Translations in this series are based based upon the best available edition, and any emendations or corrections proposed by reviewers of editions, where available, are carefully evaluated. As with any scholarly translation from medieval texts, translators are asked to consider carefully whether they need to verify published and edited transcriptions against manuscript text(s), depending on the quality of the edition. Where manuscript versions are known to differ significantly from the base version, translators must consider whether there are sometimes grounds for preferring readings from other manuscript versions.
Translations aim at the highest possible faithfulness to meaning and to stylistic effect, as long as readability and simple elegance in English are not sacrificed. All translations are done into English prose, regardless of whether the original French text is poetry or prose. Each paragraph of the translation states inclusive line numbers for the portion of text translated in that paragraph. Readings preferred from manuscripts other than the base manuscript of the edition used for the translation are noted briefly and explained.
Each volume includes:
- A brief Preface by the series editors, briefly stating the rationale for FRETS and the contribution of the particular volume in hand
- An Introduction that situates the work historically and in the literary culture of its time. Introductions need to be written to scholarly standards but with non-specialists in mind, and they need to advocate the interest of their texts (which, bearing in mind the historical specificity of the category of 'literature' as a post-medieval invention, may not always be a matter of the text's literary quality but perhaps of its broad cultural interest, its medieval importance and wide diffusion, its illustration of documentary and discursive medieval practices, etc…) both to an existing and a new, wider readership among scholars and students. The following items are specifically addressed:
- sources and influences;
- provenance of the text and the milieu in which it was produced;
- information about the author, date, and manuscripts;
- information about language and versification
- an account of the ways in which authors treat themes and issues; aesthetic and/or cultural appreciation, cultural situating of the text/s.
- A Bibliography of recommended books and articles for further reading, including general works dealing with historical and literary context; studies of the particular author and work; titles of all editions and any other translations, and studies on themes or issues raised in the works.
- Appropriate historical, literary-historical and philological annotation. Examples include: explanations of historical or other events, personages, or institutions mentioned; information about sources of particular lexical items or language and motifs; explanations of proper names beyond what can be accommodated in the index; disputed readings; the various meanings of important polyvalent terms and the semantic reverberations of terms whose English translation cannot capture them; possible translations for terms other than the one selected; relevant comparisons with other writings by the same author and with the writing of other authors; significant divergences on the part of the text translated from its source materials.
- Each volume features an Appendix containing extracts from the original Anglo-Norman text/s by way of illustration and for teaching purposes. Each has an Index of proper names.