Tom Sawyer: Tranlations

Figure 1.--"The Adventures of Tom Sawyer" is one of the most widely translated American novels. Unfirtynately we know little about the translations of the book. Here we see a illustration from a Soviet tranlation. The illustrator was G. Phittingof. His illustrations are quite good, although we know an error here. Huck except for the time with Aunt Polly should be drawn dressed differently than Tom.

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer is one of the most widely translated American novels. Foreigners with only a minimal understanding of American literature will usually reconize both Tom and Huck. As a result Tom is perhaps the most widely recognized American boy literary characters and indeed one of the most widely recognized boy character in literature from other countries. We know little about the quality of the translations. One of the interesting aspects of both Twain's the Tom and Huck books is the language from mid-19th century America. That would be hard to replicate in a foreign labguage. Another wuestion we are not sure about the language Black Ameicans find offensive in both books and how translations deal withj that. Another interesting question is how the traslation was handled in countries like the Soviet Union in which ideas were carefully controlled. Those of us who have done translations know that they can be done with wide variations from translator to translator. We wonder if the tranlations done during the Soviet era were done in such a way to show America in a bad light. This would be relatively easy to do, but perhaps more Huckleberry Finn than Tom Sam Sawyer because the account of Huck focuses so heavily on slavery. WE would also be interested in the German translations, although the books circulationg durung the NAZI era were proibably done before the NAZI seizure of power.


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Created: 3:56 AM 2/20/2005
Last updated: 3:56 AM 2/20/2005