lost in translation
updated May 15, 2018
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Unduly _Yours/jessica lim
This is a little off topic but wonderful. In 1987–91 chinese artist Xu Bing published ‘Book From the Sky’, composed of 4000 non-existent chinese characters. I’m trying to imagine the next step. If meanings were assigned to these characters and someone translated a book into them. If Borges were alive I’m sure it’s the kind of thing he would do.
Below: ‘Book from the sky’ or ‘Tianshu’ and the museum installations.
The french writer Charles Baudelaire (author of ‘les fleurs du mal’) was a great admirer of Edgar Allan Poe. He ended up translating much(all?) of Poe into French. Baudelaire felt that in Poe he had found a literary soulmate, so much so that some people actually accused Baudelaire of plagiarizing the American writer.
Below: Baudelaire’s tr. of EA Poe’s complete works
Does Jules Verne need to be retranslated?
It is important to note that serializations in periodicals (e.g., The Boys' Own Paper), abridged versions of previous…jv.gilead.org.il
a large proportion of the early translations of Verne apparently need to be thrown out, for unjustified editing, for misunderstanding the science, for egregious racial bias. The later translations, starting in the 1960’s are the best ones. Unfortunately most of the ones that are in the public domain (free ebooks) are the ones that have been poorly translated and don’t do Jules Verne justice.
Solaris – a scifi novel by stanislaw lem, originally written in Polish. Until recentlythe only english tr of this famous book was one that was re-translated from the french. This is like, as the author’s family says, the game of telephone. It might make good literature, depending on the literary talents of the translator, but unlikely to be a faithful rendering of the author’s original vision.
from author site
Which languages Lem’s books were translated into?
Lem’s books have been translated into 41 languages: Albanian, Arabic, Armenian, Azerbaijani, Basque, Belorussian, Bulgarian, Catalan, Chinese, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Estonian, Finnish, Flemish, French, Georgian, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Latvian, Lithuanian, Macedonian, Moldavian, Norwegian, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Serbo-Croatian, Slovak, Slovene, Spanish, Swedish, Turkish, Ukrainian.
below: Solaris tr into Korean
title: 솔라리스 original (Polish) title: Solaris English title: Solaris language: Korean country: Korea place: Seoul form:…stanislaw-lem.wikia.com
Frances Yates, one of the most fascinating writers on the Renaissance and Elizabethan esoteric thought, has been translated into the french
below: link to pdf file of her book on techniques of memory building in the classical era on..
below: Yates’ reconstruction of Giordano Bruno’s memory wheel from “de umbris idearum”
a list of Yates’ work as tr. into the french. She is best known for her book on Giordano Bruno
Ouvrages traduites en français
Les Académies en France au xvie siècle (1947), Paris, PUF, 1996.
Giordano Bruno et la Tradition hermétique (1962), Dervy, 1997. 
L’Art de la mémoire (1966), Paris, Gallimard, 1987.
La Lumière des Rose-Croix : l’illuminisme rosicrucien (1972), Paris, Culture, art, loisirs, 1978.
Astrée, le symbolisme impérial au xvie siècle (1975), Paris, Belin, 2000.
Les Dernières Pièces de Shakespeare : une approche nouvelle (1975), Paris, Belin, 2000.
La Philosophie occulte à l’époque Elisabéthaine (1979), Paris, Dervy, 1987.
Raymond Lulle et Giordano Bruno (1982), Paris, PUF, 1999.
Science et tradition hermétique (1967–1977), Paris, Allia, 2009. Extraits de Collected Essays t. III (Ideas and Ideals in the North European Renaissance), 1984.
Fragments autobiographiques, Paris, Allia, 2009.
cixin liu – prolific and reputedly the most popular writer of scifi in China. The Three Body Problem, part of a trilogy, tr into English by K Liu and Joel Martinsen
interview with Ken Liu, on translating The Three Body Problem, from Wired bookclub
Ken Liu is also a writer in his own right, as well as former tax lawyer. Below, one of his short stories
A pair of birds dart across your narrow field of vision on the screen. The last user had left the telepresence machine…uncannymagazine.com
some translations of cixin liu (looks like other volumes of the trilogy) into spanish, german and french
the belly of paris – by Emile Zola, tr by Mark Kurlansky, writer of ‘salt’ and other books.
Salt – by Mark Kurlansky. Informative, highly entertaining micro history.
Dame Dorothy Dunnett
For some reason, though Dorothy Dunnett’s historical novels are a cult phenomenon, they have not been much translated. some have been tr into german, though they have been criticized as being poor quality.
