Theory Of Nothing

or Just Theory

Belated Pottering

Since Theory Of Nothing has been rather slack in updating lately due to a run in with Microsoft Word’s official stand on footnotes (Codename: Tolerance Level 134), today’s update of belated news shall ironically and aptly be about the need for belatedness, especially in the internet world of instant updates.

Eager to share the 7th and last book of the Harry Potter series with the rest of the Francophones, a 16-year-old French boy magically translated all 759 pages of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows within days of its July 21 release and posted it online. The French teen translator was driven by the fact the official French translation would only be released on October 26 by the publishing house, Gallimard Jeunesse, since the official Harry Potter translator, Jean-Francois Menard, only received the official English version when it was released on July 21.

Author J.K. Rowling’s lawyers say networks of other illegal Potter translators span the world, seeking to profit from the boy wizard’s global appeal. However, the French teen translator, a high school student from Aix-en-Provence in southern France, likely had less sinister intentions. “He just wanted to get the book online” and did not appear to be seeking commercial gain, Aix Prosecutor Olivier Rothe said Wednesday. According to Rother, the boy had apparently compiled the entire translation himself.

Indeed, the French teen translator whose name has been withheld because he is a minor, comes across more as an ardent Harry Potter fan who just wanted to share the 7th and final book of the series with the rest of the Francophones before their fun was thwarted by English spoilers declaring the fate of Harry Potter everywhere. Other French teenagers echo his frustration with the long wait for the official translation. Ketty Do, a 17-year-old, flipping through the English version at a bookstore on the Champs-Elysees, delcared, “To wait three months to have a French version, that is too much!” Do called the teen translator “a courageous person” but added, laughing: “Still, I will wait for the official version, since this kid is only 16.” But 12-year-old Robin Gallaud, looking at video games in the bookstore, had no such reservations. “If I find the French version on the Net, I will read it,” he said.

Although the pirated translation site had since been shut down, the French teen translator still spent a night in jail and faced charges of violating intellectual property rights. It was only after worldwide sentiments appeared to be in sympathy with the boy following a maelstrom of negative publicity that the French publishing house, Gallimard Jeunesse – in consultation with JK Rowling – decided to drop charges.

In fact, many French readers already know how “Harry Potter et les reliques de la mort” – as it is titled here – ends. Le Parisien newspaper revealed it in an article it printed upside down.

So far, the remarkable Harry Potter phenomenon set off by the Harry Potter books can boast of having sold more than 325 million copies worldwide, translated into at least 64 languages and spun off into a hit movie series.

(Link, link)

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Thursday, 16 August 2007 - Posted by | Literature, News, Pop Culture

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