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Translation notes for de Canon van Nederland

Posted on Mon 08 August 2022 in Blog

My translation to Spanish of the Canon van Nederland has just been published. The Canon is a book about the history of the Netherlands, commonly used in schools, language lessons and citizenship exams.

The self-imposed task of translating the Canon had several goals for me. One of them was quite practical: to improve my Dutch proficiency. But the most important motivation has been purely emotional: I'm an immigrant since 7 years ago, and I find it quite important to get to know the history, culture and language of the place where I live. Last but not least, perhaps my translations could help other members of the Spanish speaking world interested in knowing more about this tiny but beautiful country.

Said this, I leave here some technical notes:

Translation notes

  • I am not a professional translator. If I had to summarize my translation on a single sentence, it'db be: "I did it the best I could".
  • My translation my be biased, just as its author is, to European Spanish. I apologize beforehand to my readers from Latin America.
  • I tried to respect the most common Spanish form for historical figures, artwork and places. This way Karel de Grote becomes Carlomagno. El Bosco painted El jardín de las delicias, and not De tuin der lusten. Ámsterdam gets a tilde, and Róterdam too (and also loses a t). 's-Hertogenbosch becomes, for the sake of our Spanish speaking vocal chords, Bolduque.
  • Regarding the Holland (Holanda) versus Netherlands (Países Bajos) controversy, I've chosen for the latter. This way we avoid possible misunderstandings when talking about the provices of North and South Holland. I cannot confirm nor deny that the fact that I live in Noord Brabant had something to do with my decision.
  • The most challenging aspect of this translation was the huge difference between the Spanish and Dutch syntaxes. I've tried to keep the original structure of most sentences, as long as it didn't sound too unnatural. A number of sentences required an almost complete restructuring, and often a creative reinterpretation. My apologies if any of those went a bit too far.

Suggestions are welcome. Please contact me at pablo.rodriguez.sanchez@gmail.com.

The project is also hosted in GitHub. This is the repository link.