There are also italian translations, which makes sense, since a lot of the action, esp the niccolo series takes place in the italian city states.
and apparently some bootleg translations exist in the russian. though this begs the question: who owns the translation copyright? and what happens in the case of an unauthorized translation?
Shared via Kindle. Description: Im Jahre 1550 streiten die adeligen Clans um die Herrschaft über Schottland, das zudem…a.co
below: some of the translations of dunnett’s work which i have been able to track down on my pinterest board
and a new spanish translation of ‘game of kings’ has just come out this spring as ‘juego de reyes’
Willa Cather in translation – a bibliography. Most famous for her novel ‘My Antonia’, she won the Pulitzer Prize for her book ‘Death Comes For the Archbishop’. She has been many times translated into the chinese.
This bibliography was compiled by Hannah German and updated by Caterina Bernardini. If you know about other editions not…cather.unl.edu
interview with brazilian writer Clarice Lispector 1920–1977
Lispector in english translation
Clarice Lispector Clarice Lispector was born in 1920 to a Jewish family in western Ukraine. As a result of the…www.ndbooks.com
Choi Byong-Hyon: Jingbirok/admonitions/taejo wang sillok
Choi Byong-hyon, a professor of English literature at Honam University in Gwangju, is widely regarded as one of the top…www.koreaherald.com
Au Bonheur des Dames – Emile Zola
one of a series of 20 books by Zola that chronicle a changing France in the 1800’s. I came across this book after I watched the tv series called ‘Paradise’, about a businessman in France who has a vision of a department store and the woman who comes to work for him. From my researches it looks like not all of the 20 volumes have been translated in modern times which is odd since Zola is so well-known. The earliest translations were sometimes done by unknown writers but many by the Vizetelly family, and were heavily censored.
Zola, though a prolific writer is not widely read in English. The first volume in the Rougon-Macquart series mentioned above is “La Fortune des Rougons” (1871), tr. most recently in 2012 by Brian Nelson.
“La Ventre de Paris”/”The Belly of Paris” volume? in the series has most recently been tr. by Mark Kurlansky, author of several micro-history books, such as “Salt”, a highly enjoyable read about…of course salt the commodity.
below – original manuscript?
in Korean some of the Rougon series is available under the following titles (i have no way of knowing whether they have all been translated)
Nana – as 나나
L’asommoir – as 목로 주점
Germinal – as 제르미날 (appears to be out of print according to the blog post below)
1898.1.13 간첩 누명을 쓴 유대인 군인이 무죄라고 신문에서 폭로하다 ] "대통령 각하, 저는 진실을 말하겠습니다. 왜냐하면 정식으로 재판을 담당한 사법부가 만천하에 진실을 밝히지 않는다면 제가 진실을…m.terms.naver.com
it’s long been thought that learning a second or third language is good for the brain. the article below discusses the specific example of learning, memorizing long passages in sanskrit orally and then measuring changes to the brain. The bards of old, like in Homer’s day, or celtic culture were all adept in memorizing epic poems and songs. is this true of all languages?
Dr. James Hartzell studied Sanskrit and India studies at Harvard and Columbia University. He then went on to do cognitive neuroscience…grin.news
list of Korean authors available in English via goodreads. not all the books belong on there, like the barbara demick book which is about korea, not a korean author, but still a useful compilation
At one time the most popular way of learning a language was by translating. So it is that many classics have multiple translated versions, only a fee of which have been published.
CRIME AND PUNISHMENT, or “cream and punishment” :) as one of my friends used to pronounce it, has several different versions in english. As My russian skills do not stretch to deciphering nuances in literary style, I can only go by which seems to flow more naturally in English, rather than which is more faithful to the original. Below is the first sentence from the text as tr. by Constance Garnett
“On an exceptionally hot evening early in July a young man came out of the garret in which he lodged in S. Place and walked slowly, as though in hesitation, toward K. bridge.”
but according to the Spectator here is a much better tr. by Oliver Ready
Subscribers to this periodical, while Mark Amory has been literary editor, must often have felt they were enjoying an…www.spectator.co.uk
and also a version tr by David Magarshack, which appears to be out of print.
it’s stunning to think of the wealth of creative output that is our legacy as humans living in this time. But as stunning as that is, and no one can hope to read or watch all the books and films made out of these books it is just as surprising the number of books that have never been translated. This blog is about books in translation, or books lost in translation, that have never been translated, or needs to be retranslated with a fresh eye.
renowned science fiction writer Ursula K LeGuin’s translation of the Tao Te Ching. Today we learn of LeGuin’s death at the age of 88. Lao Tzu’s work on the Tao must be one of the most difficult books ever to translate, let alone comprehend. But here it is. I look forward to reading it.
