i had read harry potter both in spanish and english. that wes the first time i saw that translations are always crap. i am a spanish-speaker and i realized that again when i started reading spanish and latin american literature and i thought that they were the greatest things i've read, even better than the plenty of works i read from books in other languages. now i think that i will read everything in it's original language (obiously if i don't know german i WILL read a translation) because the most important in a great story is the quality of the writing which is lost when translating. do you agree?
I feel the same.
I am a Rumanian girl that has lived in Norway almost all my life. But I would prefer reading books in English.
I like to read books in Norwegian, but when I have read the original that would be in English I find the Norwegian translation a bit poor. Some of the words do not seem right, the words are switched and so on.
Take for instance; I have the first 4 books of Harry Potter and the last two in English. In the beginning I thought that the Norwegian books were great, before I read the original. I have given the Norwegian ones to my little sister now and kept the last two.
The English books are harder to understand, but that problem is solved with the dictionary.
Well, here's the deal. Obviously, if you know the original language of every book you want to read, you should read it in its original language. It will usually be better.
But so far as translations go, no, they are not all crap. Now, many of them are. These are translations done by people who just translate for a job....that is their livelihood and they care about getting it done and making money, not about making something beautiful.
But then there is the handful of translators who care passionately about their work and who are all about making the book as beautiful in its new language as it was in the old. For instance, Coleman Barks' translation of Rumi is a work of art in and of itself: beautiful and pure and clean, with beautiful structure.
The lesson is: don't condemn blanketly. There is an exception to every rule.
But it is still is a fact that many subtleties, secondary meanings and feelings expressed by certain words in one language can not be transferred into another language, even by the best translators.