Lost in Translation: Better in Theory Than in Practice

October 10, 2014 § 1 Comment

I came across Blogging For Books about a month ago by happy accident and immediately started hunting for the first book to order. I love the English language and the power of words in general, so much so that I went to school to study English and then started making a career out of editing books. Thus, I was naturally draw to Lost in Translation by Ella Frances Sanders, a cute little coffee table book that illustrates and defines 50 words that do not have direct English translations.

lost in trans cover

The idea of the book is great, and I’ve seen listicles online that do similar things, but I was disappointed in the execution of the material visually. For a book that seemed more focused on visuals than on the information itself, it did a poor job actually using visuals well to make the information more visible and, rather, the “artistic” parts of the book made it harder to actually understand the material. The words were great, explanations clear and often quite poetic, and the doodles to accompany each word were cute. However, the text and handwriting were very hard to read, and the pages should have been reversed to make more logical and spatial sense. Generally speaking, the English language (and many other languages, for that matter) is read left to right, thus when people read English books, they read the left page and then the right page. Lost in Translation is set up so the foreign language word and its English definition is on the right page and the little description by Sanders is on the left page. It’s backwards. After the first few pages, I got used to reading the right page first, but the general set-up of the book irked me because I feel like this would have been a very easy fix to make the book entirely more readable.

Despite my dislike for the presentation of the material, I do appreciate the efforts and enjoyed learning the new words. Thank you, Blogging for Books and Ten Speed Press, for the free book in exchange for an honest review!

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