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21 July 2012 @ 08:57 pm
divided by a common et cetera  
So I picked up a novel at the bookstore today; I've forgotten the title already but it had something to do with vintage clothing. Anyway, it's supposed to be set in London, but on the first page a character talks about someone's bangs rather than her fringe, and it was like a needle scratching a record. The author is English, so I suspect that this is probably a change made for the US market. Still, what is the point of reading a novel set in London but with US terminology? I wish more publishers would adopt the glossary in the back approach, if they're unwilling to go with the "work it out from context" approach.

This probably makes me some kind of horrible snob, but what can I say? I like getting exposed to different words.
ericadawn16: Sadericadawn16 on July 22nd, 2012 02:09 am (UTC)
What I really want is the Harry Potter novels in their ORIGINAL words! I mean, they got a lot better as it went on but still...
tempestsarekind: ofelia readingtempestsarekind on July 22nd, 2012 02:35 pm (UTC)
A friend of mine deliberately bought all her Harry Potter books from or in the UK, either ordering them online or getting them on vacation. I can definitely understand the decision, especially when the sense of "Britishness" is so important to the way those books are presented in the US - it makes it doubly weird that they would change the vocab.
pink for pterodactyl: p:palmettosignificantowl on July 22nd, 2012 03:08 am (UTC)
ugh, I so agree.

In fact, you were talking about Rivers of London/Midnight Riot the other day I think - when I read it I happened to compare the first couple of chapters via the kindle sample at Amazon US and a British epub, and not only do they change words like "paracetamol" to aspirin, they change the spelling of a major character's name, and completely edit out at least one joke (about the TV show the Sweeney) that I would have gotten, thanks. Meh meh meh.

(But the books are great! just get the brit editions if you can.)
tempestsarekind: londontempestsarekind on July 22nd, 2012 02:50 pm (UTC)
Yes, I suspected as much, sigh. Considering I spent most of the book wondering what the US title was even supposed to *mean* (the eponymous riot doesn't happen until fairly late!)...
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tempestsarekind: books and flowerstempestsarekind on July 22nd, 2012 06:04 pm (UTC)
The frustrating thing about this for me is that I don't order books from Amazon. I do pretty much all of my book buying from my local bookstores (though to be honest, I get a lot of books as presents, and I know some of them come via Amazon, but I don't feel right insisting that other people not use Amazon when it is so much more convenient for them). Ordering books through them is easy...except for international editions. I have been tempted to start ordering more stuff from ABEbooks, though...
harder, harder, hardest; i am the artist: lord byron | portraitradiantbaby on July 22nd, 2012 07:16 am (UTC)
Weird. I think they should have just definitely gone with the British English there. O_o

In a way that reminds me of a cookbook-style-book (about feeding your family on a budget) I'm reading. It's by a British author but its marketed toward Americans from what I can tell. The thing that is weird about it, though, is the cultural differences in food that seem to be altered slightly to try to appeal to Americans while forgetting about how we tend to eat different things.

For example, there's a bit about putting beans on toast for a cheap meal and says how you can 'easily' find imported Heinz beans in American supermarkets, which doesn't take into account a) that is probably only true for bigger cities (the availability of British groceries here in Atlanta, for instance, can vary by county), b) she doesn't really explain much about the difference between American baked beans and British baked beans (the former might be a bit weird on toast, I dunno), and c) I've never met an non-Anglophile or non-ex-pat American who even had the urge to put beans on toast in the first place (not that there aren't any out there, it just doesn't seem like something the average person here would do, IMO).

*shrug* It makes me think that is a bit why the book didn't sell very well from what I understand.
tempestsarekind: captain jack harkness: MAKES THE TEA!tempestsarekind on July 22nd, 2012 03:01 pm (UTC)
Hee, that *does* present a problem! Telling me where I can find the right kind of beans is a bit clueless if I have no desire to eat them on toast. I remember my flatmates during my semester abroad (we lived in what was basically a dorm full of single rooms, but we shared a kitchen, so they called it a flat) ate that a lot, and I was totally bemused until I learned that the beans were much more like the ones for hot-dogs-and-beans than US baked beans. Still never inspired me to try it, though.

(Ben Crystal wrote a book called Shakespeare on Toast, which still confuses me a bit. Is it because Shakespeare should be easy like beans on toast? Tasty and filling? The comparison is lost on me.)
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tempestsarekind: bananas are goodtempestsarekind on July 22nd, 2012 05:50 pm (UTC)
Yeah. I know how common it is, I've seen lots of people eat beans on toast...but I still can't quite wrap my head around it. Which is weird, because I'll happily eat beans and rice, or pasta e fagiole (sp?), or black bean quesadillas, or beans over polenta, so it's not like there's some beans + starch barrier to break. Maybe it's the sauce the beans come in?
teliesin: TCteliesin on July 22nd, 2012 11:24 am (UTC)
It is annoying isn't it. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone etc. etc.
How are we supposed to learn things if they change the words. I could see maybe in 1920 before the internet when it might have been harder to find information but today?
Wonder if american novels get translated to Brit english when published there.
tempestsarekind: cheveril glovetempestsarekind on July 22nd, 2012 03:16 pm (UTC)
It is peculiar that the practice persists (there is perhaps too much alliteration in that sentence). There are easy ways to find out what unfamiliar slang means - and that's part of the fun! The one time I've heard of the practice being useful was with Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere, butthat's because he beefed up the descriptions of London in the US edition as well. Though I still don't think they really needed to change "cashpoint" to "ATM."

I suspect US novels get the same treatment; I know that the UK edition of A Wrinkle in Time changed Meg's line about her braces, but that's an instance where the actual word means something else, and those changes seem a little more reasonable to me.
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tempestsarekind: world in peril? have some teatempestsarekind on July 22nd, 2012 05:43 pm (UTC)
You know, I don't remember ever having trouble with tea and biscuits, even though I must have read some books as a kid that involved such things. Probably this means that I just substituted US-style biscuits (yum) in my head, because who *wouldn't* want to have those with tea? :) The thing I did always have trouble with was understanding why porridge was supposed to be so gross, because I ate oatmeal all the time!

Mmm, turkey delight. Beloved candy of millions. :) I don't think this bothered me, either - but I was pretty used to just *not getting stuff* in the books I read as a kid. I spent so much time reading that I encountered a lot of things in books before I saw them in real life.
teliesinteliesin on July 22nd, 2012 05:20 pm (UTC)
Perchance it is peculiar that the particular practice persists on purpose...

Someone stop me soon...
tempestsarekind: i love freema's bunny facetempestsarekind on July 22nd, 2012 05:34 pm (UTC)