Mar. 19th, 2017

redfiona99: (also by fileg)
So, as I said, I'm working my way through the German translation of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.

I actually bought it a fair few years ago (possibly Leicester kind of ago). And I did start it back then. And then I hit “smaragdgrünen Umhang”. Now, it compound words don't bother me, and I don't get why the English think "emerald green robe" is a more sensible way of writing it than "emeraldgreen robe" but I realised that the way Rowling wrote Harry Potter, particularly the early books, was going to lend itself to some very verbose German.

It does work, oddly enough, and I notice Rowling’s craft in making the magical world seem different and enchanting a lot more in German.

The Problem of Dialect

I chose Harry Potter because I was reasonably sure I’d be able to cope with the level of language complexity. And I have been able to, there's only been about 5-6 words per chapter that I’ve had to look up. (I’d like to recommend beolingus.de for all your German vocabulary needs)

For “Ein Junge Überlebt” there was one right at the end. “... dass ihn sein Vetter Dudley in den nächsten Wochen peinigen und piesacken würde.” Now peinigen I recognise but piesacken?! So I looked it up. It means “to pester”. Unfortunately Austrian German uses a completely different word (sekkieren), or sometimes the Bavarian German word (tratzen), which was also the word I would have used. It's nothing against the translator, who is using the right word, just an interesting reminder that the German I use isn't always German.

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