Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Anne fra Bjørkely - Reading Fiction in Norwegian on Day 15

I read two full chapters of Anne of Green Gables in Norwegian today, or what I should call Anne fra Bjørkely. Several discoveries:

  • As much as it is awesome to read fiction in a foreign language, the knowledge of the past tense - any past tense - really helps in understanding. Need I say in my norsk travels I have not yet come across any past tense? Should I give it another week before I continue? Somehow I don't think I will...
  • It seems to me that the translator (Mimi Sverdrup Lunden) was taking some serious liberties with the material! I was reading my freshly borrowed from the library version side by side with the English version that I have on my Kindle. As far as I could tell, some parts were missing and some parts were rearranged. I've been reading much about theories of translation and I know that some leeway is there to make changes in the material. I can also imagine that it may have been impossible to translate some of Anne Shirley's frantic monologue in chapter 2, or even some of the descriptions of the brooks and hills around Green Gables. But somehow I feel cheated out of some of my Norwegian text!
  • Even though I probably would have much more trouble if I didn't have the English text available to compare my imaginings of what the text says with reality, when I analyze single pages, I realize that I know a lot of words. More than I thought. They are of course single words, and the context would still escape me if I didn't have the crutch of the English text. But I have some solid foundations already. It's satisfying. 
The book I have has 3 volumes of the Anne novels. I've never read them in English but now I may read them in Norwegian. And by volume 3 I may even need no English crutch!