Random Things in Motion #22: Tagalized/Translated Books ARE a Good Thing! No, Really!

So this discussion is mainly about Tagalized books (or books that have been translated to Filipino/Tagalog, the Philippines’ official language). When you’re from another country with an absolutely different language, people usually relish the idea of having translated books, because not everyone can speak or is good in English. By putting a story in a country’s respective language, you are opening its doors to a whole different audience that wasn’t before possible because of a language barrier.

The same goes in the Philippines. It is safe to say that Filipinos, in general, are good in the language, but it’s also safe to say that not everyone is . Not everyone has been blessed or has been lucky enough to receive an education that would give them the necessary skills due to a lack of financial resources, so, translating the books we love like Harry Potter or Daughter of Smoke and Bone would make it accessible to this group of people.

Unfortunately, I noticed that translated books here in the Philippines are oftentimes not warmly received, which is quite surprising. So this video is my two cents why it is actually a good thing!

What do you think of translated books? do you have translated books where you live (applicable if you live where english is not the main language)? Are they well-received? do you agree with my sentiments? 

(Quick rant: Damn, my hair is a mess in this video. Please forgive me as I had to film in the morning, and early morning = ALL KINDS OF NOISY OUTSIDE. I had to constantly refilm certain scenes because while I’m speaking, a motorcycle would swoosh by with a loud VROOOOM, a construction worker would be drilling or hammering something, or someone would randomly yell at someone else! *HUFF HUFF* Not to mention, it was so hot and I had to turn the AC and the fan off because of possible background noises. Arghhhhhh.

So if you see my hair transform into something else by the end of the video, you’ll know why. You can even see my hair sticking to my neck! LOL. THIS SHALL NOT HAPPEN EVER AGAIN.)

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A 21 years old Filipina who loves books, games, languages, and most especially, food. Secretly wishes to be an astronaut so she can explore the stars. Has a love-hate relationship with Philippine politics. To get in her good graces, offer her Foie Gras, Or shrimp. Or a JRPG. A YA sci-fi book works, too. You can follow her on twitter here: @kawaiileena


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    • FayeFaye says

      HAH! I can’t even imagine how they’ll translate the sex scenes O.O That sounds like a lot of work, but I imagine it would be that way for me because I suck in Filipino. But yes, it’s always a great tool to learn the language more. Why not do it with a book you love?

  1. says

    That’s actually a very good point, Faye. I never thought of it that way before, even after seeing books in other languages. I’m personally really bad in Filipino so I avoid the language as much as possible. Haha. I know that’s bad, but it’s easy. And I can get lazy. XD We should have new covers for the translated books though. :P all in all, it’s really good if the translated versions do reach other people.
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    • FayeFaye says

      Haha, I mainly read my favorite mangas/comic books in French so I can learn their language more especially in a more casual/informal setting, you know what I mean? I really learned a lot from them why not see Filipinized books the same? I agree about having new covers, though… just having a small “Filipino edition” print would make something think it were misleading them.

  2. says

    ^ This! I’m glad someone voiced out a positive opinion regarding Filipino translated book. Most Filipinos can comprehend English & some of us are above average in the usage of the said language, however they are still out there who are intimidated with reading English books. In fact, this is one of the reasons why they are put off with reading in general. As I told you in twitter it could be a vehicle to some people to start reading books. One of the many reasons why I support this. Of course, we are entitled to read in the language we are comfortable with but it sad to know the some people mock (sometimes our own language, my gulay; criticize the translation not the language) the product, or worst, the consumers. Let’s be open mind about it. :D /rant over, sorry Faye
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    • FayeFaye says

      Yes, I personally know a few who are simply more comfortable with Tagalog. I mean they read English just fine as everyone else, but they are also wishing there was more literature open to them than the usual Filipino literature that’s way too deep and are more for academic purposes than entertainment (there are the Pugad Baboy comics but well…) And yes, as long as it gets people to read books, what’s the issue right? Shouldn’t we celebrate, as bookworms, that translated books motivate non-readers to read? That’s why I don’t really get the outrage at all!

