> In fear of the translation...
> <off-topic?>
>   ...what make it so hard to translate books from English to German?
>   I've seen _very_ good books with an, er, improvable quality of the
> translation...
> </off-topic?>

I suspect it's the same things that makes it so hard to translate from English to English:
idioms and colloquial use. Basically, an author's style.

By style I don't mean whether a book is well-written, I mean the inherent personality,
which almost all good writing will have. Much of my writing starts off with some amount of
my personality showing through.  Sometimes that manifests itself as "wise-ass New Yorker."
I have to go back and "fix" things because not everyone has the same sense of humor (as is
clear on this list, for example) nor the same cultural references.

The rhythm and tone of writing is hard to translate, because they rely so much on the
sound of the words.

Le Ton Beau de Marot: In Praise of the Music of Language, by Douglas R. Hofstadter, is a
very good account of the challenges of translation.


James

>
> Cheers,
>
> Stephan
>
>