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Topic: how to search for books in a foreign language?

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Subject: how to search for books in a foreign language?
Date Posted: 8/4/2010 12:09 PM ET
Member Since: 1/3/2010
Posts: 16,120
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Is there a specific search technique for books in other languages? I'm looking for novels in French but when I searched by titles, nothing came up. Searching by author yielded only the English translations. Searching using the word 'French' brought up a boat load of language instruction manuals.

I did search under  'all books'. Is there another way? 

Date Posted: 8/4/2010 1:38 PM ET
Member Since: 7/7/2007
Posts: 4,815
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Marya, there isn't really a consistent way, unfortunately.  When we edit foreign book titles, we generally put (French) in the title and the translated title, if it is known, but a lot of the current database has info drawn from other sources and doesn't have that info.

You could try searching for a common French word or article (I don't speak French, so I cannot suggest one -- maybe "a" or "the'), but that would still not find everything.

You might try also the foreign language forum, to seek members posting French titles.

Date Posted: 8/4/2010 2:20 PM ET
Member Since: 1/3/2010
Posts: 16,120
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Thanks, I hadn't realized there was a foreign language forum.

Date Posted: 8/4/2010 4:25 PM ET
Member Since: 8/26/2006
Posts: 9,343
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Techniques I use:

  • Search for the word "French" and skip past the first few pages
  • Search for the word "French" and choose a genre -- maybe "literature" -- to weed out some of the instruction manuals.
  • Search for "aux", "avec", "du", "une" -- little common words that don't appear (much) in other languages
  • Add a tag to one of my French books, and then click on the tag to find other books tagged the same way.  The tags "French," "French language," and "francais" will all bring up a list.
  • When I find someone with French books on his or her bookshelf, I send a Friend invite (often with a PM explaining why), and then, once the invite is accepted, I tag that friend with a "French books" tag so that I can check the bookshelf later.
Date Posted: 8/5/2010 10:56 AM ET
Member Since: 5/7/2010
Posts: 185
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I don't know if it would work for you, but what I do when I'm searching for books in Spanish is I search by publishing company. For example, I could put "Catedra", a company that publishes critical editions, or other publishing companies that have mostly books in Spanish. This generally gives me different books, and I don't have to sift through as many Spanish-English dictionaries, books from lower-level Spanish classes, etc.

Last Edited on: 8/5/10 10:56 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Sianeka - ,
Date Posted: 8/5/2010 4:15 PM ET
Member Since: 2/8/2007
Posts: 6,630
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Also, you could try searching the tags for the language you want.  Many of the foreign books have been marked with a tag for that language.  So find a book that is "tagged" then click on the tag and that will bring up a listing of all the other books with the same tag.

Date Posted: 8/5/2010 5:34 PM ET
Member Since: 4/16/2008
Posts: 770
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I look for Spanish books all the time.  Here are my "ways"

1.  Search by author

2.  Search by Publisher

3.  Search by ISBN  (Go to Amazon/Barnes & Noble and copy the ISBN of the foreign language book that you want.  then paste it into PBS)

4.  If I'm really bored, I just wade through all of the listings.  (dictionaries etc)  Sometimes I find stuff I was not expecting to find.  smiley