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← Translations of my books

Richard Dawkins's Avatar Jump to comment 14 by Richard Dawkins

Comment 12 by debonnesnouvelles :

"What to do about it, and how to avoid the same thing happening in the future?"

I assume that the questionable translations were published in languages where reliable proof readers are hard to come by?

Anyway, there must be a way of inserting a proof reading stage at your end, by people you can trust, into the process of publishing translations of your books. If a translation is found to be lacking in standard, I assume that you could then veto it before the books are printed.

It isn't a question of proofreading. It's a question of the translator having no knowledge or understanding of English idioms. They are translated literally into the destination language, as in the classic joke example, "He gave her a ring" (telephone call) being translated as "He gave her a ring" (to put on her finger). Or – an actual case in a translation of The God Delusion, "You can't say it too often" was translated as the equivalent of "Maybe you [the reader] don't say it too often." Or Douglas Adams's Hitch-hiker's Guide to the Galaxy was rendered, by the same translator, as Guide to the Galaxy written by somebody called Hitch-hiker. Or this, from the same translator: "Goldilocks Zone" is given a footnote " “Goldilock is a european plant, Aster linosyris".

This translator is a bungling incompetent, who is beyond help from proofreaders. In this thread, I am not looking for minor corrections of the proofreading kind. I am looking for evidence of massive incompetence such that the publishers should go back to the drawing board with a completely new translator. This thread is for contributions by native speakers of languages other than English.

Thank you

Richard

Tue, 01 Nov 2011 22:00:04 UTC | #886149