Monday, March 2, 2015

Lost in Translation....? | Sofia Speculates (5)

Contrary to popular belief, this discussion DOES NOT surround Taylor Swift 

Sofia Speculates is the name for any and all of Sofia's ramblings over here on Loving the Language of Literacy. Lately, I've been struggling slightly with discussion topics, but I came across Smartling, which is an organization that is translating websites into various languages, and I wanted to talk about how passion could be retained in various works of literature when translated. I had never even considered this an issue before (mostly because I'm monolingual and don't have to worry about reading anything more complex than a bathroom sign in a different language), but it a very real one that I want to address.

Justine Manzano who provided a well-written, informative, and concise article on the matter. What you're going to hear now is the impassioned, frenzied perspective primarily surrounding young adult books  also known as a fangirl.         

Before getting into the discussion of translation, I think we need to zero in on what makes the Young Adult genre special to me. YA is a special stage because it's written from the teenage perspective at a time of a person's life that is most-tumultuous, fantastical, devastating, ever-changing stage in a person's life. In my opinion, it's an art for an ADULT author to write from a teenage perspective. Things never seem so big and important as they do when you're a teenager because you're just trying to figure everything out while simultaneously discovering who you are. It has nothing to do with word-choice or the texter dialect that is often used out of laziness. Tone and mood for a teenage perspective is key and what I believe should be worked hardest on retaining through a book's translation. 

I speak/read/write English fluently (it would be pretty bad if I didn't considering I'm a book blogger), and I am in the midst of learning French. Sadly, I don't personally know what it's like to read a real book/piece of text in another language. I would imagine that someone fluent in both languages, who had read (and preferably enjoyed) the book in it's original language so that they could compare and contrast the two. 

Books have helped me and been my anchor since I began reading them. Whenever my life seemed boring, I could escape into the new worlds between their pages. Whenever my life seemed too hard to handle, books put it into perspective, or whisked me away to a completely different place where everything going on in real life doesn't matter anymore. I'm able to connect with characters and experience and learn so many things I wouldn't have otherwise through all of the books I have read. 

Even though eBooks and the digital world is rapidly taking over, I hope the printed one and physical books never go out of style. As a bibliophile, I cannot even express who much I value stories and the written word as well as the power it has over our society. 

Sometimes it's hard for me to rate a book. What tips the scale between a 4 and a 5 star rating? Hands down, 9 out of 10 times, it's because of a little thing fangirls like to call....

Hands down, even if I hated a book, if it made me feel something, the rating automatically goes up. ANY time the written word evokes emotion from me counts as a book I feel good for spending my time reading. From anger, to sadness, to excitement and any other emotion on the spectrum marks the sign of a well-written book.  

Justine brings up the idea that no matter how the message the author wants to give readers is retained, it does't matter what language a book is in. I completely agree with this fact. One of my best twitter friends Jackie @ Jackie's Book Shenanigans recently wrote a very personal posts on Why She Buys Books. Despite the fact that she's blind, she absolutely adores reading books, blogging, and contributing to the bookish community. Braille is, in a way, another language, and I don't doubt for one millisecond that she gets the same message, feels, and excitement that ANY other reader out there does.
What do you think?
What would be the most important aspect you would like to remain consistent between languages? How does the language of the piece bring the story to life?
What is the value of literature and the written word?
What aspect of writing would you want to be preserved from language to language?
How can language translation allow literature to be shared with the world?

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