  3. says

    In my country, they actually are well-received. Most people read the books in Spanish and it’s actually difficult for me to find them in English at local bookstores. And yeah, I soooo agree with you. Bad thing is that marvelous masterpieces are sometimes not translated because they’re not popular. Great discussion, Faye!
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    • FayeFaye says

      I imagine them to be so! EU countries usually demand for more local translations. I know in France they do because they love their language and culture so much… when I was there and I was speaking English in Paris, they gave me the hand cause they don’t speak/don’t want to speak in English . Haha. Yeah, if only we could get all books translated to every language. Wouldn’t that be the dream, for every book to be accessible to everyone in the world, that you don’t have to need to learn another language to read something you want to read?

  4. says

    I actually have nothing against translated books, I too like you mentioned wouldn’t think that this would be too big of an issue, and by translating books, isn’t this allowing more people to enjoy the books? I know some readers may get offended, as they’re fine with an English copy, but really this shouldn’t really bother them at all! Great discussion post Faye, and your hair looked fine! (mine mostly looks like a squirrel’s tail on a good day!)
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    • FayeFaye says

      Yes, it makes them even more accessible to a particular audience, so why the outrage, right? If you don’t like it, you don’t have to buy it, but don’t mock it and make others who want to buy it feel inferior just because there’s already a “superior” English version >_<

  5. says

    I live in the United States so I’m fortunate to read some books in it’s original language. But I did read book that was translated from German to English and it was terrible! Some sentences were just worded very strange. And this ended up being one of the reasons why I DNFed it. Right now I’m reading the Spanish edition of Throne of Glass and it feels different. But I suppose everyone that doesn’t live in the English speaking world is still grateful that they at least have some books translated since not everyone has that.
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    • FayeFaye says

      There are no perfect translations out there, that much I agree. I’m sure there are awful translated versions of books in Filipino out there, but I still don’t think that’s any excuse for anyone to trash them or demotivate others to try reading in that language. I guess the only reason why it feels different is because it’s not in the language you prefer! XD I’ve read French versions of a lot of books and comics though and never felt any different, so it could have been a translation issue still.

  6. says

    OMG I’m actually guilty for not liking Tagalized books at all :P I just suck at Filipino. I mean, I’m quite fluent, but I stutter a lot when i speak Filipino, mostly because I process everything in English, and it takes me a long while to translate it in my head. Haha ^_^” You do have a point, though! Translated books are still a good thing because of the reasons you stated. And plus, it’ll help a lot for people who can’t understand English too well <3 Great post Faye!
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    • FayeFaye says

      I’m not fluent, I only at conversational level, but I get what you mean. I process things better in English, too, and that’s prefectly fine ;) I do want to improve that part of me, though. It would be a disservice to my Filipino identity O.O

  7. says

    I love translated books because it means access to more book lovers, plus the shallow part of me likes to see all the different cover art. I especially love the Japanese and South Korean editions, as they tend to turn all the characters into manga bishounen/bishoujo.

    There’s no shame at all in reading a translated books. I personally read a lot of translated books e.g. Mandarin translated into Vietnamese. A lot of the more popular books are also translated from another language into English e.g. obvs Stieg Larsson, Haruki Murakami and Carlos Ruiz Zafón – and they are widely adored.
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    • FayeFaye says

      Haha, the Japanese covers are always phenomenal. JHave you seen their covers for Brandon Sanderson’s work? Fricking amazing. They have such amazing artists over there.

      I’m glad that you feel this way, Aentee! Translated books are definitely something to be celebrated, because heck, more bookworms, right?! Who wouldn’t want more bookworms in the world today?

  8. says

    Guilty as charged! I’m one of those who wonder on why buy Tagalized books when I can understand the original version just fine. Aside from the great points you’ve already mentioned, I guess book translation creates job opportunities to Filipino linguists, which is a good thing. So here’s to hoping that Tagalized books get more attention in our country. Great video, you earned one YT subscriber here.

    • FayeFaye says

      Yes, definitely! Translating is sooo not an easy feat, too, so that takes mad, mad skills. It’s super hard to do and that’s a fact, as I had to translate some mangas from FRench to English before. Hopefully more people will realize that, too.

