About common names

Is it okay to translate a common name in, say, Spanish, into a new common name in English? I find it pretty awkward when I switch into the English version of iNat and it still shows the name in Spanish… when everything else is in English. Would appreciate throughts on that.

Inventing new common names by indiscriminately translating is not a good idea and I believe the iNat rules explicitly forbid it.

If a spanish name is widely used in english, then it should be added. But only if people are actually using the spanish name in english conversations. Same with any other language pairs.


It shows there because of your profile settings? You can look up if common name in Spanish already exist, but don’t invent it, especially based on another common name.

Can you give examples of a name like this?

Hmmm… take for example the Flor de Amancaes (Ismene amancaes). I think it has been called a “lily” many, many times on historical accounts of the Lomas and even in Spanish, it’s quite common to call them “lirios” (lilies). So maybe, Amancaes lily?

But it has a common name? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ismene_amancaes

Okay, I’ve added the common name Amancae for I. amanceas since it’s mentioned on wikipedia.

I throught that was the basic Spanish name…

At least wiki says that second name is same both for English and Spanish, but it’s okay, names can be the same, especially with languages with same alphabet base and for more or less new to them taxa (or if names were created simultaneously in both languages in same place), main thing is that name should be in use, I hope it’s so!

I think a latin/scientific name becomes a different name in a sense when it or a modification of it is used non-italic as a common name. In other words not the same as simply calling it by the scientific name (in which case it would be italic).

Sure is tempting, though, when I go to the Wikipedia page of a common, conspicuous butterfly and find no common name on the Spanish-language site. Although I notice that is changing now.


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