Translation is a tricky process. Technically, a literal translation should be a word for word substitution but some languages do not match syntactically. The word order may be different, a specific phrase or word may not exist in the translated language that is equivalent the author’s intention. I think that it would be best to have a committee of three convert each book. If two members agree on a sentence, then it can be considered to be accurate. Ideally, the author would participate to explain the nuances.
Unfortunately, I doubt that publishing companies would either spend the funding or time to properly translate their books. Some authors may not really care (deceased persons are excluded, of course). Thus, the original version of these novels may be much better than the English translation that I encountered, a loss for English language readers. I may have harshly judged translated books in previous reviews. I’ll note if the novel is translated from this point onwards with the note [Translated] at the end of the review.
Lifetime by Liza Marklund Three and a Half Worms
Complicated flawed characters and equally complex story. Well written with only a smattering of dry humor. At least bathroom breaks were acknowledged.
The Book of Fate by Parinoush Saniee Three Worms
Memoir-like fictional tale of a woman dealing with an oppressive society and war. Extreme emotions and drama shows her strength. The ending is disappointing, though.
Last Rituals by Yrsa Sigurdardottir Three Worms
Medieval sorcery rears itself in modern day Iceland. Unraveling of the mystery is somewhat interesting but the actual circumstance of the main plot was rather mundane.
Paprika by Yasutaka Tsutsui Two Worms
Odd combination of psychiatry and science fiction. Central character was an intelligent woman but the overall tenor was misogynistic. Excessive violent and sexual images. Repelled that the author thought that anyone would want to be raped. Disappointing ending after a psychedelic episode.
The Retrospective by A.B. Yehoshua Two Worms
Rather bland journalistic approach to an elderly filmmaker’s review. Book would probably appeal to film aficionados. Character’s obsession with a specific painting is disgusting and creepy.
The Fall of Stone City by Ismail Kadare One Worm
Labyrinth story is difficult to follow. Characters aren’t developed enough to care about their fate.
World of Words.
Copyright © 2013 by Ima B. Musing: all rights reserved.