English books in Spanish

0
votes

I have a question about English books translated into Spanish.
I've read a few books in Spanish (all with some difficulty!) but I am finding that books written in English and translated into Spanish seem easier to follow than those written by hispanic authors -in fact I haven't finished one of these yet :-( .
I'm not sure if this is because these (originally English) books still retain vestiges of English structure that the translator keeps, (either because it is an easier job that way, or maybe, because they are trying to follow as closely as possible the original authors style)

Maybe I am imagining it, although another reader of Spanish books has agreed that he finds it to be the case too.

I am wondering what hispanic people think -when you read a book translated from English to Spanish does it seem 'not quite right', or clumsy, or use out of place phrases in some places'

6014 views
updated SEP 17, 2008
posted by tad

8 Answers

1
vote

My wife is a Spanish teacher at the elementary school level. For what I've seen so far, 95% of the text books are in Mexican Spanish. They have a lot of regional words and phrases.

Natasha said:

I've gotten hold of quite a few translated books for children. The quality of translation varies from really poor to really good. One problem that I have is that in the U.S., they are all marketed as "Spanish." There's no way to tell if it's Mexican Spanish, Iberian Spanish, or something else. That probably doesn't matter to native speakers, but as a language learner I need to know if I'm learning a regional variant or an expression that will be universally understood. (One book which was actually quite good appeared to be Iberian Spanish, because it kept using the vosotros form, which was fine. However, for me it was a bit confusing because I was taught that the vosotros form was obsolete and to use ustedes. I realize it is not obsolete in Spain, that's just what I was told.)Sometimes I read the reviews on Amazon -- other than that I haven't found a good way around this problem. Any suggestions would be appreciated!

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updated DIC 26, 2010
posted by 00e657d4
0
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Not to change the subject ,but some of the American movies with subtitles in Spanish,are not well translated.

updated SEP 17, 2008
posted by 00769608
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Guillermo said:

My wife is a Spanish teacher at the elementary school level. For what I've seen so far, 95% of the text books are in Mexican Spanish. They have a lot of regional words and phrases.

Natasha said:

I've gotten hold of quite a few translated books for children. The quality of translation varies from really poor to really good. One problem that I have is that in the U.S., they are all marketed as "Spanish." There's no way to tell if it's Mexican Spanish, Iberian Spanish, or something else. That probably doesn't matter to native speakers, but as a language learner I need to know if I'm learning a regional variant or an expression that will be universally understood. (One book which was actually quite good appeared to be Iberian Spanish, because it kept using the vosotros form, which was fine. However, for me it was a bit confusing because I was taught that the vosotros form was obsolete and to use ustedes. I realize it is not obsolete in Spain, that's just what I was told.)Sometimes I read the reviews on Amazon -- other than that I haven't found a good way around this problem. Any suggestions would be appreciated!

Sopa de Calabaza (which I really enjoyed) was the exception which appeared (to me) to be Iberian Spanish. El Viejo y Su Puerta DEFINITELY had a Mexican flavor, a fun read.

updated SEP 17, 2008
posted by Natasha
0
votes

I've gotten hold of quite a few translated books for children. The quality of translation varies from really poor to really good. One problem that I have is that in the U.S., they are all marketed as "Spanish." There's no way to tell if it's Mexican Spanish, Iberian Spanish, or something else. That probably doesn't matter to native speakers, but as a language learner I need to know if I'm learning a regional variant or an expression that will be universally understood. (One book which was actually quite good appeared to be Iberian Spanish, because it kept using the vosotros form, which was fine. However, for me it was a bit confusing because I was taught that the vosotros form was obsolete and to use ustedes. I realize it is not obsolete in Spain, that's just what I was told.)

Sometimes I read the reviews on Amazon -- other than that I haven't found a good way around this problem. Any suggestions would be appreciated!

updated SEP 17, 2008
posted by Natasha
0
votes

I obviously was referring to proper novels for adults, not adapted books for children. Never seen one of those kids books you mention, but I'll stay away if I even see one, after what you just said.

By the way, I once saw a "talking" book with some Spanish in it, and some sentences were grammatically wrong, and the accent was... foreign. I really shouldn't even be looking at these things; I get really depressed.

updated SEP 17, 2008
posted by lazarus1907
0
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As an American Spanish student I've had to resort to reading translated children's books until my reading is fluent enough to read books by Spanish authors. It's still hard for me to get through a book of short stories by Spanish authors. I've read books from children's series such as Escalofríos, Ghosts of Fear Street, Junie B Jones, Nancy Drew, Scooby Doo, etc. that are translated into Spanish. I have found no comparison of those books to the stories that I've read by Spanish authors. Some of this is probably due to the differences in the ages of their target readers, but there is no comparison between the writing styles. Most of the sentence structure of the translated stores parallels the English structure, idioms are almost word for word translations and there is no Spanish "flavor" to the stories. You always know that you are reading about American children with American attitudes. Of course, this might be a tribute to the translator in that he can bring the cultural values along with his translation. Then again, these aren't works of literature and they just may not feel it worth the effort to give the writing a Spanish cultural "flavor".

lazarus1907 said:

I haven't read an English book translated into Spanish for a long time, but I've read a few ones in both languages before, and the translations were not so literal: many sentences were completely rewritten to convey the same idea in a way that made sense to a native, even though is not exactly the same. The ones I checked were translated by relatively well renown translators, so I guess they were quite good. Maybe if you read a crappy translation from a careless or ignorant amateur, it will sound clumsy... and easy to read for you, but thankfully, I haven't come across any of these yet (and I hope I never will).

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updated SEP 17, 2008
posted by 0074b507
0
votes

I haven't read an English book translated into Spanish for a long time, but I've read a few ones in both languages before, and the translations were not so literal: many sentences were completely rewritten to convey the same idea in a way that made sense to a native, even though is not exactly the same. The ones I checked were translated by relatively well renown translators, so I guess they were quite good. Maybe if you read a crappy translation from a careless or ignorant amateur, it will sound clumsy... and easy to read for you, but thankfully, I haven't come across any of these yet (and I hope I never will).

updated SEP 17, 2008
posted by lazarus1907
0
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It's certainly not your imagination. Translated books by English authors and those by Spanish authors can hardly even be compared. It far easier to contrast them, than to make comparisons. But I'm not a native Spanish reader so let's hear what they have to say.
I hope we don't step on anyone's toes here. Some of our native readers may be involved in doing translations and I wouldn't want to deprecate any of their efforts.

updated SEP 17, 2008
posted by 0074b507