Hello everyone! ♥
Welcome to my first actual discussion post in a while 😀 I have to admit, coming up with discussion topics isn’t as easy when you’re currently not reading much, so this one is something I took from my list of post ideas I composed last year. Most of my ideas are no longer relevant, but a few surprisingly still are.
As you could guess from the title, today I’ll be talking about translated books and my relationship with them. I love it, hate it, can’t live without it, yet don’t wanna live with it anymore. Sounds confusing? I’ll explain soon 🙈 a little background : I live in Indonesia and my native language is Bahasa. I’ve learned English ever since I was a toddler, but I didn’t start reading books in English until I was a late teenager.
Disclaimer : in this post I’ll only be talking about books translated from English to your native language, not from foreign language to English.
When I first started reading, I read local books. And comics. I love them, but soon I was running out of things to read, so I started to branch out and read translated books. My first book was Harry Potter (surprised, surprised). I admit, I LOVED translated books. It opened so many doors for me. I mean, if I only read local books, I wouldn’t be the reader I am today.
A few years later, I started to get curious and I wanted to read English books in their original language. Funny thing was, there was this cheap books sales selling English books so I thought, this is perfect coincidence! But you know what I bought? I bought… Much Ado About Nothing by Shakespeare… Idk, Shakespeare was a big name and I thought I was gonna start big, but it was freakin classic! I didn’t even like reading classics in my own language, let alone in English one page in and I already leafed through my Oxford dictionary a few times.
Long story short, I gave up.
It was in 2013 when I eventually read an English book—from end to end. I was following Divergent series and when Allegiant came out, I was so impatient I couldn’t wait for the translated version to come out!! So I bought the original version and surprisingly, I enjoyed it. For sure I didn’t completely understand every words, but I understand enough to get by. It opened even more doors for me, because now I get to read more : books that the translation version haven’t come out and books that didn’t get translated, among others.
My English gets better and better each day and it becomes a habit for me to buy and read books in English. I befriend bloggers from all over the world who also read English on daily basis. It’s the new normal. Until I met people in real life who “mock” my choice.
I met a few coworkers who also love to read. We’d talk about books we both love and own and when they asked for recommendations, I gave them a few titles I love. When they asked to borrow the books, I told them my copies are in English and if they mind. Aaaaaand they started implying that I’m pretentious or above them by reading in English instead of the translated ones. And they talk about how English books are more expensive and why would I opt for them instead. The comments went on, but the most annoying part is when they resent me for buying books in English because then they can’t borrow the books.
I was like??? Excuse me but I buy books for MYSELF, not for you people who can’t even respect my choice.
So that’s where this post came from.
What I Love from Translated Books
- Like I said, it opened SO MANY doors for me. I wouldn’t be able to read Harry Potter at such a young age if it wasn’t because of the translated version.
- Translators are miracle workers!! Even if sometimes the translations aren’t perfect, I admire their works so, so much ♥
- I get to read books in foreign language. Ruby Red trilogy by Kerstin Gier is one of my favorite series and it was in German. If it wasn’t translated to English, I wouldn’t have read it by now.
- They’re indeed cheaper. You could buy the translated book for half the price of the original version.
What I Dislike from Translated Books
- The jokes don’t get translated as well. You know how sometimes a joke is in idioms but in the translated version they translate it literally so you lose the point? That happens a lot. I first noticed it when I read Percy Jackson. I felt like the jokes were too stiff and frankly not funny, and when I looked at the original version, I found out why.
- Sometimes the translated versions are too formal. In Bahasa (or maybe in other languages as well) different context require different speaking style. But a lot of times I found in translated books, the characters speak like they are writing reports—way, wayyy to formal, and highly unusual. I know that writing informally would look messy, but there’s that line between completely formal and completely informal. Local books usually find that balance, but translated books often don’t.
- They take a long time to release. Sometimes I want to read books right on their release date and waiting for the translated version is agony. Although I admit, nowadays translated books get released a lot faster than it used to. Probably only a month or two later than the original version.
- A lot of books I want to read don’t even get translated.
Well if you see the list above, you’d find four pros and four cons. So, it’s a tie, right? But still, for me the cons outweigh the pros so I’d still choose to read the original version in English 😛
That’s the end of my discussion! I must admit, I’m a little rusty after a long while not writing this kind of post 🙈 now LET’S TALK!! Do you have you own experience with translated books. Especially for international bloggers whose first language isn’t English out there, what made you decide to read books in English? Do you still read the translated version? Tell me! 😀
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