Quick background: I am working on a translation from English to German of a Canadian history textbook (note: for grade 7 students).
The textbook refers consistently to "Britain" and does not use the term "Great Britain," which are of course two different things. I have been translating "Britain" to "Britannien" in order to show this difference.
Starting in the early 1600s France and Britain began to establish colonies in North America.
Anfang der 1600er begannen Frankreich und Britannien, Kolonien in Nordamerika zu etablieren.
However, when another German speaker proofread my work she changed every instance of "Britannien" to "Großbritannien".
On further examination it seems like the textbook is referring to "Britain" throughout Canadian history, even though the country was called "Great Britain" starting already in the early 1600s, and was officially unified at the start of the 1700s.
So, now I am not sure whether I should translate the term as "Großbritannien" (because this is a more common term used in everyday life) or "Britannien" (because it is a more accurate translation). Moreover, if I am being picky about the historical accuracy of the term, should I switch from "Britannien" to "Großbritannien" once the date requires it?
Any ideas and advice are greatly appreciated.
To clarify, here are examples of what my choices are, in my mind:
Translate word-for-word every instance of Britain to Britannien.
This would be historically inaccurate, but a more faithful literal translation.
Translate word-for-word every instance of Britain to Großbritannien.
This would be historically inaccurate, but might make perhaps slightly more sense in German.
Translate Britain to either Britannien or Großbritannien where appropriate depending on historical context.
This would be historically accurate, but more confusing and not very faithful as a translation.