Cat. & Reference: Uniform titles
The idea of the uniform title is to collocate (bring together) books that have different titles but are, in some sense, versions of the same book. Uniform titles apply in a number of different circumstances.
There's no sense in shelving "Le Petit Prince," under "p," "The Little Prince," under "l" and "Der Kleine Prinz" under "k," if they're all versions of the first work.
Instead, all of the translations are shelved by the author, then subsorted by the title of the original edition, and the catalog records get an extra line above the standard title which looks like this:
240 10 $a Petit Prince. $l English
245 14 $a The Little Prince.
240 10 $a Petit Prince. $l German
245 14 $a Der Kleine Prinz.
Shelving and sorting by uniform title is very appealing to catalogers' tidy minds, but it may also have benefits for the patron. It's a cataloging rule of thumb that you want to shelve books near other books that may be of interest, so if the patron finds one of them, they can find all of them. Shelving a book by uniform title means that a patron who finds a translated work can also find the original edition, or that a patron who knows the title of a book in the original language can easily find translations. (Although some books have very standard titles in translation — think War and Peace — some books have titles which vary with the translation — think Remembrance of Things Past vs. In Search of Lost Time.)