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Old 12-18-2010, 10:46 AM   #1
BearMountainBooks
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Translations - More than one Language?

For those of you who read translations, is it at all useful to have two languages (the same story?) For example, Spanish AND English version of the same short story?

When I was studying in Japan, I read mostly children's books--partly because of the easier language, but also because they were short (reading in a second language was exhausting for me!)

I'm not really thinking just of studying opportunities because most people who speak a second language probably speak it a good deal better than I do. So I am curious. Would two versions of the same story be of interest or are you really most interested in breezing through a story in the language you are looking for?

Do you ever wonder what the original text said?

With ebooks, space isn't at a premium so I think two versions (or more) could be offered.

And what about that "more?" What about 3 versions in 3 different languages?

Maria
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Old 12-18-2010, 11:27 AM   #2
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I don't like translations much, so I try to read the original whenever possible (and I speak the language, obviously). I have found a good dictionary much more useful than a direct translation.

I have read multi-language pbooks on occasion, where you have one column with the original and one with the translation, but I don't see how that would work with reflowing text.
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Old 12-18-2010, 11:52 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rogue_librarian View Post
I don't like translations much, so I try to read the original whenever possible (and I speak the language, obviously). I have found a good dictionary much more useful than a direct translation.

I have read multi-language pbooks on occasion, where you have one column with the original and one with the translation, but I don't see how that would work with reflowing text.

Thanks for the input. I was thinking more of a translated first and then the English version afterward for anyone who cared. I see a couple of problems with it, especially with a short story or two--the dual copy is going to make the work appear to be longer than it is. Secondly, not everyone is going to want both.

BUT, on the plus side, one copy could be sold to both English-speakers AND say, Spanish speakers--thus creating kind of a one-purpose short story file, but serving two audiences (this would be as opposed to having a short story up in English and other one in Greek, Spanish, French...) Although I personally wouldn't want to see more than three languages in a given file.

Thanks again for the input.

Maria
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Old 12-18-2010, 01:36 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rogue_librarian View Post
I have read multi-language pbooks on occasion, where you have one column with the original and one with the translation, but I don't see how that would work with reflowing text.
No problems, at least with ePub. It can be done, the question is should it be done? The technique would make that column-by-column layout permanent.

BTW, I agree with you, the good dictionary is more important than simultaneous access to both versions.

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I was thinking more of a translated first and then the English version afterward for anyone who cared. I see a couple of problems with it, especially with a short story or two--the dual copy is going to make the work appear to be longer than it is. Secondly, not everyone is going to want both.
With all due respect, you are wrong. Having both versions, original after the translation, is definitely a plus. One does not have to read it, and the space is definitely not an issue.

But, how much are people ready to pay for that extra, though? Not much, IMHO. Nice to have, not a requirement. Those who want the original, will buy only the original. Those who want the translation prefer to pay only for translation. I think that the intersection of these two groups is to small a market to offer a product that will be more expensive than either of the versions.
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Old 12-18-2010, 02:35 PM   #5
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No problems, at least with ePub. It can be done, the question is should it be done? The technique would make that column-by-column layout permanent.

BTW, I agree with you, the good dictionary is more important than simultaneous access to both versions.



With all due respect, you are wrong. Having both versions, original after the translation, is definitely a plus. One does not have to read it, and the space is definitely not an issue.

But, how much are people ready to pay for that extra, though? Not much, IMHO. Nice to have, not a requirement. Those who want the original, will buy only the original. Those who want the translation prefer to pay only for translation. I think that the intersection of these two groups is to small a market to offer a product that will be more expensive than either of the versions.
I wasn't thinking it would cost more to have both--I was wondering if anyone WANTED both. Short stories don't sell for a lot anyway--it's already a niche market. Translations can, in and of themselves, be expensive--but including the original language wouldn't up that cost any because the cost is in the translation, not the original.
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Old 12-18-2010, 02:46 PM   #6
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Another Random Thought...I wonder how the translator would feel about the English version sitting there available. It would open them up to criticism, possibly more easily than if someone had to go find the original...
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Old 12-18-2010, 02:59 PM   #7
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I wasn't thinking it would cost more to have both--I was wondering if anyone WANTED both. Short stories don't sell for a lot anyway--it's already a niche market. Translations can, in and of themselves, be expensive--but including the original language wouldn't up that cost any because the cost is in the translation, not the original.
BearMountainBooks, the size of the publication is definitely not an issue. Most of the time, the "heavy" resources (fonts, pictures, etc) can be shared or reused, and the extra "weight" of the text, once it is compressed... We are talking kilobytes, in this day and age when Gigabytes are sold for a few bucks, if even that much? Extra time to download? How many milliseconds does it take for people to complain?