  9. says

    Oooh, I liked this video. I never thought about how some people might be offended by a translation, though it does make sense in a way. But I’m glad that books are being translated into Tagalog. And I like your plan for learning Tagalog better–I read books in French for the same reason. I hope some of the bumps in the translation industry will be smoothed out soon, and I hope Tagalized books will be received with warmer welcomes. Thanks for sharing!
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    • FayeFaye says

      Thank you very much! Haha, it never makes sense to me! I mean, it’s still a book, just in a different language. Not unless it was intentionally butchered up, I’d welcome any version! :D And yes! I have certain French books here in my bookshelf for the sole purpose of helping me learn the language better. Thank you for dropping by!

  10. says

    It makes a lot of sense, Faye. I mean, while English may not be my first language either, its the one I use the most at home with my family and when I’m out with friends – its comfortable, and common, and easy. Now if these amazing books we all love, like Daughter of Smoke & Bone, for instance, were translated into my native language, AKA, Hindi or Urdu, I would personally have a really hard time reading it, but hey, like you said, to each their own, right? It depends on the person, I believe, but if these books were indeed translated int Hindi and Urdu, I don’t doubt that existing fans would receive it very happily, but those who know nothing about the series may find a hard time liking it because there are just so many things that change in a sentence. I mean, the writing style is completely different now, you know?
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    • FayeFaye says

      I totally understand! I process stuff better when they’re in English, as I kind of just found them to be easier than my language when can be incredibly complex, but that doesn’t mean I can’t welcome a book in another language that would cater to a whole different audience, right? I’m not sure about the writing style being very different, though… I read stuff in French and the tone never becomes different from the original. Translators always aim to translate the culture and the essence of the book without being too literal about it.

  11. says

    Wait what? This is actually a thing? I understand being wary of translated books, but like you said books in any form are useful to all sorts of people. Translations just help to reach a wider audience and help readers discover and enjoy the various worlds/characters/knowledge no matter what the language is. I also think translated books might in a way push readers to learn a new language, be it English or something else, so then they can get to their favorite authors’ books faster.
    This is a great post, Faye! I didn’t even know people hated on translated books, so it was eye-opening.
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    • FayeFaye says

      YES. SURPRISING, ISN’T IT? You should have seenthe reactions on Twitter when it was known Daughter of Smoke and Bone was going to have a Filipino version… there were some who were hell-bent on mocking it to kingdom come. Really, really surprised me. I totally agree with you that translations are there to reach a broader audience and to help others who prefer that way to read te books. And yes! I buy books in French for this exact reason – to help me learn it better. It’s just more motivating to read it with books you know you’ll enjoy.

  12. says

    I love translated books. English is the main language in my country — Wales — and I was raised in England anyway, so I don’t speak Welsh. I’d never have experienced my own country’s literature without translations. I prefer to read the original text when I can, but I figure anything that gives people more opportunities to read and discover books, and promotes literature in languages other than English, has to be good.
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    • FayeFaye says

      Oooh, I had the notion that Welsh is just a variant of English! I didn’t know that it was a language of its own! That’s interesting to know, but I’m glad to know that you see the value of translated books :D

  13. says

    Tbh, I am not a fan of translated books. I haven’t tried any, but I just don’t think that the beauty of the writing in the original book can ever be captured exactly in the translated one. A book’s writing style is always one of the main factors that I look for in one when I read it, so I don’t think I’ll be satisfied with translated ones.
    But then, I’ve got to agree with the fact that they will be of help for people who can’t understand English! So, translated books are great, but they’re not for me!:)
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    • FayeFaye says

      I understand your viewpoint Mishma, although I have to disagree with you. I think there’s beauty in translated books, but to each their own. Translating is NOT an easy feat, and I don’t wnat to downplay other people’s efforts like that. Not everyone can learn English and I long for the day people don’t need to have to learn another language just to read a book, that we can all be proud of what’s truly ours.

