To the translators - unsung heros of literature

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autumnleaf

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Thanks to translators, I have enjoyed:
- Isabelle Allende's Chilean sagas
- Haruki Murakami's wierd Japanese stories
- Lots Russian authors, from Tolstoy to Bulgakov
And loads more.

I imagine that it's incredibly difficult to translate a work of literature from one language to another, maintaining the story and something of the beauty of the language. Yet we scarcely ever remember the people who allow us to read works written in a language that we ourselves don't understand.

So here's to the translators - long may they expand our horizons and bring us yet more wonderful stories from around the world!
 

Sevilla

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- Haruki Murakami's wierd Japanese stories

Aaaah is that the guy who wrote that awful sheep story? I thought I had successfully blocked it from my brain! Thanks SO much for dragging that back :p

But yes, kudos to the translators of the world. I'm currently brushing up on Greek by reading a certain...ahem...teen angst vampire book *dodges the stones* that's been translated into Greek.
 

MissMacchiato

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I read harry potter in italian, when I was learning the language, it was too funny, they'd changed the names of all the secondary characters.

Cornelius fudge was Cornelius Caramello, and hufflepuff was called tassorosso - red badger.

It was too weird for words!
 
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Localization is the worst.


One cool thing I did, was to help my understanding of Italian, I watched subbed anime with Italian subtitles. Not as good as if it was dubbed in Italian, but still pretty useful.

I'm not sure whether fansubbers or fanlators get any of the translator glory, since they're technically illegal, but looking at how hard it is to find English subbed anime in the US, I don't like my chances of importing Italian subbed material. :(
 

poetinahat

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Glad you brought this up! I'm writing an essay right now on translation and poetry, mostly from the view of the reader - how unknowingly dependent we can be on the translator (hero or saboteur, depending). If it's worthy, it'll be online in the next week or so.
 

MissMacchiato

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Liosse, I did that too! I used the italian language option on all my dvd's! it definitely helps, you pick up specific words really quickly!
 
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Liosse, I did that too! I used the italian language option on all my dvd's! it definitely helps, you pick up specific words really quickly!


And let's be honest, which type of Italian is going to be more natural? The scripted convos they have me doing in class, or a fan translation of a cartoon? I watch some movies in Italian or watched subbed English movies as well, but they're not something I'd watch without that reason, so the subbed anime is awesome. And I'm learning some Japanese at the same time.
 

Lauretta

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Well done for watching movies with Italian subtitles!! That's a great way to learn the language!!
My lovely cousin is the official translator of the Becca Fitzpatrick's novels for the Italian market (Hush Hush, Crescendo and so on). It's a hard job, so fair play to you all.
 

Caitlin Black

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Woo! Go Seahawks! Erm, I mean, Go Translators! :p

Now, why haven't I ever thought to put Italian subtitles on my DVD experience?! That's an insanely brilliant idea!

I think I shall do that with some Buffy! Buffy in Italian - how cool would that be?

/fanboy
 

oneblindmouse

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As a translator, thank you for your appreciation of our work, which is usually great fun but sometimes extremely difficult and sometimes indescribably boring. I had terrible arguments once with the publisher of a novel I translated, because he wanted to censor the swearwords, whereas I believe the translator must always respect the original.

Most difficult of all, of course, is translating poetry, as it's impossible to find the equivalent flow, rhythm, without sacrificing the meaning, and vice versa.
 

maxmordon

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I read harry potter in italian, when I was learning the language, it was too funny, they'd changed the names of all the secondary characters.

Cornelius fudge was Cornelius Caramello, and hufflepuff was called tassorosso - red badger.

It was too weird for words!

It was worst in the past, or at least it was in Spanish. I was reading a 1960's Spanish translation of a P.G. Wodehouse last month and all the names where an odd mix-mash of Spanish and English names, going to the acceptable (changing Elizabeth to Isabel), to amusingly weird (The Drones Club became The Blood-Sucking Vermin Inner Circle) to downright silly (Grand Central Building? It's now the Great Well-Located Edifciation...)

They are did this a lot with Dickens, (I always pop up the examples of Oliverio Twist, Little Timoteo and Urías Heep) and possibly the most famous example with television are with shows and cartoons from the 60's, Bruce Wayne from Gotham City became Bruno Díaz from Ciudad Gótica and has stayed like that ever since, ditto with Fred Flintstone (Pedro Picapiedra), George Jetson (Super Sónico) and it stayed to the early 90's, where Homer Simpson became... Homero Simpson.

P.S: I think it's still done with fantasy, since its meant to be the writer's "natural language", as if, you write in English and and Samwise Gamgee is a regular name, even if is in Middle-Earth, but in Spanish or whatever language you're translating this would not be the case and would be associated with English, Tolkien noticed this and wrote a long list of instructions for his translators. This is why Frodo Bolsón and Samsagaz Ganyi go to Monte Del Destino, even if they're captured by Ella-Laraña, to go and destroy the One Ring.
 
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