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Customer Review

62 of 65 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars good story - poor translation, 21 April 2012
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This review is from: The Hangman's Daughter (A Hangman's Daughter Tale) (Paperback)
It was quite a change reading a historic novel set against the background of mid-17th century southern Germany, a time that does not feature too heavily in German literature - far less so in English publications. There are plenty of novels dealing with witchcraft and witch hysteria, however, the plot and its characters are imaginative and I found it difficult to put the book down until I had read the story's conclusion. However, my enjoyment was somewhat spoilt by the clumsy translation (Who on earth wrote that glowing review of the traslator on the back pages?!). Being bilingual, I can see the original German "filtering through" on almost every page and it really grates! Some of the literal translations make little sense in English. If the translator intended to convey a sense of time and place he would have done much better to employ the slightly archaic style one often finds in, say, English civil war novels.
As it stands, it's a good story (that would also make a good film), however, it will win no literary prizes!
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Initial post: 31 Jul 2013 09:21:08 BDT
Last edited by the author on 31 Jul 2013 09:25:05 BDT
Sounds interesting - I am enjoying the English version so far but now I will try to get hold of the German to see how far the dialogue etc. is archaic in the original (I'm not bilingual but am a professional translator and lived in Bavaria for a while). I do understand your point in many ways but translating novels is never easy - yes, the German does filter through to some extent and in the names of places and culture-specific things there are always difficult choices to be made; explanations become tedious but the culture can't be left out, e.g. breaking a stick over the head of a girl condemned to death for killing her child takes me right back to uni days and Goethe's Faust, but it is obscure for English-language readers - in the end the reader has to feel he or she is engrossed in mid-17th C southern Germany, not in the English Civil War.
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