  14. says

    I watched this video as part of a research project called “Don’t Kill Your Language,” and it reminds me of this so much! I think it’s great to perpetuate your own language too. I think publishing a book in Tagalog can definitely increase the bandwidth and spread of people who can read these books! More YA lovers, woohoo!! :)

    • FayeFaye says

      YES, ABSOLUTELY. This mocking of OUR own language has got to stop. Recent generations are already bad as it is, and I can’t stand the elitism any longer. I wish people would appreciate its value more, and how having translated books ARE a good thing. Not only does it make the books we love accessible to everyone, it also promotes love for our own written word.

  15. says

    I think translated books are not only good, but essential. Everyone in the world deserves to be able to read works from global authors. Imagine if the Harry Potter series was only available to Anglophones. What a travesty it would be if people in Asia or Europe had not been able to read that wonderful series. Translations are not perfect, but still necessary to make sure that language barriers do not prevent global readers from being able to explore many great books.
    Good discussion!

    • FayeFaye says

      I absolutely agree to you. In my perfect world, people can read any book they want in their own languages. When there is this divide, there becomes an elitism. “Oh, you don’t know English? Then you won’t be able to read this book or that book” and I really, really don’t like that. That’s why I envy a lot of Western European countries – they get a lot fo stuff in their language to read and they’re proud of their language at the same time. I wish the same could be said in this part of the world!

    • FayeFaye says

      I agree with you. I found that other languages sound really beautiful in their own way – they have certain words that just can’t be translated into English unless you include a footnote. That’s why I feel English -> another language can be easier than another language to English. Although, there have been plenty of exceptions! IT’s all in the translator, at the end of the day.

  16. says

    I’ve never tried reading a translated to Tagalog books. My cousins and I would sometimes pick up a random Erotica novel and sort of translate it in Tagalog just for fun (fuelled by alcohol, mind you). And I would have to say, it’s the funniest shit we’ve ever done at family parties. But of course, these ‘Tagalized’ books are a different ballgame altogether since they’re translated by professional people, so it might be different. :)
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    • FayeFaye says

      Haha, those must have been amazing times! And yeah, I bet that they’re translated with more care and expertise, which is why hats off to them. I can barely string a deep tagalog sentence!

  17. says

    Damn, will have to come back and watch on the PC, as the clip isn’t playing on my Kindle. I don’t speak a language other than English, sometimes find that books originally in other languages and translated into English tend to lose some of the spark sadly, as they’re so widely received beforehand. Do you find that translated from English into Tagalog sometimes don’t translate as well as they should? Obviously publishers or agents or whoever decides what’s worth translating probably need to look into it a little more and even use native phrases and sayings to really drive the story home. Loving this discussion Faye and coming back to watch your lovely self and your hair <3
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    • FayeFaye says

      TBH, I find that English -> another language translates better than the original one sometimes, especially in French. I don’t know, but there are just some languages out there that sound more lyrical. On the other hand, if it’s another language -> English, I find that they can become quite stilted, especially if it’s way too literal. I prefer liberal translations than the literal ones because the latter doesn’t flow as well. After all, the aime is to retain as much of the essence as possible with the minimal use of words (no to flowery translations or translations that take more than one sentence to send a message across).

  18. says


    I mean, any way you can share books with others and get them to love it as much you do, or at least give it a chance is a good thing ^_^ The language barrier can pose problems for people who want to read specific books – I’ve never found any Urdu translated books here tbh, but gahh that’s the problem of living where I live XD But I digress.

    It’s okay, the vlog turned out to be great! Loved every second of it :) (I hate my hair in the mornings too)
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    • FayeFaye says

      YAAAAAAASSSSS. I’m glad to hear that, Nirvana ;) Seriously, I really do. I absolutely agree that getting your book out there more accessible to different audiences is the best way to go. Not only does it permeate your literature, it also permeates THEIR language, which is a win-win for me. Thank you so much <3

  19. says

    Love the footnote! Hahahaha. XD

    On a more serious note, you make some great points. The more people that have access to books, the better. And translating into local languages is one way to do that. Where I am (South Africa), we don’t have much translation of international english books into our national languages (we have 11!) – maybe a few into Afrikaans, but none into the traditional african languages. I suppose publishers can justify it by saying there isn’t a demand or resources, but still.
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    • FayeFaye says

      Thank you, thank you!

