Talk:Medal for Battle Merit

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This article has already been renamed a few times, a concensus on the English appelation of this Soviet medal is sought here.

  • The medal is called "Medal for Military Merit" in most references I found, including (multilingual) references from Russian authors. I agree, this isn't as good a translation as it could be and was probably adopted due to similarly named western awards. If this usually accepted term is to be discarded, we need to look at what follows.
  • IMHO, "Medal for Battle Merit", although probably correctly translated, is unfortunately too literal a translation, ergo, it doesn't sound right in English.
  • IMHO, a better tranlastion, and one that would sound proper in English and would be more acceptable to our Russian colleagues could be "Medal for Merit in Combat" or "Medal for Combat Merit". Fdutil (talk) 16:36, 6 March 2012 (UTC)

Medal for Combat Merit makes the most sense to me. Since you seem to be sufficiently skilled in the Russian language, then I can agree to your translation. Otherwise, the common name found in reliable sources is probably what we are left with. Poking around the internet I find a further variation Medal for Combat Service. Cheers. EricSerge (talk) 19:29, 6 March 2012 (UTC)

I've also seen Medal for Combat Service but it is definitely wrong, "заслуги" means "merit", not "service" (which is "службе"). Thank you for your most appreciated input. Fdutil (talk) 21:35, 6 March 2012 (UTC)

I moved the article to "Medal for Battle Merit" partly because this is the correct, literal translation, but it does sound correct to me and is used by Western sources I've found ([1] - 10 results in GoogleBooks, at least 6 for this award). There is also the less popular variant "Meal for Combat Merit" ([2] - 2 results) and "Medal for Merit in Combat" ([3] - 2 results). There are a lot of non-Soviet awards going by "Medal for Military Merit" and 100s of hits, but searching for the phrase together with "soviet" narrows it down to 55, of which only 2 or 3 seem to refer to the Soviet award described here ([4], others refer to Western awards even with "Soviet" in the search box). So, "Medal for Battle Merit" seems most common with this algorithm. Zloyvolsheb (talk) 22:09, 6 March 2012 (UTC)
  • Если русское название медали «За боевые заслуги» изменить (не меняя смысла) на «За заслуги в бою», то станет очевидным, что наиболее точным переводом будет «Medal for Battle Merit». Leningradartist (talk) 20:22, 7 March 2012 (UTC)

  • As stated above, the main problem is that "Medal for Battle Merit" is really not proper English. If the word "Battle" is to be used, then it must be rephrased into "Medal "For Merit in Battle" to make any sense. Fdutil (talk) 16:28, 9 March 2012 (UTC)
I suppose it possibly could be rephrased to this (apparently) less common paraphrasing, but I am a fluent English speaker and see no problem with "Medal for Battle Merit" - more importantly, this is how the following Western works refer to it:
  • Norman Davies. No Simple Victory: World War II in Europe, 1939-1945. Penguin Books, 2008.
    "Other distinctions included the Order of the Red Banner, for outstanding courage; the Order of the Red Star; the Order of Victory, for succesful generalship; the Order of Glory, for junior ranks, in three classes; the Order of Suvorov, for commanders; the Order of Kutuzov; the Order of Khmyelnitsky, for partisans; the Medal of Valour; and the Medal for Battle Merit."
  • Mark Edele. Soviet Veterans of World War II: A Popular Movement in an Authoritarian Society, 1941-1991. Oxford University Press, 2008.
    "He had two years of schooling, was married, not a party member, had never been tried before, and had been decorated with the medal "For Battle Merit"."
  • Ian Dear & Michael Richard Daniell Foot (eds.) The Oxford Companion to World War II. Oxford University Press, 2001.
    "Existing medals for bravery included the Medal for Valour and the Medal for Battle Merit, both for all ranks, the latter being also awarded to officers and NCOs for lng service."
  • Soviet Army Uniforms & Insignia, 1945-1975. Arms & Armour Press, 1976.
    "The medal for Battle Merit. Figure 59. This decoration is awarded to all ranks for risking their lives to contribute to the success of front line operations. It is also awarded to officers and extended service non-commissioned officers for long service. It was instituted on 17th October 1938."
So, surely these works cannot be using an improper English name that makes no sense? Zloyvolsheb (talk) 02:34, 11 March 2012 (UTC)

I am actually quite surprised at how many different interpretations there are of this term. German, Spanish and Catalan Wikis refer to it as the Medal "For Combat Service", we all agree that is incorrect. I do not doubt your English abilities at all, but IMHO, "battle" refers to a specific event while "combat" is the more generic term hence my point that Medal "For Combat Merit fits the bill better. Calling it the Medal "For Battle Merit" not only sounds wrong, it would cry out the question, "for which battle?" As for the term being used in books, РУССКИЕ И СОВЕТСКИЕ БОЕВЫЕ НАГРАДЫ, В.А. Дуров, Государственный Ордена Ленина Исторический Музей, 1990, на стр. 75, пункт № 4, "Medal "For Military Merit". People use on line translators (too literal) or will go with the first reference they find which is usually here on Wikipedia, this very page might've steered many a writer into using an incorrect term. My Russian might not be as good as your English, but my research of the past 6 years (on modern Russian ODMs) has shown me that our 2 languages are different enough that literal translations very rarely cut it. I've translated about every single Presidential decree and ministerial or departmental order relating to modern Russian medals in the past 6 years, I've been extremely careful at not using western terminology or existing western award names in those translations, but I have learned one thing, the "true meaning" of the title must come through clearly in the language used. I could go on and on about other such medals, but we'd only get headaches. Fdutil (talk) 15:08, 11 March 2012 (UTC)

Just out of curiosity, I've posted polls with all of the possibilities on the subject on two of the biggest English language phaleristic web sites, I'll share the results once enough data has been gathered. Fdutil (talk) 16:58, 11 March 2012 (UTC)

The results of the polls I posted in 2 major phaleristics web sites:
USA (with international membership) = winner is Medal "For Combat Merit" UK (with international membership) = 2 winners are tied Medal "For Combat Merit" and Medal "For Military Merit". Learned linguists from the sites point out the latter is also a possible translation and that the medal was mostly bestowed for military merit during its entire existence vice actual combat. So... What now? Fdutil (talk) 23:06, 7 April 2012 (UTC)

I don't have a strong opinion on "combat merit" vs. "battle merit" (which I do prefer), but I'm definitely more against going back to "military merit" as that seems both unusual in translation and semantically distant from the Russian name. What do you suggest? Zloyvolsheb (talk) 14:30, 9 April 2012 (UTC)

I'd go with "Combat Merit", although I believe Militery Merit to be better suited to the medal's criteria, the name doesn't seem to match that. Fdutil (talk) 00:01, 14 April 2012 (UTC)


Is everybody happy with Medal "For Combat Merit" ?? Please vote YES or NO below:

YES Fdutil (talk) 02:16, 24 April 2012 (UTC)
NO Leningradartist (talk) 21:31, 24 April 2012 (UTC)
NEUTRAL, leaning NO. Zloyvolsheb (talk) 11:14, 25 April 2012 (UTC)
YES, insufficient RS usage data to establish WP:COMMONNAME; for most purposes idiomatic translation is preferable to literal translation. AusTerrapin (talk) 14:41, 4 December 2013 (UTC)