maandag 22 september 2014

Why I read English Books


As you might have noticed, I read books in English and in Dutch.
I will explain to you in another post which books I still read in Dutch and why.
This post is about the novels I read in English and why.

In Belgium we get to study English in school once we’re 13 or 14 years old. Before that, everyone watches movies and series, listens to songs or sees messages in English. This means that most of us already know some words and others are able to catch on with it fairly easily.
I was one of them.
My parents (and especially my father) call themselves anglophiles. This means that I have traveled to England and Scotland yearly since I was very young. Secondly, my brother is and I was part of a Pipe Band and I practiced Scottish Highland Dancing for twelve years.
I guess you can understand where this is going.
I always had a love for the language itself, savoring the words and their meaning, trying to pronounce them correctly and so many great and funny expressions.
And that’s why I started reading English novels when I was around fifteen years old. I started with children’s novels off course. But I worked my way up from there over time.
Sadly, I’m nowhere near perfect but I still practice by speaking English on holiday, writing this blog and reading English books.

Which brings us to the first reason for reading English books: practicing the language, learning new words and new expressions. English is the one language that can get you anywhere.

Secondly; most books are way better in their original language than translated. I once read a book translated in Dutch, hated the translation, sold the book and bought it again in English. It was soooo much better! A lot can get lost in a translation, expressions change, jokes change and the original meaning of the author gets interpreted by the translator. This means that as a reader you already read someone else’s interpretation.
If the translator is really good at his job (e.g. Venugopalan Ittekot (Discworld) and Wiebe Buddingh (Harry Potter), then kudos to them. But most of the translators aren’t able to really grasp the style the writer intended or translate funny names and places or a lot of the times I can tell by the translation if it was translated by a Flemish or a Dutch translator and that makes a huge difference.

The third reason is plain and simple: money. English paperback cost between eight and fourteen Euros. Dutch paperbacks are fifteen Euros and up to twenty-two. I can buy a lot more books if I buy them in English.

The forth and the fifth reason go together. The majority of the novels in the whole world will never be translated in Dutch. This means that there is a much wider variety in English books then in Dutch books. And I don’t have to wait for a translation! I can read it the moment it is in store.

I hope this post made some thing clear.
You can always contact me with further questions!

Happy reading.