Years ago I came across a marvelous book that was just published in Russian. The book was full of humor as well as deep observations about human nature and politics. The book quickly became quite famous among Russian speakers; people would often quote the sharpest quips.

Since 2016-ish American politics transformed in such a way that one can clearly see that the book's political innuendos apply very strongly to today's United States. So I decided to get an English translation of the book for my friends.

I purchased the English translation and decided to read it before handing it to friends. Alas, the translation completely butchers the original! For example, one of the words that was key to the book's story could have been translated into English in two different ways, with only one translation carrying the intended meaning; the translator chose the wrong one. If I would give the translation to an English speaker he wouldn't be able to appreciate the story solely because of the poor translation.

So we have here a marvelous book in a foreign language that is relevant to today's Americans and an existing poor English translation. Is it possible to improve the situation, to have the book translated again?

  • 2
    It's entirely possible to re-translate books. For example, several of the science fiction books of Arkady and Boris Strugatsky have been retranslated. (Hard to be a God, for one.) However, you need permissions of the copyright holder, if it's still in copyright. And if you don't want to self-publish it, you need to find a publisher willing to print it. – Peter Shor Mar 16 at 17:24

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