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Translating Huck Finn





RoughitforGreen247
I recently was reading an article that mentioned in passing a person having translated The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn into German, or maybe Swedish. This set me to thinking. How do you translate something with its roots set so deep in the English language. Has anyone here read a translated version of the book? Does the translator imagine how the speakers would pronounce the words in the other language, or would the translator use a comparable dialect from his native lands? And what of the grammar differences? How does one translate grammatical inaccuracies between various structures of speech? Well, I was just curious. If anybody has seen this, I'd be very interested to hear how it was done. Thanks - Roughit
Afaceinthematrix
Good point. Now you have me wondering. The book has language with roots from the deep south, especially the excessive use of the "N" word and the Negro dialect that is used. I don't see how it could easily been translated.
matliw
Translation is a difficult task as I know from my experience. And translating literature is the toughest of all (especially this kind of lit that's called poetry Wink). There are however certain strategies to do so. It's virtually impossible to make a 1:1 translation of lit.
But certainly depends on the problems you deal with in translation. In Huck Finn you mentioned regional dialects. If you think of translating dialects its impossible to show how it really looks like because of the obvious differences in phonology. Syntactic structures are easier to present (methinks) but still it depends on the target language. English as far as I know is a germanic language so structurally its gonna be easier i think, however there comes phonology and can't do much about it - especially with dialects.
There are tons of books on theory of translation. Try looking around, it may give you some good ideas.
TurtleShell
Yes, I'm not very familiar with how translations work, but I would imagine that a work like Huck Finn would really suffer in any translation.

Works by Mark Twain like huck finn were ground breaking because of the attempt he made to capture the real language of the various people--educated and uneducated--in the south at the time. It also deals with issues that were controversial and sensitive in the US at that time, but which I think would seem less relevant to people living outside the US now. It's a good story anyway, but translating it into German or French just seems like a tedious waste of time, given the obstacles.
lyddi8
A couple of years ago, i read "perfume" by patrick suskind. I believe it was originally written in german-- i don't understand german-- however, the translator did a great job, because it is one of the most brilliantly written books i have come across.
TurtleShell
Recently I found a book of poems by Catullus on my bookshelf. The translations were by Peter Whigham. I researched it a little online and have discovered that the translations were not particularly accurate...Whigham took a lot of arty liberties with the original text...but the poetry was SO beautiful! I like to think it captured the original attitude of the texts.
ddukki
Do Germans have a country-style way of talking? I know Koreans have Saturi ...
megsomean2011
I recently read 'Gone with the Wind' and I'm also taking American History I. I'm really interested in the Old South/Deep South slang/dialect. Does anyone know of a generator where you can translate words to Deep South dialect? That would be awesome! Very Happy
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