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  1. Lawless

    Lawless Member

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    Are translations good?

    Discussion in 'Book Discussion' started by Lawless, May 16, 2018 at 7:55 PM.

    Those of you whose native language is English: have you read many books that have been translated into English?

    How good would you say are the translations? Are they usually in natural-sounding English, or is it easy for you to recognize that the text has been translated from a foreign language?

    Just curious.
     
  2. Wreybies

    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I've never read a book that was translated from another language into English where the English was poor or questionable, no. But perfect English does not mean the translation is a good translation. Look up Constance Garnett. To this day, her translations of Tolstoy and Dostoevsky are the cause of many a Russian eyeroll. Her grasp of Russian was academic and lacked understanding of the more subtle nuances of idiomatic Russian, and she simply omitted anything she didn't understand in the original Russian. To this day, most people who read Tolstoy and Dostoevsky in English are reading her translations and any native Russian will tell you, "If you read Constance Garnet, then you know nothing of Tolstoy and Dostoevsky."
     
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  3. matwoolf

    matwoolf Contributor Contributor

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    They're often always interpretations - and we have versions.
    ...

    I've told the story before - but if you look at the crit section on Amazon.fr - for Papillon, Henri Charriere - the one star reviews are all 'zis paisant convicte always repeating the merde, encoulez-vous, it is the cheap memoir of a gangster pig-dog thug.'

    Whereas the English translation is by Patrick O'Brian, one of the'greatest' writers of the 20c, and it's a very exciting book
    .

    arseface
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2018 at 8:32 PM

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