Thursday 30 April 2015

Language Translation in Literature

Hello, Hola, Bonjour, Hallo lovely peeps. Today is a slightly different post as I have been sent some books recently that have been works of translation and it got me thinking about translation in books.

Language, Language, Language. It's funny when you think about just how many different types of languages there are out there; some that we don't even know about or that so few people can speak. And not only that, not every word translates exactly into every language or even has the same meaning. Look at how many different ways of saying snow the Eskimos have and how many synonyms and idioms there are in each language, which 9 times out of 10 make no sense whatsoever in other languages. No wonder it is so hard to become fluent in all languages. So what happens when books are translated? A lot of the time, parts of the story are rewritten or reworded or even missed out completely! And I'm not even talking about say English to French, sometimes it's English-English to American English- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone versus Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone being a prime example.

When you read a story that you love, those words on the page can transform into something magical. This can sometimes get lost in translation and it is what I would really love to be preserved from language to language. When I do read a work of language translation, it is usually at the back of my mind about what part of the story is missing and it does slightly deter from my enjoyment. The written word is such an important and powerful thing, without it pieces of history and stories that we shared throughout the ages would either be forgotten or severely distorted. It helps preserve traditions, memories and you are able to pass down stories through generations. This also goes with languages, if works and literature are not translated, how can we share stories with one another? With language translation we can share books all over the world and in turn generate new ideas and new stories and start a worldwide conversation on what we have read.

Those are my musings for today :)

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