The adventures continue with the third installment of Harry Potter, once again in French. And the adventures have gotten so much better for me in many ways! After Chambre, I was pretty discouraged. It was a horrible translation and I felt like I’d reached a wall with my re-learning French. I’m happy to say that both of those things were far better with le Prisonnier d’Azkaban!
First, the translation: same person translating, but this one was so much better. There were only two or three sentences missing and only one felt like a mistake (ie the following sentence made no sense without the missing one). There were no characters who showed up randomly for a sentence, and everyone who was supposed to speak did so. I’m very happy about this, because like I said before, this is one of my two favorite books in the series and I hoped it would be a good translation. I really felt like this one got across the right atmosphere and everything. It was wonderful.
And then there was my reading itself. I finished this book only twelve days after I began it. Originally I had planned to read a chapter per day, but one day, I had a lot of time and was really, really tired after two days of severe insomnia, so I sat down and just let myself become immersed in this world. I read the last 250 or so pages in a single afternoon. In French! And to think – back at the beginning of this project, it took me half an hour to read five pages, looking up every few words. I never looked in the dictionary once in this reading. Sure, I came across words I didn’t know, but just like with a book in English, I figured them out from context (and from knowledge of the book) and I got along fine without my dictionary. Even better: on that day that I read about half the book, I realized that I was no longer translating the book into English in my head to understand it. I was reading the French and comprehending in French, no translation necessary. This is a huge step and I’m very excited about it. I’m still not sure I could speak or write well in French, but even as I’m writing this I can hear basically what the words would be in French, too. So major progress this time!
This gives me hope that one day I’ll be able to read other, non-memorized books in their original French. It’ll probably be awhile still, but at least I’m still going forward. That makes me happy and makes the whole project feel so much more useful and hopeful. I’m glad I decided to undertake it this year.