Friday, October 16, 2009

Lost in Translation?

I just saw the synopsis for the French version of Alyson Noël's Evermore (it's called Eternels). From the description, it sounds a lot like Twilight:
Avant l’accident, Ever Boom était une adolescente comme les autres. Elle a perdu toute sa famille dans cet épisode tragique, et reçoit soudain un terrible don : celui de lire dans les pensées des gens, de voir leur aura et de connaître leur vie en les touchant. Elle se renferme alors sur elle-même et évite le contact. Les élèves du lycée la regardent comme une bizarrerie, la pointent du doigt… jusqu’au jour où elle rencontre Damen Auguste. Damen est mystérieux, plein de charme et terriblement beau. Toutes les filles du lycée se le disputent mais c’est à Ever qu’il s’intéresse. Or c’est le seul être dont elle ne peut pas découvrir les pensées. Et personne ne sait réellement qui il est ni d’où il vient. La seule chose dont Ever est sûre, c’est qu’elle est profondément et irrémédiablement amoureuse de lui.
I love the term "bizarrerie"! I wish we used that in English. But the last line really made me think of Twilight. Basically, it says:
The only thing that Ever is sure of, is that she's deeply and irremediably in love with him.
That sounds strangely familiar... doesn't it?
About three things I was absolutely positive:
First, Edward was a vampire.
Second, there was a part of him–and I didn’t know how dominant that part might be–that thirsted for my blood.
And third, I was unconditionally and irrevocably in love with him.
I mean, yes, Evermore is basically just Twilight with immortals substituted for vampires. But this is pretty blatant.

Still, I'm finding myself curious about this French edition. I found the original English so badly written that a translation might actually be an improvement. However, at over 15 euros plus shipping (which is more than I paid for my English copy back when it first came out), I'm not that tempted to find out.
Have you ever read more than one version of a book (the original language and a translation)? Which did you prefer? Was one better than the other, or were they pretty much the same?


  1. Hilarious. I actually really enjoyed Evermore and didn't find it at all like Twilight, which I disliked. I was also happy to see I could understand 95% of the french in there, yay!

    I have read several books in French but that was a long time ago. I AM planning to read the HP series in french, though, to try to bring back all those long lost skills...

  2. This last line definitely rings a bell...!

    I may become a translator (English to French) this year (still waiting for my first book to come !) and as much as I'm excited about it, I can't help to be a tad scared... French can easily sound pompous, and I almost never read translated books (English to French) because of that.

    A friend of mine made me read a few pages of Twilight's French version, and I found it both terrible and funny. The past tense in French sounds SO formal ! Plus, I'm working for the French publishing house that published Twilight. No pressure there... Hum. I hope I'll manage not to sound too formal tone-wise, it's quite a challenge. I just hope that being 'naturally' bilingual (meaning not scholarly) will make it easier.

    I didn't read Evermore, but I would really like to know if the French version is better, the same or worse than the original.

  3. I have! I read the Harry Potter books in French at first, but when the last 2 books came out, my English was good enough that I could read it in its original version, so I went back to the first one and read it again. There are a few other books, too : I'm reading Fahrenheit 451 right now, witch I read at first in French many years ago... but I know I always prefer to go for the original version when I can. I feel the language is part of the book's "flavor", and many subtilities are lost in translation.

  4. I tried reading New Moon in Spanish and it felt sooooo different. I didn't like it.