Wednesday, April 27, 2011

#$%#: Translating Harry Potter in Russia

You know, I'm a mild-mannered person.  Or, rather, I'm a person who expects the best of others and a person who prefers rational evaluation above emotional response.  But, I'll tell you what: Misogyny will set me off at any time and on any day.

In doing some research, I ran across a very recent (2 days ago) interview with the Russian translator of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone on Russia's best cultural website  The Harry Potter translation was rushed and criticized, something the translator admirably addresses in his interview and could have mentioned as an excuse for any failings.

He continues to say, however, the following:

Книга, кстати, достаточно легкая, написана простым языком. Видно было, что какая-то несчастная шотландская разведенная женщина с ребенком или двумя на руках сидела в каком-то кафе и писала явно без особой надежды на успех.

Here is my rough translation: " The book [Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone], by the way, is fairly light, written in a simple language. It was clear, that some unhappy Scottish divorced woman with a child or two(on her lap) sat in a cafe and wrote without any especial hope for success."

First of all, J.K. had only one child.  Second of all, hadn't she the right? Third of all, isn't simple language appropriate for a children's book?

Am I overreacting? What do you think?