Noelia (noelia_g) wrote,

on books and translations

I love reading. I love books.
I've learned how to read when I was four. I skipped all the 'Dog with a Ball' books, mostly because when I was little there was not a lot of them in bookshops, time of comunism and depression and whatnot... But my parents loved books too, and I remember them sitting after dinner, each in their own armchair, each with their own book.
I wanted to read too.
So they taught me letters and words and I started reading whatever was on the shelves in our home, which means that the first book I've ever read was Hobbit.
Which probably explains a lot about me and my mental diseases, as the first film I've ever watched was Star Wars, screw the cartoons.
I was reading everything that I could find, from newspapers to Kafka. And even though I didn't understand, like, 90% of what I was reading, I was reading it.
Then, in second grade of high school (which was... 4 years ago?) my teacher wanted to fail me in English. No, really. She said I can't speak, can't write, and my grammar is awful. Which was kind of true.
But I decided to prove her I can do this. I can learn English. And I did, and somehow during that I've fallen in love with English.
Mostly because I was learning by reading books. First with a book in one hand, dictionary in the other, translating every second word. Reading Pride and Prejudice this way was... interesting.
Then, slowly, without the dictionary, but with more and more enthusiasm.
Now I don't read books in Polish if I can only avoid it.
Why? Because when I read a book in Polish, one that was translated from English, I can tell how it was written in original. And I can tell where the translator fucked up.
Not every one is bad. I love translations by Piotr W. Cholewa (he translates most of the Discworld books). I love, love, love Barańczak's translations of poetry. I can tolerate some other translators.
But when someone changes the names without reason? When someone translates idioms word by word, even though their equivalent in Polish is absolutely different? (like, the Butterfly thing. You know, when you are nervous, or excited, or whatnot, and you feel butterflies inside? There's no such thing in Polish. When someone reads that a main character had butterflies in her stomach he starts to think she stood with her mouth open for too long and something flew in.)
But the thing I hate most is inconsistency.
You can see that in a longer series, where books are translated by different people. One of the most annoying examples is Star Wars series.
There is a ship. It's called Errant Venture in original. In Polish, it's translated correctly. I rejoyce. Then, next book, a ship appears, and it's called (in Polish) Errant Knight. I go 'wtf what ship is that?'. It's Errant Venture alright, just renamed by the translator. Then, next book, the ship is back, with a completely different name.
So, is it that strange that when I go to a bookshop with intent to buy a book, I always check who translated it?
And sometimes, when it's someone whose translations I really, really hate, I don't buy it, even if I really wanted to read this book?
Is it so strange that I spend twice the money I would pay for Polish translation on the books in English?
I don't think it is.

On related news. They published 'Isard's Revenge' in Poland finally. It's the only X-wing book I hadn't read (though I've read Starfighters of Adumar only once :/ ), so I'm pretty much excited. I don't know the translator, though, so I'm pretty scared, too. Let's hope he's one of the good ones... But! New dose of Wedge!
Also, related. GIP! *points at her icon* Coolness, ain't it? Heee!
Tags: books, random insanity, rants, translations

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