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Poll: Do you read translated versions of books?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
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Sep 30, 2009

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Do you read translated versions of books?".

This poll was originally submitted by Iris Shalev

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A forum topic will appear each time a new poll is run. For more information, see: http://proz.com/topic/33629

[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2009-09-30 08:28 GMT]


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Jocelyne S  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 19:44
Member
French to English
+ ...
Sometimes there's no choice! Sep 30, 2009

If I have a choice between a translation and the original (i.e. I understand both languages), then I generally read the original. But since I enjoy some authors who write in languages that I don't speak or understand, I am of course grateful when a translation exists!

Best,
Jocelyne

[Edited at 2009-09-30 08:24 GMT]


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Iris Shalev  Identity Verified
Israel
Local time: 20:44
English to Dutch
+ ...
About reading translations Sep 30, 2009

I was just wondering how many people felt the same as I do...

When I read a translated book (from the language I translate from) I find myself constantly wondering what the original text was, and how I would have translated it. It interferes with my enjoyment of the book, and that's why I don't like to read translations anymore.

On the other hand, I sometimes buy the translated version of a book I liked, only because I'm curious how the translator has handled certain things (Harry Potter, for example...)

How many of you do this, too?

Iris.


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Gianluca Marras  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 19:44
Member (2008)
English to Italian
definitely Sep 30, 2009

Iris Shalev wrote:

I was just wondering how many people felt the same as I do...

When I read a translated book (from the language I translate from) I find myself constantly wondering what the original text was, and how I would have translated it. It interferes with my enjoyment of the book, and that's why I don't like to read translations anymore.

On the other hand, I sometimes buy the translated version of a book I liked, only because I'm curious how the translator has handled certain things (Harry Potter, for example...)

How many of you do this, too?

Iris.


My approach is really critical, not negative, but I don't enjoy itranslations as it seems I am always working!


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Iris Shalev  Identity Verified
Israel
Local time: 20:44
English to Dutch
+ ...
that's right Sep 30, 2009

Gianluca Marras wrote:

My approach is really critical, not negative, but I don't enjoy itranslations as it seems I am always working!


That's exactly it! And you can't win, because when I read an untranslated book, I start wondering how I would translate it... It's very annoying, and I can't seem to turn off the switch!


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Tim Drayton  Identity Verified
Cyprus
Local time: 20:44
Turkish to English
+ ...
It depends Sep 30, 2009

If the original is in one of my working languages or another language that I can read well, then I would not read the translation. If the original is in a language that I do not know, or do not know very well, and for some reason I wish/need to read it, then obviously I will have to read it in translation.

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SYLVY75  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 19:44
English to Italian
+ ...
Same here, same here Sep 30, 2009

I'm very relieved by all your comments, because I can't seem to be able to turn off the switch either.

Whenever I read a translated book, I even keep a pencil handy in order to be able to underline the words/expressions I don't like and possibly jot down a better translation to the side.


SYLVY


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Iris Shalev  Identity Verified
Israel
Local time: 20:44
English to Dutch
+ ...
:) Sep 30, 2009

SYLVY75 wrote:

Whenever I read a translated book, I even keep a pencil handy in order to be able to underline the words/expressions I don't like and possibly jot down a better translation to the side.

SYLVY


Haha... sometimes I want to do this, but I stop myself! Also to write down the expressions I do like though. It's not that I always think the translations are bad, but just that I start discussing everything in my head...


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Simon Bruni  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 18:44
Member (2009)
Spanish to English
Not for pleasure Sep 30, 2009

When I read for pleasure it has to be an original, otherwise I'm basically back at work. I do read translated material for educational purposes though and find it fascinating, just not relaxing. I use books as a sleeping aid and, as much as I love my work, switching off is essential.

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Sandra Petch
Local time: 19:44
French to English
+ ...
Mix and match Sep 30, 2009

How about this: I began reading The Master and Marguerite in English then switched halfway through and finished it in French. I'm don't remember if I enjoyed one translation more than the other.

Otherwise, I agree that it's hard to switch off: if I do end up reading in French a book written in English, then I'm forever back-translating.

What about typos? My eye zooms in on them and has me all tut-tutting that the book wasn't better proofread

Of course, for all those languages I don't speak, I say thanks! to the translators!


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VoiceTex
Germany
Local time: 19:44
English to German
+ ...
Same for me Sep 30, 2009

I became a translator because of books!
I love reading and started with German, of course, as it is my native language. When I was about 6, I discovered that the books were not originally German. Same thing with movies

And I started wondering about this translation business. Later on, I translated short-stories and short novels for friends and family as soon as I understood the English.
Then I found out about the translator training in Erlangen and, well, here I am translating professionally.

Now, however, I often encounter the same problem as you: I can't change from working mode to reading. Since I don't work as translator but also as proofreader and editor, I am timed to notice all typos, grammar and style issues. - But not just in translations!


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foghorn
English to Turkish
+ ...
reading minds of translators Sep 30, 2009

if it’s a book dear to my heart, i take special precautions to avoid such encounter. This goes double for dubbed movies but theatrical performances, I tolerate well.
i think reading minds of translators/interpreters can be edifying but it is a bore all the same.


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Vera Wilson  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 19:44
Member (2006)
English to German
+ ...
Even worse Sep 30, 2009

It's even worse with films and subtitles. Sometimes when I watch an English film with subtitles in French and German, I have to tell myself to relax and concentrate on the film.

And then, there can be a film with the original in German, dubbed into French, with English and German subtitles, but then, I usually do "switch off".

Some literary translations are a real piece of art. I think that the English version of W.G. Sebald's "Austerlitz" is excellent and as good as the original version in German, but I don't get the same flow of meandering words in French. No pencil in my hand, but I've read them all!


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keelin feeney  Identity Verified
Ireland
Local time: 18:44
Member (2007)
Spanish to English
+ ...
It depends... Sep 30, 2009

I have to admit that lately I am "gobbling up" books in English (my native language) and I don't want to read in any other language. On one hand, I suppose it is because I am reading other languages all day long in my translation work and on the other hand, it helps me with my target language as I keep my English "alive".

When it comes to reading, I generally prefer the real version though funnily enough, recently I read "The Boy in Striped Pyjamas" in Spanish (my source language) coz it is what I had to hand and again I "gobbled" it up, read it in an afternoon and was very moved by the whole story...maybe it depends on the translator...


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Jack Doughty  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 18:44
Member (2000)
Russian to English
+ ...
Translations from my language into another Sep 30, 2009

When I want to brush up on a language I know something of but am not fluent in, e.g. Spanish on a holiday in a Spanish-speaking country, I often buy a translation into the relevant language of a book in English by an author I know and like. What I need is a book that makes me want to keep reading it, and though there are no doubt many excellent native authors who could do that, I don't know who they are and can't afford the time to keep on browing through books to try to find one. Reading such a translated book is an easy form of revision of the language for me.
I made a bad choice of this sort in Germany recently. I bought a translation into German of a novel by John Grisham, but it turned out not to be one of his usual crime/legal dramas, it was all about American football, of which I know virtually nothing. So I had to work out what was going on from the German version, which was tough going!


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