Customer Review

26 of 31 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Lost in translation, 9 Jan 2007
This review is from: Measuring the World (Hardcover)
I found this book distinctly odd. I don't know if if was by design but the translation into English left an unusual flavour in the mouth and to be honest, it made the reading a less than fluent affair. Having been advised by the jacket that the book induced hard laughter and the dialogue totally hilarious, I would have to counter that it never raised even a smile for me and the dialogue was merely unusual. Overall, the whole thing left me with the impression that it had only been translated word for word without any real understanding of English and that the differences in tone between the two languages were unaccounted for. My interest in what were two historical characters was lost in the process. The story lept through years in a swift and sketchy manner, a number of lesser characters were abandoned to their fate and the book tailed off in a very annoying fashion. Possibly in the original language (if you speak it) this book is everything claimed but for me it simply left the impression of having just read a book in german/english without really understanding it. Lacks foth fluency and a sense of humour likely to appeal to most English speakers. Two stars for oddity value and because I'm a sucker for historical fiction.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 3 Jun 2012 19:55:35 BDT
King Julian says:
You may rest assured that the writing is fluent, practically flawless in the original language. Regarding the humor there are two options: either the translation is bad and doesn't manage to transfer a sense of subtile humour based on words and dialogue instead of slapstick or you completely lack a sense of (very dry and black) humour and satire. The original IS hilarious so of the translation is even remotely decent I don't see how this would not appeal to the English (especially British) speaking world. Just my two cents from a German who lived in England for some time and realised that western German and English humour is not that different. Dry, black, sarcastic and self-mocking.

In reply to an earlier post on 24 Feb 2013 11:13:23 GMT
Dr John says:
I don't recall whether the English translation was generally good or bad but it had some problems. On one highly confusing page the translator had confused "sie" (plural) with "sie" singular and obviously hadn't understood the text. I also felt that a note should have been inserted explaining "Restoration" in the context of 19th century Germany: the book group with whom I read it simply took it as a reference to the Restoration of the English Monarchy in the 17th.
Perhaps there were rightly different levels of appreciation of the G and E versions. There is nothing in the E translation which suggests to me that all the hoopla from the publishers was justified. I was especially surprised that they had produced a large-print edition for the poorly sighted.
scepticc
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