The OF Blog: No sea disponsible in inglés: Andrzej Sapkowski, La espada del destino

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

No sea disponsible in inglés: Andrzej Sapkowski, La espada del destino

Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski is one of the biggest selling (over 2 million copies sold in Europe) fantasy authors writing in a non-English language. Available in Polish, Russian, German, and Spanish for years, it wasn't until last year that the first authorized English translation of his Witcher stories, starring Geralt, appeared. That first book, The Last Wish (my review here), was actually a collection of interconnected short stories that introduced Geralt and his world. While Gollancz (and Orbit US, I presume) plan on releasing the five full-length novels (beginning with The Blood of the Elves later this year), they apparently have declined to publish an English-language translation of the second collection, The Sword of Destiny, despite the apparent links between that collection and the events in the five novels.

It is a shame. While I plan on posting a full review later, I received my copy of the Spanish translation, La espada del destino, today and after reading the first story, "Las fronteras de lo posible" ("The frontiers of the possible"), I am quite optimistic that this collection will prove to be even better than The Last Wish was when I read it last July. Hopefully, the English-language publishers will reconsider and release this collection in the very near future, as I've found Sapkowski's stories to be biting, incisive, and filled with a wry sense of humor and humaneness that sets his tales apart from most heroic/epic fantasies.


Elena said...

Which amazon do you have to order spanish translations from? and is there a spanish-english dictionary that is broad enough to include, or specifically intended to include, fantasy words? I can read spanish pretty fluently, but i've only ever read non-fantasy books, so i'm not sure i'd recognize words like sword and spell and elf...if those sorts of words are involved (as the titles you listed imply). thanks!

ThRiNiDiR said...

If only I could read Spanish *rolleyes*

Lsrry said...

Actually, I didn't order from Amazon for this book, but ABEbooks, which ships worldwide. For most of my other Spanish-language finds, I use this, the US Amazon, or Alibris.

As for the fantasy words, since most of those are nominatives, or name-subject words, they're barely going to be altered for translation, if at all. Jaskier, for example, was not changed in the Spanish, although that meant the pun in Polish (semi-preserved in the English as Dandellion) was lost. The other words are understood by word context alone. As for the words for sword (espada), and elf (elfo), those are in any dictionary, while spell is probably related to hechicera (sorceress).

And Uroš, it's rather odd, popular as Sapkowski's books have been, that they haven't yet been translated into the South Slavic languages. I know it's available in Polish (duh), Russian, Czech (I think), as well as German and French in addition to the Spanish. Perhaps the possible success in English will lead to South Slavic translations? I can only hope so, as I'm sending my second (MMPB ARC) copy of The Last Wish to a girl I know in Serbia. There's just something wrong about an international success from Poland not having his works translated into all the main Slavic languages, no?

Mihai A. said...

Larry, you make me want to continue my Spanish classes I took when I was student :)

By the way who made the cover?

Lsrry said...


Yes, by all means continue the Spanish study, as there are dozens upon dozens of authors whose works are available in Spanish that aren't available in either Romanian or English.

The cover art was by Alejandro Terán. It's of Yennefer, and minus a few glaring differences from the description given in the books, it is a very well-drawn image.

Elena said...

Or, obviously, I can just come to you for any odd fantastical words that show up...:)

Thanks for the info!

Lsrry said...

No problem! :D Now to get to work writing the review itself.

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