So, I went to the bookstore in Taiwan and, being curious at how the translations from English to Chinese would be handled, started going through the shelves like crazy. Here are some titles that caught my eye:
Verdict: It makes sense not to translate Grandpa Green directly. Something like this (阿公的公園 aka Grandpa’s Garden) would have been cute, too, if just for the repetition. (I took the liberty of using 公園, which means park, rather than 花園, which means garden.)
I am the Cheese, Tuck Everlasting, and King of the Wind are direct translations. However, My Louisiana Sky (which I’ve yet to read) has become “Clear Days Between People,” and When You Reach Me is poetically, “Reaching Through Time and Space to Find You.”
Verdict: All these titles sound pretty good to me in Chinese (in terms of rhythm and phrasing), except I am the Cheese, which sounds funny in any language, but especially in Chinese, because there isn’t a culture built around cheese. The translators should have re-titled that one. The Chinese version of When You Reach Me is very appropriately re-titled, and now I want to read My Louisiana Sky to see how those “clear days” factor in.
YA isn’t my forte, although this has been a year of good YA reading for me. Still, I didn’t realize Snow White and the Huntsman was a book before it became a movie, but it and Daughter of Smoke and Bone are translated literally, down to the precise order of “smoke” and “bone.” Between Shades of Gray is now “Area of Grays.” And I don’t recognized the book on the bottom left, but it’s been translated to either “Life” or “Fate.” Speaking of life, it would have been fun to see Life: An Exploded Diagram, just to see how it would be translated.
Verdict: I’m just surprised and thrilled to see Gray and Smoke and Bone there at all! I know these are hits, but they’re not blockbusters, so I didn’t expect them to get this kind of attention.