On My List: Favorite Translations

 

Do you enjoy World Lit? Becca from I’m Lost in Books recently made a list of her favorite translated books, books from all over the globe not originally in English.  A good translation makes all the difference in the world. Not only must a translator be fluent in both languages but be able to convey what the author intended and well as be true to his or her style. Ever translate a blog or website in another language with Google? Some of what appears is nonsensical and makes for hilarious results. There is no substitute for the human touch.

With that in mind, here is a list of some of my favorite translated books with a nod to their translators.

georges

Georges by Alexandre Dumas translation by Tina A Kover. I loved Georges! If you can find this recent translation by Tina A Kover, please read it. Georges returns to the island where he grew up for revenge. It’s so much fun!


post-office-girl

The Post Office Girl by Stefan Zweig translation by Joel Rotenberg. This was my first Stefan Zweig novel. His work is enjoying a revival right now. The thing about The Post Office Girl is how quickly the tone changes. It’s very dramatic.


summer-tove The Summer Book by Tove Jansson translation by Thomas Teal. This is a sweet story of a little girl and her grandmother spending the summers together on an island. It’s such a quiet, yet beautiful book.


d3fd269a708211e280ff22000a9e2923_7 The Long Ships by Frans G Bengtsson translation by Michael Meyer. Vikings! Adventure! Fighting! That sums up The Long Ships. It has unexpectedly funny moments.

shadow of the windThe Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zefon translation by Lucia Graves. This quickly became one of my favorite books ever. It has mystery and romance and books!

 

What translated books are on your list?

22 comments:

  1. You just reminded me that I own a copy of The Summer Book! I bought it so long ago I completely forgot.

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  2. Of course it makes sense but I don't think it really dawned on me that Shadow of the Wind wasn't originally written in English. #headdesk

    Know what's NOT on my list? Brothers Karamazov. Blech. :)

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    1. I tried reading that one but didn't get far, so yeah.

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  3. I'm one of the few who doesn't like The Shdow of the Wind,me it I do like translated fiction. I have been having such a wonderful time reading for the Indeoendent Foreign Fiction Orize, and one of the books I loved, from Iceland,mess The Sorrow of Angels. So very beautiful.

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    1. I have an obsession with Iceland so I should check that one out.

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  4. So sorry about the typos. Dumb iPad. ;)

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  5. I really need to get around to trying The Shadow of the Wind...

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  6. I adore The Shadow of the Wind!!! I think I would also add Blindness to the list too.

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    1. I'm scared of Blindness. I think it would make me more of a hypochondriac!

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  7. Shadow of the Wind is sooo amazing. I also think The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo was good also.

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    1. I haven't gotten around to those ones, probably because it's a series. I will though.

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  8. I'd forgotten about Georges! I really need to read that one.

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  9. I hate myself for this, but I really, really struggle with books in translation. I loved Shadow of the Wind, and I'll read anything Alexandre Dumas wrote because he's gloriously nuts, but in general, I don't get on with translated books at all. It makes me feel like a provincial jerk. :/

    Oo, but! There's this excellent book translated from Persian called Censoring an Iranian Love Story, and I thought that was terrific. Exceptions to every rule, eh?

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    1. If you feel like you're reading a translation, I don't think it's a good one. It really should be seamless. Some older translations are pretty clunky.

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  10. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  11. Shadow of the Wind is one of my absolkute favorites! Also, I'd never heard of Zweig until I saw The Grand Budapest Hotel, but now I really want to read The Post Office Girl. I'm so glad you mentioned that too.

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    1. I'd like to read more Zweig. There are books in the public domain but they're in German. I'll have to look for recent translations. I think NYRB published a few.

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  12. Thank you so much for including GEORGES in your list; I'm thrilled that you enjoyed it!

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  13. Great list, Chris! I want to check out the translators I am unfamiliar with. How exciting that I inspired a post!

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