What are you currently reading?
Recently apart from reading all the other stuff I like to refresh some Lucy Maud Montgomery’s book from time to time. But now I read them in the original versions. Montgomery’s books have a lot of different translations in Polish, and I’ve read all of those which I was able to get in any accessible format, many for a few times, but now I am reading her books in English. This time I decided for a collection of her short stories called “Along The Shore”, which has two titles in Polish, of which one can be translated as Scent Of The Wind, and the other as Traces In The Sand, so it sounds completely different. I often like to read books in different translations, and then in their original version if I can, and compare different details from each of these versions, sometimes you can notice really interesting or bizarre differences. Like if you’ve ever read “The Blue Castle”, you know that its main character’s name is Valancy. But in some old Polish old translation, I guess 1920’s or something, the translator decided he will rename her and he called her Joanna. I’d read another, much newer translation before where she was just Valancy, it was a very good translation and I loved the name Valancy, so, you know, with my name geekiness it was for me like I was reading about a completely different person, she wasn’t Valancy anymore, he was someone different. And also another character named Barney was renamed to Edward. I can somehow understand renaming Valancy to Joanna – her middle name was Jane, and Jane is Joanna in Polish, while there isn’t any equivalent for Valancy, and I guess people in 1920’s didn’t have that much of an idea about how to read English names – but, OMG, why Edward? 😀 It’s neither similar in sound to Barney, nor in feel, nor fits the character, so I couldn’t figure it out at all, the more that the name Barney doesn’t seem to be that complicated to read. And that translation was f***ed up overall, with large parts of text completely cut out and lots of weird stylistic errors. There is also a popular translation of “Emily Of New Moon”, not that bad, but with some errors as well, and one that particularly made me laugh was how the translator decided to describe one of Emily’s cats – a grey-eyed cat with ebony black eyes. 😀 I guess she had to be very sleepy while writing. 😛 So that’s to give you a little idea what such a translation, or mistranslation might look like at times. 😀
But, coming back to reading books in originals, first and foremost if you really like an author and if only you can read their books as they were originally written, it is in my opinion a much closer contact with what they really wanted to show you in their literature. Even the most accurate translation can’t express it fully since every language is so different and, first and foremost, everyone of us has a different style of writing, and everyone interprets things differently, so if you read something in its original version, you have the possibility of interpreting it more on your own and you don’t have to base on the translator’s interpretation of what the author wanted to say, even if it’s just a pretty universal ad easy to read shortstory. And, obviously, if you read books in their original versions, in languages that aren’t your mother tongues, the benefits for your linguistical development and your brains overall are significant.
And what are you reading? 🙂