View Full Version : Recommend translations

2011-12-16, 12:57 PM
Something that occurred to me in the non-fantasy recommendation thread:

It is a great shame that some of us just haven't had the time or ability to pick up second (or third, fourth, ... , or nth) languages but still like reading stories from other cultures, so I thought it might be cool for people to recommend favorite translations (or request the opinion of others for specific books - or other media like films I guess).

For example, I've read 4 versions of the Odyssey: an old prose translation that was the only version my high school library had (I don't know the translator but it was dense and, frankly, boring this way), Richard Lattimore, Robert Fizgerald, and Robert Fagles.

Of the three verse versions, I preferred Fagles, but I can't really quantify why. I don't have a working knowledge of Homeric (or any) Greek, though, so can only give a recommendation based on a vague comparative ranking in my head (between translations I read years apart from each other).

But if one wanted to read, say, The Romance of Three Kingdoms or The Divine Comedy in English, are there any versions that people can definitively say are better (in accuracy of direct literal meaning and/or effect of the language itself)?