Which was the first book I’ve ever read in translation? In all honesty, I haven’t the faintest idea! Reading translated books is something really common in Portugal, and I have been doing so since childhood. Thus, it is always with particular interest that I follow, usually from the sidelines, the aspiration of some bloggers from English-speaking countries to read more books by authors whose first language is not English. Since I have stopped reading translations from books originally written in English in favour of reading them in the original, the number of books in translation that I read decreased considerably, though, revealing the Anglo-centric tendencies of my reading.
Reading books by authors from different countries to ours allows us to improve our understanding of the world we live in. It helps us to better comprehend other people and cultures, while being introduced to the diverse realities and problems they face. Moreover, it also gives us the opportunity to fictionally travel to locations all over the world. Obviously, authors can write stories set in countries different from the ones they live in. But, although a variety of perspectives is always welcomed, the inhabitants of a country tend to have a more in-depth perception of the place they live in.
As I know both Portuguese and English, I can read books by authors from various countries in the original. That is a fantastic alternative to read in translation! (I hugely admire people who confidently speak more than two languages.) Language and culture are closely connected in my opinion, so it’s even more enlightening to read books in the original. Currently, I read Portuguese language editions of books originally written not only in Portuguese but also in Spanish, Italian and French, since all of them are Romance languages and share similarities. All the other books I tend to read in English, also taking advantage of them being cheaper. Continue reading