      >
>>>>>      >     We're encoding some poems in English, some of which are
>>>>>     translations of
>>>>>      >     original texts in other languages. We don't necessarily know
>>>>>     the source
>>>>>      >     text ("Translated from the Greek" might be the only info we have,
>>>>>      >     and we
>>>>>      >     don't have the resources to chase down all the actual
>>>>>     original sources,
>>>>>      >     assuming they still exist). But we'd like to include
>>>>>     information about
>>>>>      >     the language from which the translation was made, using IANA
>>>>>     language
>>>>>      >     subtag codes, somewhere in the header. (Each poem gets its
>>>>>     own TEI file
>>>>>      >     with its own header.)
>>>>>      >
>>>>>      >     I think the obvious place to do this is:
>>>>>      >
>>>>>      >     <derivation type="translation">[something in
>>>>>     here...]</derivation>
>>>>>      >
>>>>>      >     The <lang> element looks like it should do the job here, but it
>>>>>      >     seems to
>>>>>      >     be restricted to "etymological or linguistic" uses, which
>>>>>     isn't quite
>>>>>      >     right; and in any case, adding @xml:lang to <lang> would
>>>>>     apply it to
>>>>>      >     the
>>>>>      >     content of the <lang> tag itself.
>>>>>      >
>>>>>      >     Has anyone dealt with this? Do you have any suggestions? Do
>>>>>     we need
>>>>>      >     something like <origLang>, analogous to <origDate> and
>>>>>     <origPlace>, to
>>>>>      >     record the language of origin of a text which is a translation?
>>>>>      >
>>>>>      >     Cheers,
>>>>>      >     Martin
>>>>>      >
>>>>>      >
>>>>>      >
>>>>>      > --
>>>>>      > Conal Tuohy
>>>>>      > http://conaltuohy.com/
>>>>>      > @conal_tuohy
>>>>>      > +61-466-324297
>>>>> 
>>>>> 
>>>>> 
>>>>> -- 
>>>>> Conal Tuohy
>>>>> http://conaltuohy.com/
>>>>> @conal_tuohy
>>>>> +61-466-324297
>>> 
>>> -- 
>>> ***************************************
>>> Prof. Dr. Thomas Stäcker
>>> Direktor der
>>> Universitäts- und Landesbibliothek Darmstadt
>>> Magdalenenstr. 8
>>> 64289 Darmstadt
>>> +49 (0)6151 16-76200
>>> [log in to unmask]
>> -- 
>> ***************************************
>> Prof. Dr. Thomas Stäcker
>> Direktor der
>> Universitäts- und Landesbibliothek Darmstadt
>> Magdalenenstr. 8
>> 64289 Darmstadt
>> +49 (0)6151 16-76200
>> [log in to unmask]