German literature in translation/Deutsche Literatur ins Englische übersetzt

A recent entry in Susan Bernofsky’s weblog Translationista pointed out that Oliver Pötzsch’s Die Henkerstochter, translated into English as The Hangman’s Daughter, is doing very well. It hadn’t even made my radar, but apparently it’s ‘popular literature’! That reminds me of Frank Schätzing’s Der Schwarm, which did really well as The Swarm (and I even read two-thirds of it in German, but I felt it departing from sense after that).

Bernofsky also mentions the great success of Stieg Larsson books, and the fact that to look at amazon’s website, you wouldn’t think they were translations, because the translator isn’t named. From that she mentions the translator, Reg Keeland, an American, who has a weblog on translation. Reg Keeland is not his real name (he’s Steven Murray), but he was so disgusted at the UK-ification of his translation, done with no time for him to react before publication, that he changed his name for the books:

The printed version of the books was edited in the UK, and the US publisher didn’t do a lot of editing to them, I don’t think. Can’t say exactly because I haven’t read them since I finished translating in 2006. Watch out for: dogsbody, exiguous, gallimaufry, anon, forsooth, and other such British interpolations in my originally American translation! And I sure wouldn’t say “get ahold of” unless I was writing some rural Appalachian story…

This sounds worse than what the Americans did to A.S. Byatt, forsooth!

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