'Traduit de l'anglais' vs 'traduit de l'américain'

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Hulalessar

Senior Member
English - England
It often merely reflects the perception them being different languages.
One has to wonder why there is such a perception. Given the way that "Anglo-Saxon" is bandied about to cover a perceived US/British culture one would have thought that the opposite would be the case.
 
  • User With No Name

    Senior Member
    English (U.S.)
    Within the U.S., one would probably expect to hear "I speak American" (probably rendered as something like "Ah speak Murkin") from sectors of society where nationalism runs high and cultural/linguistic sophistication runs low.

    It's kind of amusing that that crowd and French publishing houses have wound up on the same page about this issue....
     

    L'irlandais

    Senior Member
    Ireland: English-speaking ♂
    The flip side of Europe’s publishers translating American books, is the fact so few translations of foreign language books sell in the US. So figures I saw suggested only 3% of books in the States, compared to over 50% of all books in Italy for example. Much of the blame for this lies with Publishers, rather than the American public. Poor language skills at this level, deprives the wider population gems from overseas. It is of course revealing that UK authors are not included in this US figure, proof if proof was needed, Americans do know they speak English.

    So what mention do Italian publishers put inside the cover, anyone know?
    tradotto dall'inglese (américano?)
     
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    Pedro y La Torre

    Senior Member
    English (Ireland)
    I did. I don't understand what you're trying to say. Most foreign language books in Italy are translated from the English due to the pervasive Anglo-American publishing industry. The smaller percentage of translated books in the U.S. is a consequence of this. There is no comparable volume of publishing in other languages except, perhaps, Chinese. But that doesn't mean that foreign language best sellers don't make it to the States. Carlo Rovelli's Order of Time (originally written in Italian), for one, was a major seller in North America.

    No native English-speaking American with a functioning brain believes that he or she speaks a language other than English. I've never seen anyone seriously trying to make the claim that American English is an independent language. ''Translated from the American'' is a bizarre continental European invention.
     

    Hulalessar

    Senior Member
    English - England
    No native English-speaking American with a functioning brain believes that he or she speaks a language other than English. I've never seen anyone seriously trying to make the claim that American English is an independent language. ''Translated from the American'' is a bizarre continental European invention.
    I am inclined to agree. A significant proportion of Europeans know enough English to know that the differences between written Standard American and British English are minimal almost to the point of being inconsequential. Those who do not know English have no basis for forming an opinion on how different written Standard American and British English are from each other. One would certainly expect publishers to be well informed.

    I wonder what the French would make of a Maigret story being described as "Translated from the Belgian".
     

    Pedro y La Torre

    Senior Member
    English (Ireland)
    I am inclined to agree. A significant proportion of Europeans know enough English to know that the differences between written Standard American and British English are minimal almost to the point of being inconsequential. Those who do not know English have no basis for forming an opinion on how different written Standard American and British English are from each other. One would certainly expect publishers to be well informed.

    I wonder what the French would make of a Maigret story being described as "Translated from the Belgian".
    A lot of more recent works seem to use ''traduit de l'anglais (États-Unis)'', which at least has the virtue of not hinting at a nonexistent language (American). French editors would appear to be under the impression that there are huge differences between AmE and British English, when in reality the differences are very minor.
     
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    User With No Name

    Senior Member
    English (U.S.)
    Traduit de l'anglais ou traduit de l'américain ? Mais aussi : traduit en anglais ou traduit en américain ?
    By Barbara Wright (unfortunately, I can't find the original article)
    Yes, that is an interesting article. And it points out what I don't understand about the situation. Whether a book is translated into U.S. or U.K. English could be an issue for some readers (although not a very serious one, it seems to me). But it shouldn't be an issue when translating from English. And since readers typically know where the author of a book they're reading is from, they should be able to figure out if what regional variety of English was used in the original, if they care...

    Do French publishers do the for any language other than English? Is Paolo Coelho translated from Brazilian? Or Mario Vargas Llosa from Peruvian?

    And how do French publishers handle non-French Francophone writers? Would a novel written by an author from Québec or Senegal be modified before being published in France? (I assume not.)
     

    Nanon

    Senior Member
    français (France)
    A question: why are we only discussing the French vs British or American English if German publishers do the same? And why just English?
    An exemple: Antonio Skármeta - Mit brennender Geduld - Übersetzung aus dem chilenischen Spanisch von...

    Yes, French publishers mention that Jorge Amado (I am not a big fan of Paulo Coelho) est traduit du portugais (Brésil) or even du brésilien. Same for Alaa el Aswany - traduit de l'arabe (Égypte).

    Not being a literary translator myself, I think that French publishers define their own rules in that matter, and I wonder if translators need the country of origin to be mentioned in order to appear as experts in a given variant of a language. Not sure about this.

    And about Francophone writers, no, publishers do not modify texts from Québec or Senegal and readers do not ask for that. A glossary or footnotes may be added if necessary.
     
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    Pedro y La Torre

    Senior Member
    English (Ireland)
    If a book were written in dialectal Swiss German, say, I suppose that I could see the value in specifying that in translation (for instance, it's useful to know the Swiss German words that helped Carl Jung frame his psychological system). But for a work written in Standard German in Vienna or Standard Spanish in Montevideo or English in Philadelphia, it just seems a bit OTT. But it doesn't hurt anyone so good luck to those who do it.
     

    merquiades

    Senior Member
    English (USA Northeast)
    Is Paolo Coelho translated from Brazilian? Or Mario Vargas Llosa from Peruvian?
    Yes, I have a copy of L'Alchimiste in which it is written Traduit du Brésilien.
    I certainly agree with Pedro Traduit de l'Anglais (États-Unis) is much better. Sometimes with authors people might not even know where they come from, so it has the advantage of giving that information.
     
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