Wednesday, December 3, 2008

I'm going to ditch e-Hunger and pick up eventually the Robert Bly translation, which after looking at today I can tell is a lot better than the piece of crap tr. that I downloaded.  I think that one was the original English translation; the book came out in 1890.  What is it with old translations of old books always sucking?  Granted, I haven't read that many old books, but whenever I compare original, Victorian-era trs. with ones from like the mid-20th century onward, it's no contest.  It's not as if writers were stupider a hundred years ago, were they?


1 comment:

  1. Define "stupid."

    I don't think translators were held to the same academic standards a hundred years ago. I mean, people still produce suck-ass translations these days, but someone will usually jump all over their shit for it. Also, you have to consider that writers back then weren't really respecting the whole "natural" language thing. The translator probably had to sell to an American/British audience, and while Hunger is just as bad an as slim existential novel written fifty+ years later, it had to sell to audiences who weren't really anything quite like it in their own original language. Also-also, is the translator you have British? In my experience, they tend to cling to the flowery and awkward language. Also-also-also, consider the language from which Hunger is translated- there was probably a scarcity of educated-and-willing translators back then.

    Those are just some ideas. It could just be that the original translator was high as a kite when he did his work. Either way, I'm glad you haven't given up on the book, itself. It's really lovely!