      Yup, that’s all I want. More access, more readers. I wish there weren’t language barriers at all so everyone could read whatever book they wish. When there’s a divide, elitism rises, you know? Which happened here. There’s the notion if you don’t know English then you’re uneducated, illiterate, and stupid. I wonder if that’s the reason why they mock translated books here in the Philippines, because they see the language as something inferior and poor? If that’s the case, then we’re hopeless as a nation.

  20. says

    I do agree with you on this Faye! Some people are just more comfortable reading in Tagalog and I think this is a great way to reach that audience. Translated books is nothing new but it has always been badly received in PH and it’s always the reasoning that there’s no need for a tagalog translations because we can all speak and understand english anyway. That’s so not true though and a lot of people would still pick up a tagalog book over an english one. Great video!!
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    • FayeFaye says

      Yes, exactly! It’s all about audience and reach, at the end of a day, not a competition to see which version is “better”. Even then, that thing is very subjective and can only be judged personally (and if you read both… I imagine some of those constantly whining haven’t read a page of the book they absolutely hate because of the language used…). I really don’t get why that is so :( Our language is beautiful and something that we can truly call ours, why mock it so? Le sigh!

  21. says

    I totally get what you mean, Faye, and translations are good for a lot of people. I am so picky, though, and because I read and write several languages, I often find things quite awkward when stories are translated.
    However, for those who cannot read a book in the original language because they don’t know that particular language, translating a book is a way to help them to still be able to enjoy it, broaden their horizons, and just have fun with a story they wouldn’t have been able to read if there were no translations at all.
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    • FayeFaye says

      I’m very very glad that you see it that way, Lexxie! I wish a lot more Filipinos adopted that way of thinking. It’s okay to be picky with books; I know when I read translated manga, I’m picky with the publishers too because there are some licensors who just don’t translate that well. Above all, we must always strive and look for quality – I just wished more people supported it here so we could get more of it :(

  22. says

    I live in the United States so I think I have only read one German novel that was translated to English, but I enjoyed it. It kind of surprises me that some people look down on translated books, like you mentioned, I think they are a great idea because it allows stories to branch out for so many more people to enjoy. Interesting video!
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    • FayeFaye says

      It is very surprising to know, isn’t it? I wish there were more supporters here of translated books as elsewhere in the world. That would be the dream where bookworms are supporting each other regardless of language!

  23. says

    I definitely agree with your points. I also live in a bilingual place (Hong Kong) and I really think translations are a blessing. Not only does it save me from reading my Chinese texts (XD), it’s also great that stories and ideas can be shared to everyone no matter what language they speak. We quite like translated texts here, at least for the really popular books, because people sort of see English books as “better”? (But Chinese to English translations are equally important, IMO.)
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    • FayeFaye says

      Oooh, ahoy, fellow Asian blogger! And I agree with you – with translated books, we get to connect to other readers too who we have language barriers with. Yeah, you guys may not understand each other, but you have something in common and that’s one story, one cast of characters, and one book, just in different mediums.

  24. says

    Great topic! I didn’t watch the movie, but still want to weigh in on the topic. I live in the Netherlands and while dutchies are generally very good at english, there are still people who can’t read it well enough to read books int hat language. Book stores still have a relelavitely small english book area and still focus on dutch books. i think translating books offers those peoepl who can’t read the english versions a chance to read those stories as well. So I definitely agree that translation books is a good thing as it offer more people the chance to read that story.
    My mom and grandma both have read a few books where I know they were originally english and having them translated means they can read while otherwise they couldn’t as they can’t read english well enough to read a book. I prefer to read book in english, but that’s a personal preference. In general I am certainly pro translated books as that means those stories are available to a wider audience.
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    • FayeFaye says

      No worries, Lola! ;)

      I absolutely agree with you. This is why I receive translated books warmly – it gives other people access to books they wouldn’t have otherwise without a translated version. In the end, isn’t that more important – the fact that it will find its way to a bookworm’s hand? That it may create a reader out of someone, too? Just because it was originally in English first doesn’t mean the story and messages and values won’t transcend with another language, right?