Tuesday, May 10, 2011

A new trend for me in books/ebooks

Much like illustrators, I've bought many books based on the translator.

Weird, but true.

If the language is dead or not mine, then I need help in reading it, and that's where the translator comes into play. When I was at University, Richmond Lattimore was my go to guy for Aeschylus, Euripides and Sophocles, Robert Fiztgerald for Homer's Illiad and Odyssey, and Allen Mandelbaum for Virgil's The Aeneid. These men translated many other works, but these were the ones I liked by them the most.

Let me bring the translator bit a little more current with JK Rowling's Harry Potter books. Did you know the first three were altered for the US market? They were! Someone went through and took out the strongly English words and rejigged them for Americans to read. An example of this would the title of the first book. In England it's Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone and in the US it's Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. After book 3, the publisher finally realized it wasn't necessary to changes things, and left that Englishness alone.

While not technically translating, this bit of tinker-time helped ease me away from actively seeking who touched a book once first published. The final straw came with Stieg Larsson's Millennium trilogy as translated by Reg Keeland. No, the translations were far from perfect, but I enjoyed the books all the same, and my need to buy a book by translator was gone.

My current read has been translated and I'm liking it, alot, and will most likely get caught up in and read all of Jo Nesbø's Harry Hole series as translated by Don Bartlett.

Let me qualify all this by stating I would never want to be a translator as there is bound to be someone who picks it apart.  Beautiful or pretty, technically they're the same, but they also aren't.  Can you imagine going through an entire book of 90,000+ words and trying to find the right words and please everyone?  No thank you and I give anyone who takes it on credit and kudos for accepting a very difficult job.

No comments: