kati (this_bugs_4_you) wrote in linguaphiles,

translations of literature in dialects?

hello all!

I'm currently in a translation and interpreting MA program, and for a class project I need to write a research paper on literature that has been translated either out of or into a specific dialect.

I promise I will do my own research as well :), but I thought I'd ask you all too. what are your favorite books that are actually translations, and have any of them come from or gone into a specific dialect that you know of?

(example: a book translated into specifically Puerto Rican Spanish or out of Chilean Spanish or something like that).


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March 11 2014, 21:20:56 UTC 4 years ago Edited:  March 11 2014, 21:27:06 UTC

You know the Astérix books of Uderzo and Goscinny? A while ago now, they started producing translations into German and Netherlandic dialects, and they've proved extremely popular. Here's a complete list of the German dialect editions: https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liste_der_Mundart-Ausgaben_von_Asterix.

I also have a curious Catalan translation of Carlo Emilio Gadda's Quer pasticciaccio brutto de via Merulana. The original apparently contains a mix of Italian dialects which the translator attempted to reflect by matching them to dialects of Catalan. I'm not sure how readable the results are, but the attempt fascinates me.
You can get it translated into Ch'ti too - they sell it in the tabac at Lille International train station http://www.asterix.com/la-collection/les-traductions/asterix-en-picard.html
It might be at least tangentially helpful to look up the translator Gregory Rabassa, who has translated lots of books into English from Spanish (Spain, Argentina, Puerto Rico, Cuba, I forget where else) and Portuguese (Portugal, Brazil) and has many interesting things to say about the process in his (short and entertaining) autobiography.
(Hi!) I think Dreaming in Cuban would fit. And the House of Mango Street is really sweet :) Amor en los tiempos del Colera has a lot of specific dialect/dialogue and the english version has to handle that. Isabel Allende's Mi Pais Inventado would be a great, short one chock-full of interesting translations because she is contemplating all those culturally specific Chilean things that she remembers into My Invented Country.. Borge's Hombre de la Esquina Rosada is all porteño so that would be interesting to see the English translation (which has to exist because it's such a famous story, no?)

I leave it to you to decide whether you count Low German as a language or dialect for your purposes, but there are a couple of translation into Low German, from High German as well as other languages. E.g. the first two Harry Potter Books (Harry Potter un de Wunnersteen, Harry Potter un de grulig Kamer), The Little Prince (De lütte Prinz), Andersen's Fairy Tales, Max und Moritz (Max un Moritz), Alice in Wonderland (Alice ehr Eventüürn in't Wunnerland), Willhelm Busch's stories, Räuber Hotzenplotz (Röver Hotzenplotz) etc. (See for example here.)
There are quite a few English children's books translated into Scots. Off the top of my head, Winnie-the-Pooh and Roald Dahl.
I'm not sure if this counts, but I loved the Bible being translated into lolcat: http://www.lolcatbible.com/index.php?title=Genesis_1&
A lot of books (originally in english/french/another language) have 2 different portuguese translations. One for Portugal in european portuguese and one for Brazil in brazilian portuguese. See Harry Potter for instance.
wow, these are all great! thank you guys so much!!
Not sure if this is quite what you're after, but Alexander Scott translated the Old English poems "The Seafarer", "The Wanderer" and the "Battle of Maldon" into Scots (Seaman's Sang, the Gangrel, and Sang for a Flodden)
I second Asterix and The Little Prince.

You might also want to look into creole* literature. Afro-Creole from Louisiana, USA and Haitian Creole are two that come immediately to mind.

Harry Potter reminds me of its different English versions - original British English version and Americanized version. I don't know if it counts for your purposes though.

*The difference between a language and a dialect is often political. The many Chinese topolects is a good example. French languages is another tricky area because of the French government's stance regarding members of the French language family that are not standard French (Parisian French). Arabic dialects is interesting as well, though it is an area I'm not familiar with at all.

I did translate an original short story into Argentinean Spanish because I loved the English original (I'm not sure but the author is Irish so it's probably in that variety of English?). When things got sexy it was just really hard to remain neutral, and although sex in Spanish is somewhat foreign to me (I sort of learned about sex by reading lots of fic on the net) I decided that I would rather be awkward in my native dialect.

I can't actually think of any translated works I like, tbh, much less one that has been translated into a specific dialect. Translators seem to be really into "neutral", the Harry Potter books in Spanish did have some differences (gafas vs anteojos for Harry), although they could also be told apart from the shitty quality of the binding in the Southamerican editions... None of the original dialects, such as Hagrid's heavy brogue, were translated, which was quite confusing when I switched to English.

Not sure if my example will be useful to you, but Robert Burns' poems are written in dialect, i believe, and translated to many languages.
You may also check out Italian writers who write in Italian dialects (sorry, I'm not enough knowlegeable about them to give you any examples but I'm sure that some of them are famous). The German language has many variants, so the literature in German may give many examples too.