My first time reading the original version of the Chamber of Secrets after 19 years of reading the Danish translated version – the version of my childhood and teen years:
Page count: The English CoS is 251 pages compared to the 339 pages of the Danish CoS; an 88 page difference! The reasons being the same as in the Philosopher’s Stone.
The story; did it change with the language? As it was the case with the Philosopher’s Stone the story didn’t really change. Chamber of Secrets has always been my least favourite book of the 7, a book I just had to get through in order for me to read the full story. What has changed my mind about this book has nothing to do with the language but with the Book Club. Discussing this book in depth has really made me see it in a new light, and my biggest fascination is reading about Tom Riddle; his characteristics as a young man. The book is somehow easier to digest in English. It could perhaps also be a psychological thing since the English version is shorter than the Danish one. There is simply less dreaded book to get through.
Characters: we are introduced to a lot of new important characters in this book, but no one can steal a light like Gilderoy Lockhart. Just as I thought this man couldn’t get any more obnoxious the language change does just that. In the Danish version I get more annoyed with him, whereas in the English version he is more entertaining due to choice of words alone.
As mentioned above Tom Marvolo Riddle stands out a lot more only because I don’t have to overlook the Danish translated name (Romeo G. Detlev Jr – I KNOW!) and mentally replace it with the English one every time it appears on the page. I know it had to spell out JEG ER VOLDEMORT (I AM LORD VOLDEMORT ) but still, ugh.
Draco Malfoy seems even more like a high society brat, which I know he is supposed to, with his “my father will hear about this,” simply because he is the only one – Percy perhaps being the only exception – to not say dad. The Danish version do not have that distinction and I think it may be because of the fact that 1) moder/fader (mother/father) simply isn’t used by anyone, not even the Royal Family, and 2) we don’t dwell on class differences as they do in Britain. Here there is only the everyday people and the Royal Family. Sure you can technically be upper class or middle class, or whatever, by profession but no one gets respect just because of it and we don’t voice it (and no one can hear it on the way you speak either).
What I learned: that the names of the spells, charms and curses sounds better in original language, and that tut is the Danish tsk. I actually had to Google that one because I’ve never seen the sound written like that before. To my Danish brain it looks like the sound of a cute little fog horn, but tut and tsk is in fact the same sound just written differently.
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