I remember reading LeGuin’s ‘The Left Hand of Darkness’, (one of the most memorable titles ever) with great enjoyment, although i can’t really tell you what its about anymore. The details fade, although the memory doesnt. It has been translated into numerous languages, including two versions of Chinese, simplified and not, as well as Korean. In Korean it is known as 어둠의 왼손. In German as ‘winterplanet’, as well as a more literal translation of the title.
GradeSaver offers study guides, application and school paper editing services, literature essays, college application…www.gradesaver.com
Juan Eduardo Cirlot, born Barcelona, musician, artist, symbologist, sword collector. why are all the cool people spanish? they have ideas you have never even had a shadow of before. it appears many of his books have never been tr.
the below work is the one he is most famous fir, tr into the english by Page
original spanish version
Cirlot, with his sword collection. d of pancreatic cancer in barcelona 1973
his book on Gaudi the architect whose fantastic buildings dot Barcelona like a cake decorator’s fevered dream has been tr into english
The Glass Bead Game by herman hesse
the below version tr by mervyn savill
The Glass Bead Game https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B01HHPNZBG/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_1fglAb1TKDNX0
also tr by Clara and Richard Winston. in their introduction they write that they regard savill’s translation as lackng the sense of irony that Hesse intended.
it would be interesting to compare the two versions to see.
Clara Winston, who with her husband translated more than 150 books from the German, died of leukemia on Monday in Cooley…www.nytimes.com
kiss of the Spider Woman – by Manuel Puig. hit broadway musical and film with William Hurt and Raul Julia as thr prisoner that Hurt falls in love with
photo of Manuel Puig, below
tr into the french as ‘le baiser de la femme araignee’
tr into English
Red April – tr by Edith Grossman
‘arirang/아리랑’ Part 1, volume 1 – ‘ah, hanbando!’ an historical epic written by bestselling author Cho Chong-rae. (hanbando/한반도 – literal meaning is korean peninsula but it makes more sense here to translate it as ‘ah, land of the han’ or korean peoples, because at least to my ear ‘peninsula’ has a tchnical ring to it that doesn’t fit the tone. as far as i know this is volume 1 of 12.
and this is the last volume. my cursory research shows that this has never been translated into any language, at least, according to wikipedia. but i’m not sure wiki would know whether it has been tr. into chinese or japanese…
but some of Cho’s other works have been translated into english/french. see below
note: in fr. his name has been tr. into Jo Jong-nae, rather than Cho Chong-nae. below is volume 1 of ‘Taebaek Mountain Chain: Soh-wa the shamaness’
also ‘The Land of the Banished’
Jimoondang Publishing Company, 2001-10-06. Paperback. Good....www.biblio.com
aka the resident bibliomaniac (photo below from the movie 🎥 “lost in translation”) starring bill murray and scarlett johanssen
i really liked this 🎥
it resonates with a lot of nomads i guess, and i am a nomad. I come from nomad stock – i am a ‘steppe daughter’.
a bookblog about works that have been translated and not:
i hope it fills a gap – i noticed when i was trying my hand at learning korean through translating korean lit that there was no master listing anywhere of books that have been translated or into which languages. is this the same for other language pairs?
anne rice’s 📚, though wildly popular have been tr into very few languages
‘entretien avec un vampire’/original english title ‘interview with a vampire’ has been tr into french, albeit with a horrible cover
‘the feast of all saints’ – by anne rice. the first book i read written by her, and perhaps the best. set in New Orleans.
surprisingly many of anne rice’s books have never been translated. including this one.
‘interview met de duivel’ – dutch tr of ‘interview with the vampire'
‘Lestat le Vampire’ fr. tr. of ‘Lestat the Vampire’
Lestat le vampire (vam.) https://www.amazon.ca/dp/2266101544/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_En6.zb60GS4AE
queen of the damned, the third in the vampire trilogy has beeb tr into:
The Mummy in italian ‘la mummia'
Scopri La mummia di Anne Rice, L. Corbetta: spedizione gratuita per i clienti Prime e per ordini a partire da 29€…www.amazon.it
snow white and the 7 dwarves/blanche-neige
a side by side tr. of the grimms fairy talebelow
06-11-2017 - Snow-white (ENGLISH) - Blanche-Neige (FRENCH) - It was the middle of winter, and the snow-flakes were…www.grimmstories.com
빨간머리 앤 (literally, red-haired anne) original title ‘Anne of Green Gables’ enormously popular in korea and in japan
‘it was a very blustery day’ from Winnie the Pooh by canadian writer a a milne
one of my first memories is watching disney’s Pooh. what has stayed with me all these years is the image of Pooh stuck in Rabbit’s hole after eating too much honey, or Hunny :)
statue of milne in winnipeg, 🇨🇦
christopher robin organizes an expedition
the charm of disney and the charm of the original illustrations – i love them both
some people in my life do remind me of eyore :)
eyore floats (not quite as tragically as Ophelia…but perhaps quite as melancholy as the Melancholy Dane, Hamlet). Eyore badly needed an anti-depressant 😏
they translated pooh into latin!
the hobbit, in latin! i wonder if anyone has translated. these into ‘pig latin’.
