Lost in Translation?

When a story is well written, I don´t think much about which language I read it in, but I am happy I won´t have to try to translate this bit of dialogue into Danish:

“Are you propositioning me, Doctor Catherall?”

“Oh, I was taught never to end a sentence with a proposition,” she said, smiling.

To be reviewed next week.

[Nigel McCrery, Core of Evil]

About Dorte Hummelshøj Jakobsen

I am a Danish teacher. In my spare time I read, write and review crime fiction.
This entry was posted in Nigel McCrery, quotation. Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Lost in Translation?

  1. Margot Kinberg says:

    Dorte – Oh, I love it!! The linguist in me finds that especially delicious!

  2. How funny! Can’t wait to hear what you think of it. I just started your book last night.

  3. Patti Abbott says:

    Very clever line. Those damn prepositions. Never know where one will turn up.

  4. Barbara says:

    That’s funny. It sounds like the corny jokes my old classmate in Illinois tells all the time. Must forward this one to her.

  5. Belle Wong says:

    Clever line, but I can how it might be difficult to get that cleverness across in a translation!

  6. Kelly says:

    Now I like that! 😉

  7. Maxine says:

    Great! The best translators, eg Saint Don Bartlett or Saint Stephen Sartarelli, do this so well, I am amazed at how they make these “not quite puns” work so well in the English versions.

  8. It is so nice to come back home after a day away and find all your comments. I really liked this book, but I am happy I won´t have to translate the puns. But of course translators don´t have to do that; they will probably make up new puns that make sense in the target language. Not impossible, but a time-consuming task if you want to get it right.

  9. Ellen says:

    You just took the words right out of my mouth: Translation is often not as much translation as it is re-writing. Most translators are excellent in that discipline, but yes; it must be very time-consuming – as well as it must be very difficult to be faithful to the author’s personal style along with making it fluent and worth the while to read in another language.

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