Wednesday, June 24, 2015

The Importance of Translation

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Can you imagine if classic books such as Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy remain in its original language? Chance are, those books wouldn't be as popular as now because only people who can read in Russian can read those books. That's why, to me, translation is really important. and translation software like Smartling really help a lot peoples.

Being a multilingual myself, I have a firsthand experience when it comes to reading translated books. When I was 11, I started to read the Indonesian version of Harry Potter, since my English wasn't good at that time. Even though now I rarely read translated books anymore, I still think that translation is important since not many people could read in English (or any languages) fluently. Not just that, translation also could connect people around the world.

However, I also think that translation has a shortcoming. Translating something is a very risky job, since if you didn't do it carefully, it could make the reader get a different meaning from its original meaning. For example, when The Fault in Our Stars was translated to Indonesian, the title change into like this (see the text below "The Fault in Our Stars")

If those texts were translated back into English, it will be "Blame it to the Stars". See? It's just the title and it's already has a different meaning (even though still similar).

In conclusion, translation is an important thing because it connect people around the world through literature. If there's no Indonesian translation of Harry Potter, I don't think I'll love reading as much as I am now. Compared to the original version, the original one is definitely better. But if translation means many people could enjoy the book I like, then it's not a bad thing.

So, what do you think of translated books? Do you think translation is important? Also, do you have an experience in reading translated books? Tell me about it!


  1. I've read a few translated books, and I love the fact that it allows so many more people to experience the wonderful stories. They really can impact people!! I think translated books bring the main idea and the biggest parts of the story, it misses some of the little complexities that just can't be translated though (such as tone, some different writing techniques, etc). Overall I totally see the important of translation :)

    Rachel @ A Perfection Called Books

  2. Lovely post! Translation can be such a pain because, like what you said, sometimes the words can come off stiff and awkward. Like the translated version of The Fault in our Stars. And sometimes the essence and meaning of their words may get lost when translated. I read a Filipino book originally written in Spanish but translated in both English and Filipino called Noli Me Tangere ("Touch Me Not"), and while I read it in both English and Filipino, for some reason the former was so dull and boring. I think translated books are very important, but it really depends on the skills of the translator because he/she really needs to maintain the magic and meaning of the words from the original content ^_^

    Jillian @ Jillian's Books


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