Off topic: reading translated novels
Thread poster: LizLemon

LizLemon
Argentina
Local time: 03:28
English to Spanish
Dec 7, 2010

Hello all,

I need your advice!
I'm looking forward to read something by Haruki Murakami, but I don't know whether I should read it in Spanish or in English. Same thing with "The unbearable lightness of being" by Milan Kundera.

Spanish translations can sometimes be too "regional", for example I while ago I tried reading "Catcher in the Rye" in Spanish, and I quit after a few pages, since it had too many regional idioms (I think Mexican) that distracted me from the story. (I think it would be have been more appropriate to use a more neutral language)


So, I'll be waiting for your comments. Cheers!


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Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 07:28
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
My 2 cents Dec 7, 2010

Hi Liz,

I've faced the same problem several times with reading books by Alberto Vázquez-Figueroa in Spanish and/or English and/or German. There is, at times, quite a difference between the various translations.

Therefore, my advice would be, try to read the original.
This way you can be sure to catch the meaning, the exact thoughts and emotional involvement of the writer.

Hope this helps.


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japanlegal

Local time: 01:28
Japanese to English
+ ...
I would have to agree Dec 7, 2010


Therefore, my advice would be, try to read the original.
This way you can be sure to catch the meaning, the exact thoughts and emotional involvement of the writer.


You should go for the original, assuming it's possible to do so.

Also, since you mentioned only English and Spanish, I thought I'd humbly point out that Haruki Murakami actually writes in Japanese. So either way, it looks like you're going to end up reading a translation.

Is there anyone here who has read all three versions (Japanese, English, and Spanish) of a Murakami novel? I myself can't speak to the difference in quality between the English and Spanish translations of his work.


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Trisha F  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:28
English to Spanish
+ ...
It will be a translation anyway Dec 7, 2010

Also, since you mentioned only English and Spanish, I thought I'd humbly point out that Haruki Murakami actually writes in Japanese. So either way, it looks like you're going to end up reading a translation.


My sentiments exactly.

I don't think Spanish translations are too regional, a few of them might be but this is far from being a common trait in my opinion. Some English translations may sound a bit regional too, depending on the audience they're targeting. I would say Spanish literary translations differ in quality but this applies to all languages, I suppose. Personally I've never had a significant problem understanding a Spanish translation of a novel. I've had a few problems understanding novels written originally in Spanish by authors from various South American countries but that's not exactly negative because if I hadn't made an effort I would have missed more than one fantastic story and more than one fantastic writer.

By the way, I am almost certain that the translator of 'Catcher in the Rye' is from Spain. I would like to add that regional Mexican Spanish is hard (other regional dialects like Argentinian, Chilean, Bolivian et caetera are just as difficult). However, Mexican standard Spanish is quite clear and paused. It is widely used in translations and dubbing and is probably the most neutral Spanish variety around, which is why Mexico has been leader in the dubbing industry for many years.

[Edited at 2010-12-07 14:00 GMT]


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LizLemon
Argentina
Local time: 03:28
English to Spanish
TOPIC STARTER
Murakami Dec 7, 2010

Maybe I expressed poorly. I meant... what about writers that don't write in English or Spanish?

Which translation should I choose?


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Ilze Paegle-Mkrtchyan
Local time: 10:28
English to Latvian
+ ...
Best translations Dec 7, 2010

Hallo, Liz!

Great you are interested in Japanese literature! I have read Murakami's novels in translation and I can recommend those translated by leading Japanese Studies specialists. In that case you can be sure that things don't get lost in translation. Choose Jay Rubin's or Alfred Birnbaum's translations. Here is a link which you could find interesting/useful:

http://matadornetwork.com/bnt/2009/02/16/jay-rubin-translating-more-than-words/

Yeah, by the way - why Murakami? There are many Japanese authors who certainly merit a closer look, e. g. my favorites Tanizaki and Sōseki.


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LizLemon
Argentina
Local time: 03:28
English to Spanish
TOPIC STARTER
Why Murakami? Feb 15, 2011

Ilze Paegle-Mkrtchyan wrote:

Yeah, by the way - why Murakami? There are many Japanese authors who certainly merit a closer look, e. g. my favorites Tanizaki and Sōseki.



Because everywhere I go I see his novels, and a friend recommended me to read "After Dark".
I'm curious...


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Mihaela Buruiana  Identity Verified
Romania
Local time: 08:28
Member (2011)
English to Romanian
+ ...
Murakami in English Apr 7, 2011

Hi everyone,

Although I´m a translator myself and know what translating a book means, I usually try to read the original. Since that´s not always possible, translations will have to do.

I read Murakami´s Norwegian Wood and Kafka on the Shore in English, and I enjoyed them very much.

But I couldn´t read a translated novel originally written in a language I speak (for example, French works translated into English or viceversa).

Anyway, the thing is to find a good translation.


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