Monday, August 30, 2010

Crepúsculo (or I read 'Twilight' in Spanish)


I wasn't really trying to read it fast. It was my "bedside" read; it remained by my bed, only read a chapter at a time, when I wasn't tired, that is. I also read the English version, chapter by chapter, so that I could notice the differences.

Translating is so very subjective. If you think there is one Spanish, you are mistaken. Just like there is no one English, words in Spanish are really subjective; it's based on where the person translating it grew up. I experience this, time to time at work when translating. Some other Spanish speaker will come up with something different (making me doubt my work. I don't enjoy translating much.) This book had errors all over the place; some subjective, some plain wrong! It wasn't an easy read because sometime the translated prose was too flowery, too painful even.

Let me give you some examples:

In Chapter 1, Bella describes her jacket as a "biohazard suit" in English. Since there's no "biohazard" in Spanish, we get "one of those suits used in case of biological danger." That's a mouthful.

Remember the famous "Be safe" note she received from Edward? In Spanish, it was written as "Se Prudente." BE. PRUDENT. HORRIBLE, horrible translation of a famous phrase. Blech.

There are different ways to say you care about someone. Being Puerto Rican, we say "Te amo" for "I love you" and "Te quiero" for "I like you" or "I want you." Every single time the characters told each other they loved each other, the translation was the "I like you/I want you" translation that drove me batty! Do other Spanish speakers use "Te quiero" as "I love you?" Who, tell me, please? Really, because I grew up with "Te amo."

Sometimes, they totally changed the meaning of sentences in the translations.

Edward, when explaining his beautiful glass home to Bella states "It's the one place we never have to hide." In Spanish, the translator wrote "It's the only place we have to hide." That is so wrong. They can be themselves in their home, they're not cowering and hiding in it.

Edward, explaining to Bella what he saw in James' mind says "His plan was already set before the words were out of Laurent's mouth." In Spanish, they messed up the translation by saying "Laurent had already traced the plan in his head before saying what he said." NOT RIGHT. Laurent was not planning anything, James was.

While in English Jasper "went to checkout" of the hotel, in Spanish, Jasper "went to learn the terrain." I guess they didn't know how to translate "check-out."

Some of the translations made me laugh.

Home run? Jonron. Our "J's" sound like "h's." Say it aloud. Home-run; Jon-Ron

In English we say, "rolled our eyes," while in this translation, that's said as "put their eyes to white." Get it? Your eyes roll so much all you see are the whites?

In English, while taking Bella to the Prom, she starts crying and explains it is "Because I'm mad!!" I laughed hard as I read "Porque estoy loca!!" They translated the British term for mad (crazy) rather than the mad that means angry! Ha ha ha ha ha! she's crying because she's crazy, not angry, in the Spanish version.

In English, Edward was described as "odd man out." In Spanish, as that phrase really doesn't exist in Spanish, Edward is described as "un bicho raro." NOW, let me explain something. To some Hispanics, "Bicho" is BAD WORD. To others it means a gnat or a bug. To Puerto Ricans?? NOT so much a bug as the male genitalia!! So reading that Edward was a "rare penis" made me howl!!

Then, there were the omissions and additions, right at the end.

The paragraph describing Alice's preparing Bella for the prom was whittled down to one sentence in Spanish; Oh and Esme helped in the Spanish sentence. Did they get tired and opt to remove it?

In the same chapter dealing with the prom, there is an entire paragraph about Renee treating Bella like a mom again, demanding daily calls and e-mails, that is not in the English book at all. Where did this come from? Why the added paragraph; did they have an earlier draft of "Twilight" to translate?

Man, I am glad that I am done with this book. I will not be reading the rest of the series in Spanish. I don't think I could take any more.


Anonymous said...

That is hilarious! Did you wake David up laughing when you read about Edward and his rare penis?

Kaaren said...

Tracie, remember. His penis wasn't rare. Edward himself was a rare penis. *eyeroll* Oh wait...*turn my eyes to white*

Anonymous said...

See...I can't even translate English correctly! lol
You should write the editor (tee-hee)

Corinna from Germany said...

I actually learned "te quiero" as "I love you" in school. But the other stuff is really hilarious.

Tactless Wonder said...

I'm Messican, and grew up with "te quiero."

Does it note if they were translating the original book, or the novel (cheapy-mass-market thing I saw) based on the movie/script? I saw a lot of that in bookstores in La Paz (baja cali) when I was down there and the Lord of the Rings came out.