Book Fair Finds: Lost in Translations

During the 2nd Filipino ReaderCon, two of the prevalent sentiments expressed by a number of participants was the lack of young adult books written by Filipinos for Filipinos, and also the lack of translations of popular titles to Filipino.

Apparently, local publisher Precious Hearts Romances addressed the second sentiment to a certain extent long before the ReaderCon, and has published “Takipsilim,” the Filipino edition of Stephenie Meyer’s “Twilight.”

When we went to the Manila International Book Fair this weekend, we also found Filipino editions of L.J. Smith’s “The Vampire Diaries” in two parts, and we learned that PHR is set to release translations of “The Hunger Games” and the “Fifty Shades” trilogy.

I haven’t managed to start reading “Takipsilim” yet because I have a lot on my plate right now, but I scanned it. The translation is a mix of Filipino and English. Obviously there are words that just wouldn’t translate well to Filipino, so the translator had to decide which words or phrases to retain. I’ve always found reading English dialogue in stories set in the Philippines a little unsettling, and the opposite seems to be true for me as well, so the smattering of English sentences and words alleviates that problem a little.

Based on the small portion that I’ve read, though, the Filipino parts can sometimes be difficult to grasp because of the use of uncommon words. If these translations were meant to target a wider range of Filipino readers, it would’ve been more prudent to translate the text based on context rather than a more literal or word-for-word approach. I actually find it easier to read stories that were originally written in Filipino rather than what I’ve read of “Takipsilim” so far. Then again, I may be underestimating other readers out there. Hrmmm…maybe it will be fun to have several people with different reading skills and experience read “Takipsilim” just to find out… Note to self: DO THIS!

Oh gawds, I am scared of how “Fifty Shades” will turn out. Inner goddess, gird your loins! 😛