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Old 06-20-2015, 01:19 AM   #1
Panny OP
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Advice for translation of motorcycle journey books into different kinds of English

Hi!


I have written two books about our motorcycle trip around the world.
Now I want to translate them into English. But first I have to make some basic decisions:
e.g. which kind of English.
The goal is to publish them in all english speaking countrys, but
  • will US-Americans or Canadians enjoy or tolerate british English (e.g. if I write „rocker“ instead of „biker“)?
  • How is it the other way round: do British, Kiwis or Australians read books in american English or are they secound choice for you?
Is there anything else I should pay attention to?


Do you think, a book written by a German can be successfull in English? Not in regards of language quality – some professional translater will do it. But do you prefer to read stories from people, who come from your own country with the same „cultural backround“ for example? Or is it even interesting to have a slightly different point of view?


Thanks for your help in advance!


Panny
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Old 06-20-2015, 02:38 AM   #2
JohnnyMac
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As a transplanted American living in NZ for the last 40 years or so I would say it makes little difference. 'Around the World by Motorcycle'(actually sidecar rig) was translated from Hungarian and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Ted Simon's famous 'Travels with Jupiter' was written by a Brit. I think the quality of the book would shine through, no matter whether translated into British, Australian, American or whatever English. Mark Twain reckoned the USA and Britain were divided by a common language. Go for it so we have more good reading.
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Old 06-20-2015, 03:27 AM   #3
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I sometimes have trouble with modern British English. I taught English at a school in Senegal using a British curriculum and sometimes even as a native speaker I had to do research to figure out what the hell I was supposed to be teaching (google search: What is a bungalow?). I have also many times corrected what I thought were grammar mistakes only to find out later (sometimes months later) that that was actually the correct usage in British English (ex: "I'm learning maths", "at the weekend").

And I would consider myself at least halfway cultured. World traveller and all that. My mother's side of the family is from the UK so I grew up with Faulty Towers, Monty Python, I watched Top Gear religiously. Heck, I even have a British passport.

So when teaching British English or interacting with people on UK soil I sometimes have a little difficulty understanding the usage and slang. I think the problem is that although most Americans have at least read some British literature in school, it's normally quite old. The language has evolved since then. In my opinion American culture is far more widely exported than British culture in the current age. Between Hollywood and the music industry common American vernacular is widely understood. British English is also widely exported but it just can't match the volume of material coming from the USA.

This is of course a massive guess, but I would imagine that the average Brit is slightly more connected to world culture than the average American. I would guess that a British person would have fewer problems understanding American English than an American would have understanding British English.

Of course we are talking about very small differences. It's still the same language.

So in conclusion, as an American I have never heard the term "rocker" used as a synonym for biker, but I wouldn't put down a book because of it.
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Old 06-20-2015, 04:16 AM   #4
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My advice is to read the forum heading before posting on this site. not in Ride Reports. Moved to ...... Shiny Thimgs.
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Old 06-20-2015, 05:35 AM   #5
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Would have picked Inmates rather than Shiny Things myself but it's not a democracy.
To answer the original post English Shminglis most english speakers will work it out,I suspect U.S based will have more translation resources? But most of us will work it out.
And as far as cultural background, sometimes it is the differences that make the story.
Do it,I'd like to read your travel stories.
And I am disabled with just the one language.
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Old 06-20-2015, 11:33 AM   #6
Panny OP
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Thanks togunnabuild, JohnnyMac and jordan325i for your helpful replies!
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Old 06-20-2015, 11:40 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GB View Post
My advice is to read the forum heading before posting on this site. not in Ride Reports. Moved to ...... Shiny Thimgs.
Your criticism backfires: I´ve spent quite some time reading ALL OF THEM with the intention to figure out, which subforum might be the right one. But not for the first time many titles and short discriptions where cryptic to me at ADVrider.
Those funny (?) wordings might be understandable for native speaker, but for those who are not and there a quite a few over here, they are just annoying.
I use many forums, but this is the only one, where I have this issue.

Cheers

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Old 06-21-2015, 09:59 AM   #8
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Yeah, I suppose the tags can be confusing for non-native speakers!

American here -- I think with a huge chunk of modern media originating from America (big budget movies, mostly), American English would be widely understood. That said, most Americans can still understand some British-English. There's enough British actors, and British trends in our movies and media that people understand spanner = wrench, bonnet = hood, etc.

That said, is the book already offered in German?
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Old 06-21-2015, 10:43 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cab591 View Post
Yeah, I suppose the tags can be confusing for non-native speakers!

American here -- I think with a huge chunk of modern media originating from America (big budget movies, mostly), American English would be widely understood. That said, most Americans can still understand some British-English. There's enough British actors, and British trends in our movies and media that people understand spanner = wrench, bonnet = hood, etc.
Sounds comprehensible. Thanks

Quote:
Originally Posted by cab591 View Post
That said, is the book already offered in German?
Yes, nummer one is on sale since last autumn, number two will follow soon. Without the experience in my homecountry/-market I wouldn´t consider to translate it.

Cheers

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Old 06-21-2015, 11:02 AM   #10
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I don't think you'll go wrong with any type of English. Americans tend to love British English anyway and it adds a cooler foreign feel to me.

Most of us adventure types like and appreciate the foreign perspective as well. We do a lot of what we do because we like new and different things.
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Old 06-21-2015, 11:29 AM   #11
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There is such a cultural interchange across all the countries which claim English as a mother tongue that any slight difficulties in getting to grips with any differences will not be a deal breaker. Anyway, us anglophones are so impressed when a non native speaker does our language at all, let alone as well as you have written on here.

The kicker will be how well you can make readers relate to your experiences and take them with you through the joys and vicissitudes of your travels. Not whether you have it translated with a Brit or Yank bias.

IMHO, this is not a detail you need to sweat.

Best of luck. Hope it all works out for you.
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Old 06-21-2015, 01:43 PM   #12
troidus
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Go with the version you're most comfortable with, so when the translator asks you if you like his translation of a phrase that perhaps you had some fun with in German, you'll know whether it conveys your meaning and tone. Most important, though, is to be consistent. If I'm reading along with American spelling, grammar, and punctuation, for example, then run into an obvious Britishism that doesn't belong, it yanks me right out of the story. Do it too many times and I'll put the book down.
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Old 06-21-2015, 03:48 PM   #13
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I would suggest you translate it into American English as that is a huge market compared to the other English speaking audiences, the rest of us are used to all varieties of English and will cope quite happily. If the general American audience is not your target market then decide who it is and take careful aim at them....

Good luck, I will keep an eye out for the book.
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Old 06-21-2015, 06:48 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Panny View Post
....
Yes, nummer one is on sale since last autumn, number two will follow soon. Without the experience in my homecountry/-market I wouldn´t consider to translate it.

Cheers

Panny
if you're offering an E-Book, could google translate do the work for you?
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Old 06-21-2015, 07:50 PM   #15
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if you're offering an E-Book, could google translate do the work for you?


Translation software is sometimes adequate for getting the gist of something, but it is not a substitute for professional work.
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