LOTR ( The Lord of the Rings) in japanese above
dubbed version via youtube
Tolkien wrote many many other books besides the most well known LOTR and the Hobbit. I think i had the Silmarillion but never read it. went on to other books. there was so much to read at university.
tolkien was banned in the soviet union for many years. i wonder why? and when did it become unbanned?
the ‘Hobbit ili tuda i obramno’ in russian below (therr and back again)
by RR Tolkin (hqve they got his name wrong? isnt it JR Tolkien? now that i think of it, Tolkien is a highly unusual name, like Shakespeare.
below is a link to an article on the challenges of translating Tolkien
another very famous childrens book author Laura Ingalls Wilder has been translated into many many languages
not sure but below is shown in tagalog?
can anyone help me identify this language below?
Farmer Boy into dutch?
These happy golden yeras into spanish (laura and her beau almanzo marry)
into chinese above
i think below is a the cover of the original edition for those readers eho like to collect
the library of the dead
the religious thriller – a pretty popular genre these days, which might have started with the Da Vinci Code by dan brown
da vinci code tr into korean, below
crome yellow – aldous huxley
‘jaune de crome’ – traduction de ‘crome yellow’ Huxley’s first novel
Jaune de Crome (titre original en anglais : Crome Yellow ) est le premier roman de l'écrivain britannique Aldous Huxley,…fr.m.wikipedia.org
agatha christie – detective fiction/roman à 🔑
the secret adversary
mysterious affair at styles
ten little indians
man in the brown suit
by the pricking of my thumbs
cat among the pigeons
miss marple investigates
uncle silas – j sheridan lefanu
the story of lot’s wife from genesis 19:17–2
machiavelli - the prince – originally written in the italian
la bible/ ‘the Good Book’
2 kings – old testament?
anne of green gables
below: 5 reasons to discover
Prince Edward Island (the setting of Anne of GG)
enn iz zelinek krish (anne of GG tr into russian)
the anne books have probably been translated into most of the languages that currently exist
agatha christie mysteries and detective fiction
have been translated into the most languages except for the bible
murder on the orient express and in dpanish/espagnole below
hi everyone all around the world, Being fond of Agatha Christie and foreign languages, I was wondering how many…community.agathachristie.com
bookstore in lisbon, 🇵🇹 above
반지의 제왕 – Lord of the Rings in korean/LOTR
shakespeare – tho it’s hard to know how the feeling of shakespeare could be conveyed into a different language as well as the meaning
my mother recalls reading shakespeare translated into #korean so she remembers
Check out this video on YouTube:
also goethe was popular
Check out this video on YouTube:
the Firm – john grisham
bestsellers widely translated
Tom Clancy – also widely translated
song of ariran
i like vellichor- wonder what language thats from
tolstoy – anna karenina
war and peace – originally written in russian
crime and punishment – dostoevsky – also written originally in the russian
the sorrows of young werther
ruth rendell –
donna leon -
lord of the flies – william golding
Check out this video on YouTube:
dream of the red chamber
Dream of the Red Chamber , also called The Story of the Stone , composed by Cao Xueqin, is one of China's Four Great…en.m.wikipedia.org
st trans as story. of the stone, by Cao
pillow book of sei shonagon
The Heian period was essential to the aristocratic people. Poetry and vibrant art were a big part in the imperial court,…en.m.wikipedia.org
land/toji by pak kyung ni
Pak Kyongni (This is the author's preferred Romanization per LTI Korea.) (December 2, 1926 - May 5, 2008) was a…en.m.wikipedia.org
song of ariran (?) nym wales and kim sun
the da vinci code – tr into many many languages
la dama azul/lady in blue by javier sierra
gone with the wind – margaret mitchell
the hobbit and
lord of the rings,
narnia chronicles – cs lewis
nancy drew books which have been tr into french with the name of the heroine chsnged?
the name of the rose/il nome de la rosa – umberto eco
foucaults pendulum – eco
books 📚 that badly need translation:
arirang 20? vol series
song of arirang – nym ?
most korean literature ancient and modern
much chinese literature
📚 that have been badly translated
(feel. free to leave responses at the bottom of this page about books that you feel need translating or retranslating)