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Thread: Dual Language Books/ Discussion on reading in translation

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    Registered User seaofmilktea's Avatar
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    Talking Dual Language Books/ Discussion on reading in translation

    Has anyone ever bought any dual language books? I'm learning Spanish so I've got a few books with spanish poetry/ stories on one side and english translations on the other.
    They seem to be quite uncommon; I've only recently discovered them. Is anyone here well aquainted with them?

    It'd be interesting to discuss reading in translation too. So much is lost!
    I remember my Spanish teacher telling me something disheartening about people never being able to really understand another culture no matter how many books/ films etc they consume. (Then again, I doubt if anyone can truly 'understand' their own culture.)

    Meanwhile, I can't imagine how anyone can properly translate.Chinese poetry into english. The rhythm is usually completely ruined.
    Till human voices wake us, and we drown.
    柳暗花明又一村

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    Especially poetry books seem to be very often available in the dual language form. I really appreciate this because translating poetry is more an interpretation than a real translation.

    I think the only book I have beside poetry which has more languages inside is Beckett's Waiting of Godot. The book includes the English, French an German version (If I'm not mistaken English and French was done by Beckett himself).

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    Card-carrying Medievalist Lokasenna's Avatar
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    A reasonable number of the texts I read in Old Norse and Old English come with a facing page translation - though I suspect this is more typical of dead languages than living ones. I think poetry, more than prose, is more likely to be given a facing translation, if only so the reader can get some sense of the original sound and rhythm.
    "I should only believe in a God that would know how to dance. And when I saw my devil, I found him serious, thorough, profound, solemn: he was the spirit of gravity- through him all things fall. Not by wrath, but by laughter, do we slay. Come, let us slay the spirit of gravity!" - Nietzsche

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    Registered User hannah_arendt's Avatar
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    There are many dual language version of Czesław Miłosz and Wisława Szymborska poems. Mostly it`s polish- english.

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    There's a bilingual edition of Jorge Luis Borges' Selected Poems. Good stuff.

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    I have Pessoa in a dual language edition. Many of his major poems are in it. Years since I read it.

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    Registered User seaofmilktea's Avatar
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    Oh I'd love to read the Borges collection.

    With poetry I find the syntax is very different from prose. Kowing the literal meaning of words isn't enough.
    Till human voices wake us, and we drown.
    柳暗花明又一村

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    Seasider
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    I have a copy of Rilkes Die Stundenbuch with parallel translation. Unfortunately I cannot put my hand on it nor remember the name of the woman who did the translation. But I do remember I thought it was wonderful when I read it.
    I thought of trying to do a parallel translation of some poems by Renee Vivien but eventually decided my French wasn't up to it..
    Last edited by Seasider; 07-13-2013 at 03:43 PM.

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    lichtrausch lichtrausch's Avatar
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    I use dual language books in two situations. When I'm learning a language, or when I'm reading something in a dead language. To me it's not worth it to learn a dead language to the level where I can read stuff without some kind of a crutch. That would require reading dozens and dozens of books in that dead language. But the amount of interesting material in dead languages is quite limited unless you are a huge history buff or what not.

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    lichtrausch lichtrausch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seasider View Post
    I have a copy of Rilkes Die Stundenbuch with parallel translation.
    Das Stundenbuch

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    I have a dual language edition of Arthur Rimbaud's Complete Works and Selected Letters by Wallace Fowlie. Also Illuminations, and Season In Hell and The Drunken Boat, both translated by Louise Varese and published by New Directions. Excellent for studying Rimbaud in French without having to constantly be looking up words.

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    Registered User mona amon's Avatar
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    I like to read Les Fleurs du mal from this website - http://fleursdumal.org/ I read the original with my limited knowledge of French, and look up the stuff I don't understand in the translation. Much better that constantly referring to the dictionary.
    Last edited by mona amon; 07-16-2013 at 12:43 AM.
    Exit, pursued by a bear.

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    Procrastinator General *Classic*Charm*'s Avatar
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    I read Seamus Heaney's translation of Beowulf which had the Gaelic translation on the facing page. It made no sense to me, but was an interesting study nonetheless.
    I'm weary with right-angles, abbreviated daylight,
    Waiting for a winter to be done.
    Why do I still see you in every mirrored window,
    In all that I could never overcome?

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    lichtrausch lichtrausch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by *Classic*Charm* View Post
    I read Seamus Heaney's translation of Beowulf which had the Gaelic translation on the facing page. It made no sense to me, but was an interesting study nonetheless.
    Are you sure it wasn't the Old English original on the facing page?

  15. #15
    Aura by Carlos Fuentes has an English/Spanish bilingual edition.
    La felicidad es interior,
    no exterior; por lo tanto,
    no depende de lo que tenemos,
    sino de lo que somos.

    - Pablo Neruda

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