Dewey's 24 Hour Read-a-Thon discussion

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Archived Threads > Hour 10 - books in different languages

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message 1: by Juli (new)

Juli | 87 comments Hey readathoners,

I thought it would be fun to talk about languages and translating books. Have you ever read a book in two (or more) different languages? Which one? Is there a book you'd love to read in its original language? Or have you read a book by various translators and prefer one translation over another?

I'll start. One of my all-time favorites is Patrick Süskind's The Perfume, which I have read multiple times in its original language aka German and for the first time in English two years ago. The book to me lives on its writing and descriptions. I was worried the English translation wouldn't get it right. But alas I was wrong. It was still as amazing as I remembered it.

So, let's hear about your experience!


message 2: by Ana (new)

Ana (4nn4) I've read the Harry Potter series and A Song of Ice and Fire both in Croatian (my native language) and English. I like reading in English more. The least I like about the Croatian translations are the translations of names and places and such.
I also read in German, but I can't recollect that I ever read a book in German and another language.


message 3: by Juli (new)

Juli | 87 comments Ana wrote: "I've read the Harry Potter series and A Song of Ice and Fire both in Croatian (my native language) and English. I like reading in English more. The least I like about the Croatian translations are ..."

Yeah, ever since I started reading books in English, I generally like it better to read in English, too. It just so happens that a lot of my current favorite authors write in English, and it's always great to read something in its original language.


message 4: by Elyse (new)

Elyse (winesaboutbooks) | 1868 comments Nope! I'm not fluent in any other language but we did read The Little Prince in high school French class en Francais. And then I read this year in English! :)


message 5: by Ana (new)

Ana (4nn4) Elyse wrote: "Nope! I'm not fluent in any other language but we did read The Little Prince in high school French class en Francais. And then I read this year in English! :)"

I'm trying to learn French, so maybe that is something I could try to read in a few months or more.


message 6: by Juli (new)

Juli | 87 comments Elyse wrote: "Nope! I'm not fluent in any other language but we did read The Little Prince in high school French class en Francais. And then I read this year in English! :)"

And what did you think? I read The Little Prince in French class as well, and I remember being really overwhelmed. But over the years, I've revisited it, and just adore the book.


message 7: by Juli (new)

Juli | 87 comments Ana wrote: "Elyse wrote: "Nope! I'm not fluent in any other language but we did read The Little Prince in high school French class en Francais. And then I read this year in English! :)"

I'm tryi..."



I've seen books where you have it in French on one side of the page and the other has the English translation. That might be really helpful.


message 8: by Margaret (new)

Margaret (igem36) I can read in English (native) and Spanish (college major). If a book was originally written in Spanish, I definitely prefer to read it that way.

I had a bilingual copy of Poema de mio Cid, which was certainly helpful since the language was a bit(?) different back then.

I also own El sol de Texas/ Under the Texas Sun in a bilingual edition and began to read it as soon as I bought it, but I soon realized I'd need to be familiar with Don Quixote to appreciate the main character -- so reading a Spanish edition of Don Quijote de la Mancha is my summer (or maybe longer) project.


message 9: by Juli (new)

Juli | 87 comments Margaret wrote: "I can read in English (native) and Spanish (college major). If a book was originally written in Spanish, I definitely prefer to read it that way.

I had a bilingual copy of [book:Poema de mio Cid|7..."


That sounds awesome. I wish I knew Spanish a lot better than I do. My favorite poet is Pablo Neruda. I've dabbled a bit at reading his poems in Spanish but I didn't get very far.


message 10: by J (new)

J L's Bibliomania (jlsbibliomania) | 9 comments I'm working on getting my Hebrew to the point where I can actually have a chance to read something other than a picture book, but I'm not there yet.


message 11: by Juli (new)

Juli | 87 comments J wrote: "I'm working on getting my Hebrew to the point where I can actually have a chance to read something other than a picture book, but I'm not there yet."

Ambitious! I love it!


message 12: by Ana (new)

Ana (4nn4) Juli wrote: "Ana wrote: "Elyse wrote: "Nope! I'm not fluent in any other language but we did read The Little Prince in high school French class en Francais. And then I read this year in English! :..."

Love that suggestion. I just wrote in my to do list to look it up.


message 13: by Newly (new)

Newly Wardell | 145 comments Elyse wrote: "Nope! I'm not fluent in any other language but we did read The Little Prince in high school French class en Francais. And then I read this year in English! :)"

I'm doing this later today!!


message 14: by Elyse (new)

Elyse (winesaboutbooks) | 1868 comments Juli wrote: "And what did you think? I read The Little Prince in French class as well, and I remember being really overwhelmed. But over the years, I've revisited it, and just adore the book..."

Oh I loved it as an adult. I definitely didn't get it in high school. lol. And didn't 100% understand it in French either! So reading it in English was win-win.


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