I really don't see why would anybody complain?
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Old 12-18-2010, 03:07 PM   #8
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I would want both, even if it's in a language I don't understand, provided there's no additional cost or just a nominal one (say $1 if the book is $10 or more, $0.5 if it's less). To be more useful, it would need links between the versions from time to time, if they can be unobtrusive (see my version of Dante's Divine Comedy).
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Old 12-18-2010, 03:26 PM   #9
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BearMountainBooks, the size of the publication is definitely not an issue. Most of the time, the "heavy" resources (fonts, pictures, etc) can be shared or reused, and the extra "weight" of the text, once it is compressed... We are talking kilobytes, in this day and age when Gigabytes are sold for a few bucks, if even that much? Extra time to download? How many milliseconds does it take for people to complain?

I really don't see why would anybody complain?
Ah, I see where we disconnected-- I meant that having both versions might give the MISTAKEN impression that a story was LONGER than it actually is--thus making someone feel ripped off when they discovered it was a short story, repeated in another language.

There's a few threads on another forum where readers complained about paying 99 cents for a single short story and then an ongoing discussion of how the kbytes were only one indicator and could lead a reader astray. Some readers complained that "sample" chapters bulked up the Kbyte count making them think a novella was a novel and things like that.

My concern was more along the lines of charging 99 cents for a single short story that appeared to be LONGER because of the dual listing. Or along those lines of thought.

I don't generally buy single short stories for 99 cents because I can get more bang for my buck from free online zines or zines that charge for multiple stories or anthologies. But for a translation, because of the work involved, an entire anthology (whether it includes original language plus translation or not) is not going to be practical for 99 cents--whereas in my opinion a single short might HAVE to go for that price just due to cost and logistics.
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Old 12-18-2010, 03:28 PM   #10
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I don't mind if the original (non-english) version was released, then some months or even years later someone with a quality translating education did the translation. Some of them nowadays, at least if they were used or submitted in digital version are just sent through a computer translator and the entire structure of sentences and the story itself is just trashed.
there are a few translated books I have read but most of the time if they are trashed, I drop it within a few pages and never come back.
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Old 12-18-2010, 03:48 PM   #11
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Ah, I see where we disconnected-- I meant that having both versions might give the MISTAKEN impression that a story was LONGER than it actually is--thus making someone feel ripped off when they discovered it was a short story, repeated in another language.
Wow. Up until now, I was unaware that a service exists where one can check the size of the publication before the purchase.

Be it as it may, the solution is rather simple, the description of the book should clearly state that it contains both translation and the original version. If you, in addition, sneak in a "short story" qualifier somewhere into the description, I don't see how can anybody feel ripped off.
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Old 12-18-2010, 04:13 PM   #12
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Wow. Up until now, I was unaware that a service exists where one can check the size of the publication before the purchase.

Be it as it may, the solution is rather simple, the description of the book should clearly state that it contains both translation and the original version. If you, in addition, sneak in a "short story" qualifier somewhere into the description, I don't see how can anybody feel ripped off.
Agreed--many times it is all in the description and setting the right expectation!
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Old 12-18-2010, 04:40 PM   #13
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Some of them nowadays, at least if they were used or submitted in digital version are just sent through a computer translator and the entire structure of sentences and the story itself is just trashed.
People actually do this?
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Old 12-18-2010, 06:25 PM   #14
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People actually do this?
I bought and own somewhere in the neighborhood of 1000 ebooks that I have collected over the years and have read a bunch on my computer since it was not until recently that I got a dedicated ereader. You would be surprised at how many are just sent through some poorly programmed or generic translation program without actually being looked over and corrected by real people. I have actually deleted around 40-50 books so far that had this problem, luckily I didn't pay much or anything for them (many of that 1000 are free like from Gutenburg Project and similar type sites).
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Old 12-19-2010, 12:17 AM   #15
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Dual-language print books work because you are always looking at two pages at a time. You can ignore the left (or right) page, depending on which language you are using.

I'm quite interested in dual-language ebooks, but I don't think the current formats provide enough flexibility.

Ideally, the underlying format would allow you to define the document structure (at least down to paragraphs) independently of the content, and then pour in the content in whatever language you like. Reader software could then offer option to display two (or more) view panes, each with a different language, but linked so the page turns synchronize. Or they could toggle between languages while maintaining the current reading position.

You can sort of do the latter of these things now by hyperlinking a text with its translation in some other part of the ebook, but current ebooks assume text is linear, links are not always very usable (depending on the reader) so there are some issues with doing it that way.

But HTML5, and some Javascript support could make it easier to do something.
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