Q&A with Paulo Coelho discussion


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message 1: by Kate (new)

Kate | 2 comments Dear Paulo,

I was wondering how big a part do you play in the translation of your work? Do you work with the translators to ensure they capture the feeling you are trying to describe?

I have read a great deal of your work (in English) and it's pretty close to perfect, but it's always something i've wondered about.

Thankyou for everything,


message 2: by Maximiliano (new)

Maximiliano (mcsation) Translations is a big issue in books.., I don't know if you can tell, but my native language is not English. I am from Mexico, and currently living in Michigan, so that gave me the opportunity to compare books in different languages. I don't know Portuguesse, but I read The Alchemist in Spanish and I just loved it. I think that there is not a big difference in the message that the book has to transmit, because more than words, we are reading ideas... What is true, is that what we read (Spanish or English versions of books, for instance) is not what the author really wrote, and we can only understand the author's writing style by reading his/her books in the language they were written on.
In any case, it is good to be interested in what an author thinks of this translation process, and whether he is involved in it or not. Great question, Kate!

message 3: by Kate (new)

Kate | 2 comments I think about it alot when I read Huruki Murakami. I'm studying German at the moment so I'm quite interested in the nuaces of language.

Maybe next I can learn Portugese and finally read Paulo's books as they were originally written!

message 4: by missy (new)

missy jean (missy124) | 1 comments Dear Mr. Coelho,

I don't know how many times I've read The Alchemist--perhaps ten. I typically read it when I'm going through a major life change, and it helps me feel oriented. I've read most of your books as well, either in Portuguese or in English, and with many of them, I prefer the original Portuguese version to the English translation. (Although the translation of The Alchemist that I have is absolutely perfect.)

My question is this: How does it feel, for you, when you read a translation of your work? Do you typically feel like the spirit of the work gets through as you would like it to?

Obrigada pelo trabalho que voce faz, inspirando tantas pessoas ao redor do mundo.

message 5: by Paulo (new)

Paulo (paulocoelho) | 52 comments Mod
Dear Kate,

I agree with Max and it's funny how I had the same question concerning Murakami!


message 6: by Paulo (new)

Paulo (paulocoelho) | 52 comments Mod
Dear Melissa,

I trust the translators - my father in law was one and I could see how dedicated he was to be as faithful to the original work.
I consider them as builders of bridges and thanks to their efforts my soul is able to reach so many people.


message 7: by Tanti (new)

Tanti | 1 comments Mr. Coelho,

I remember one of the articles you wrote in Warrior of the Light, regarding translators. One that brought tears to my eyes: The Other Side of the Tower of Babel.It was from that article that i first knew about the Translator Saint.

And thank you for trusting us with your books.

message 8: by Anna (new)

Anna | 3 comments Because of the character of my studies I'm taking first steps in translation (Russian-English, Russian-Polish). Some day I would like to become a translator myself. I think it's inescapable- that moment of hesitation which path to choose: stick to the original work or (as Maximo has just put it) to the main ideas. Balance between two of them is what I consider to be the best option. Knowing that the author of the book has trust in you (as a translator) is very comforting! It's real privilege! Almost the same like the ability to read the original texts! I must admitt that after translating some bits of Brodski or reading Shakespeare in some versions of polish translation nowadays I prefere to read in original.

"If language is not in accordance with the truth of things, affairs cannot be carried on to success" (Confucius)

I think that Mr Coelho books are written in accordance with the truth of things maybe that is why they sound good in any language!
Thruth is what set us free!

message 9: by Kalum (last edited Jul 24, 2022 03:57AM) (new)

Kalum Bandara | 1 comments missy wrote: "Dear Mr. Coelho,

I don't know how many times I've read The Alchemist--perhaps ten. I typically read it when I'm going through a major life change, and it helps me feel oriented. I've read most of ..."

If you have read both the books, the original Portuguese one and the English translation, please let me know if there are any differences or errors in the English one. Accidently, I have found one.


Levantou-se e tomou um gole de vinho. Depois pegou o cajado e começou a acordar as ovelhas que ainda dormiam.


He arose and, taking up his crook, began to awaken the sheep that still slept.

So, what happened to the 'sip of wine' the boy drank?

I can read nothing in Portuguese. But Google helped me in this case.

If you could check for any additional errors in the English version and respond, I would be very appreciative.

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