Lost in Translation

When re-reading Inkheart by Cornelia Funke and translated from German by Anthea Bell, I found myself wondering what I might be missing out on.

Then, on reading German versions of some of my favourite books, I found idioms that were not in the original text- that would not even make sense in English.

Can a translation ever be equal to the original work? An author chooses his or her words carefully and intentionally. They phrase sentances in a certain way deliberately. So then is it really true to the original when the translator gets to choose how to word and phrase the translation?

Also, since translating word by word would not work due to idioms, it is up to the translator to convey the meaning to the reader: effectively rewriting the book in their own way. I wonder if the author’s style of writing can be carried through translation, or is it just a replica of their work?

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One thought on “Lost in Translation

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