To celebrate International Literacy Day, take a look at the most translated books of each country. How many have you read?
Have you considered how challenging it is to translate books from one language to another?
Oh, the idioms!
My daughter had an exchange student in her high school who came from France. When my daughter mentioned that I spoke some French, he wanted to meet me. He had a few burning questions he was uncomfortable asking his host family. We met at the bowling alley one evening while the students were teamed up to bowl.
After his turn, he dashed over to the table where I sat and whispered in French that his host family was very kind, but he was tired of eating from a window. Ah, yes. The host family had children in many after-school sports, so fast food was their go-to meal. He said he was a fine cook and wanted to stay home to make dinner, but he didn’t want to offend the hostess. I assured him the hostess would cook if she had the time. He should offer to cook dinners and make a list of the items he needed. The cultural exchange worked both ways.
The other burning question on his mind was that some girls at school said he was hot and others said he was cool. He wanted to know which ones liked him.
Yes, English is a complex language with many connotations for the same word.
While in college I took two years of French and enjoyed reading Le Morte d’Arthur in French and English (translation by Sir Thomas Malory). This book is the basis for the Camelot lore. Reading the books in English and French, side by side, enriched the story!
May you discover great stories from other cultures and nations in their original language or through brilliant translation. Happy reading! Click below for the list.
Two of the books in my Compass Crimes series feature international crime.