Wednesday, 10 July 2013

2013 Translation Challenge: Halfway Recap!

The 2013 Translation Challenge is hosted by Ellie at Curiosity Killed the Bookworm.

I signed up for Ellie's Translation Challenge at the beginning of the year, and set myself a target of reading 6 translated books over the next 12 months.

At roughly the halfway stage, this is how it currently stands:

I have read four translated books so far this year.

The Dinner - Herman Koch (Dutch - translated by Sam Garrett)
The Hidden Child - Camilla Läckberg (Swedish - translated by Tiina Nunnally)
The Voice of the Violin - Andrea Camilleri (Italian - translated by Stephen Sartarelli)
Doppler - Erlend Loe (Norwegian - translated by Don Bartlett and Don Shaw)

I absolutely loved Doppler, and The Dinner was also excellent - both highly recommended. I didn't really enjoy The Voice of the Violin - a bit too ambling for my taste - but The Hidden Child was a good crime novel and I'd definitely read more of Läckberg's books in the future (this was my second of hers).

It has made me appreciate the work that goes into a good translation, and the effort that has been taken to keep the nuances and cultural flavours of these books while making them accessible in another language. I haven't especially sought any of these out simply because they are translated - the Camilleri book was the only one I picked up at the library because I was specifically looking to see what translated fiction they had. I have read books by Läberg and Loe before, and Loe is one of my favourite authors. But I think so far the challenge has made me think more about why I like translated fiction, and why I gravitate towards European books in particular. I like the idea of being transported to another country (some of which I have visited, others not) and seeing things from a slightly different perspective, as well as being able to spot commonalities. 

On that note, there is a definite European flavour to the translations I've read, although I'm pleased with the spread of languages so far. I think this is due in part to the fact that European translations are the ones most widely available, but it would be nice to include some things from other continents this year too - any suggestions or recommendations gratefully received!

Next up on my list: Yrsa Sigurðardóttir - Last Rituals (Icelandic), Keigo Higashino - The Devotion of Suspect X (Japanese) and Jakob Ejersbo - Exile (Danish). These three books will fulfil (and exceed) my challenge goal, but I plan to seek out some more translated fiction over the rest of the year and hopefully make it up to the 12 books that Ellie originally suggested!

1 comment:

  1. I can imagine it would potentially be quite difficult to translate a novel, and I wonder how much gets lost? Good luck with the rest of the challenge!


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