Monday, May 25, 2015

Language and Translation

Translated books are kind of a hot topic these days, especially if you're trying to diversify your reading list!

Many people have signed up for The Introverted Reader's 2015 Books in Translation Reading Challenge. The challenge goes all  year, and all you have to do is read books that have been translated from their original language into a language that you feel comfortable reading.  Wondering what some popular options are?

- Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series (originally Swedish)

- Anything by Kafka (Kafka is Czech but he wrote in German. Thanks Rachel!)

-Various works by Chekov (Russian)

-"The Never Ending Story" (German) - (I didn't even know that that was a book, let alone that it was in German originally!)

- Fairytales by Hans Christian Anderson (Danish)

- "100 Years of Solitude" by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (Spanish)

I'm not directly apart of this challenge but right now I find myself reading a book that was originally in Japanese! It's Silence   by Shusako Endo. (There's punctuation and things over the letters that I don't know how to insert, but just feel free to follow the link!) It's really interesting, and the translation (and the writing) is really good because it has a nice even flow to it. However, the story itself is pretty heavy and there's a lot of sad parts! It takes place in Japan in the 17th century. Japan was very much an island to itself, trying to keep it's isolated ways. However, there were some Catholic missionaries that were allowed in, they were usually Portugese. (I'm not sure why this is necessarily. Maybe because they could hitch rides all around the world on merchant vessels?). After a time, some of the warlords and rulers decided that this Christian influence is not something that should be apart of Japan. Not only were people not allowed to practice, but Christians were hunted down and eliminated. There was usually torture involved, some of it the most creative and awful that I have heard in a long time. I know, sounds terrible. But the faith of the priests and their followers is inspiring, but none of them are made out to be these perfect people. Ordinary people in extraordinarily awful circumstances. Not a place that any of us want to find ourselves in.

Also, a super dramatic but simple cover. You know how I like those!

Translations are a good thing. It helps to make our world smaller (in a good way!) and brings together people that might not have had contact normally. You know who does that for a living? Smartling. They translate digital content into all kinds of languages so that way the most content can reach the most people! Because as funny as those "engrish" signs can be sometimes, you don't actually want that for your business, Smartling to the rescue!


  1. Yay for translation! I thought Kafka wrote in German though..?
    Having studied languages and done some translation work myself, I'm always super interested to read translations, particularly when I've read the original, or even a different translation of the same book. Interesting post!

    1. Bah! You're right. He's Czech, but he wrote in German. Thanks for catching that! I wish I could speak another language, all I know is 3 years of high school spanish, a couple words in latin and a few Italian swear words (just the important stuff, ha!)


Thank you so much for your comment. I'd love to talk books with you!