View Full Version : How Does it Affect You When eBooks Aren't Published in Your First Language?

01-24-2010, 10:30 PM
A great number of readers have recently expressed to me their issues with eBooks mostly being published in English. People have different opinions about it, so I want to know: how does it affect you? Are you bothered about the situation, or does it not affect you? Click here ( to see the rest.

01-24-2010, 10:45 PM
I like to read books in the language they were written in, if I am able to do so. Translation ads a layer of interpretation that distorts the original. Some of the beauty of the original language might get lost. Besides, what better way to improve your language skills? Casual conversation will get you only to a certain level. To go deeper you need to read.

I admit it can be tough going.

01-24-2010, 11:22 PM
If the book is written in english, I prefer to read it in english. I often find the translations are not very good in preserving the nuance of the originals.

01-25-2010, 01:38 AM
Ditto. Plus in general, I don't enjoy reading in french (native speaker) as much as I do in english, which is weird I know, but I can't explain really. I also find it really hard to read in german, although this is the language I speak every day since I moved to Germany 20 odd years ago.

I think that if I was not an avid english reader, I probably would not have fallen in love with ebooks as I have. They are a way for me to get the english books I want without having to pay the dear paperback price they are sold for here.

01-25-2010, 08:33 AM
It means that I read almost exclusively English fiction at the moment (English is my only foreign language in which I'm good enough to both read and enjoy, but I'm working on German). I've always had a preference for English and American authors.

Lately, I've gotten more interested in reading Danish fiction, and I it does bother me a bit that I can't get it a ebooks. I much prefer to use an ereader insted of a paper book.

Added: reading the page you linked to, I can see I misunderstood your question. It doesn't bother me to read English fiction in English - and the option of buying Danish fiction in English is pretty much non-existing, so I can't really compare. It's not an issue. What is an issue, is that I hardly ever read Danish fiction at the moment (or other books not by English language authors, but translated into Danish), and I think I'm missing out on something.

01-25-2010, 08:54 AM
Of course I would prefer to read the books in my mother language.

But… as there are none (commercial ones), I just have to settle for the next best thing… happily I have no problems with English, so English it is.
Also I can re-read the classics in Portuguese that one can get in per example Project Gutenberg.

01-25-2010, 09:53 AM
I prefer books in English. Unless they're translated from Dutch. But, so far, I've not really read any Dutch author I really liked since I moved from children's and young adult to adult books. Dutch authors are generally so... boring...

If it's a translated books from any other language, I prefer English over Dutch.

01-25-2010, 09:56 AM
My main problem there, is being unable to find e-books from French author in French.

01-25-2010, 10:41 AM
if a book was written in english (or german, or any other germanic language, since i don't speak those) i prefer to read it in english. however there are many french authors i want to read, and i prefer to read spanish / portuguese / italian books in french, since i must read a translation, and i'm very frustrated that most of the books i want to read in french are not available. i am really hoping that french publishers will really soon begin to pick up speed in publishing ebooks because i deeply miss reading in french. i don't mind reading in english, but i don't want it to be my only choice.

01-25-2010, 12:05 PM
No problems at all. I read in English 99%. I might read a book or two in Russian if it was written by a Russian writer (but then again, how many did I read? Maybe 2 books over the last 3 years). Something about books in English attracts me.

01-25-2010, 02:19 PM
Original language is obviously great, but the publishers simply trying to maximize effectiveness of sales.

01-25-2010, 02:35 PM
Original language is obviously great, but the publishers simply trying to maximize effectiveness of sales.
How can they do that if the book is not translated into English? :)
And I wouldn't buy English translations of, for example, French or German books, even if I could get them.

01-25-2010, 06:05 PM
A great number of readers have recently expressed to me their issues with eBooks mostly being published in English. People have different opinions about it, so I want to know: how does it affect you? Are you bothered about the situation, or does it not affect you? Click here ( to see the rest.

I lived in Spain for three years when I was a child. I then took five years of Spanish in jr. high and high school. I took three years of German in high school.

If the book isn't in English, I can't read it. Sigh. :( All those years of study down the drain.


01-25-2010, 08:16 PM
So, that settles it. All new books should be written in English, to lessen problems with availability.... :)

However, I must confess that I have sometimes enjoyed a translation better than the original. A great translator can be a great thing. :chinscratch:

Katti's Cat
01-25-2010, 08:20 PM
I prefer to read a book in it's original language (if I am able to do so). Some of the books might take me a few years as I might not be as fluent as I wish to.

I also like to read books in original language AND translation, just to see if I got it right (or if the translator got it right).

Some of the translation are great, others not so.

And if a book is not available in a language that I can read then it's kind of my problem isn't it?

01-25-2010, 08:25 PM
Hmmm... I would hope that a book is in a language I know. American English is what I know best, with some bits of British English from various stories I have read.

I wouldn't mind finding some in languages I am attempting to learn. At present, that is just Japanese I am attempting. I am not very good at it.

I would like to learn Comanche. I have found a source of learning materials. Some of my ancestors are Comanche.

03-29-2010, 11:09 AM
My ebooks are moslty in two languages (English + my native language), maybe a few in German and French. I don't mind reanding in English when I can't find in my native language, although, depending on the topic and corresponding vocabulary I might prefer my native language. (I can read science and sci-fi in English with no problems but an historical novel might have a higher precentage of terms I'm not familiar with).

What really bothers me is that I can't find a way to easily sort and organize my collection by language.

I am yet to decide between these folder structures:
ebooks/[language]/nn.Topic/Author Name/title.ext
(or /Title/title.ext when having several format)

ebooks/nn.Topic/Author Name/[language]/Title ... etc
or even
ebooks/nn.Topic/Author Name/Title/[lang]-title.ext

Don't ask me why organizing them in folders! I like browsing my folders like taking a walk through a library.

03-29-2010, 01:03 PM
It was never much of an issue for me because English is my native language. But I do read in French as well and find it a challenge to improve my French when there is so little available. For example the book which won the 'Canada Reads' promo on CBC is actually originally a French book but Kobo only had the English version. With a book like that, given the choice, I would have rather had the French. The only French ebooks I have found are things like The Three Muskteers on Project Gutenberg.

03-29-2010, 02:45 PM
English is not my native language, but I read a lot of books in this language. Helped me to improve my vocabulary :)
I have also read many books in Czech, my native language and the only other one I know well enough to read books in. If the book was written in English, I prefer English - if for nothing else, then because I don't want to wait years for them to be released in Czech, if ever. Translated books I have read... some were great, for example Jan Kanturek, who translates Terry Pratchett books, won several main prizes for it. I have read those books in both English and Czech and I understand exactly why he want those prizes. Pure genius.
On the other hand, I have read several horrible short stories, something nagged me about it, so I look who translated them... you can guess, same name every time. And I almost put those autors on my black list of "never again". When you read the books in their native language and you are good enough to enjoy them, great, that's a way to go.

03-30-2010, 06:34 AM
A bad translation can ruin a book, indeed :)

04-04-2010, 10:29 AM
While 95% of my library is in English, there are sometimes that I really miss some literature in German. Also, sometimes the version in the original language is so superior and you miss nice details or ambience on the translation (like the Count of Montecristo in French). And now I have to learn Dutch and want some books to start.

In summary... not finding a book in it's original language bugs me, but... I'm willing to make sacrifices for the greater good (which is the worldwide sharing of books).