If you have been following me for a while now, you would know that I am Dutch. English is not my native English. I learned English at school and through watching too much television and reading books. But one moment I decided to read English books instead of Dutch books. In this blog post I will talk about the 6 reasons why I don’t read in my native language.
Reasons why I don’t read in my native language
1. Translation takes time
It takes time to translate a book and when a book or a book series is popular, you don’t want to wait for too long. You just want to read it. But sometimes it can take months or even years before they translate a book. When I see a book on social media that I like I just want to buy and read it immediately. I don’t want to wait for months. And not every single book will be translated.
2. More books
I live in a country of 17 million people, so you can imagine that there are writers but not as many as in other countries. So we have options but not many. And not every single book is going to be translated, that is impossible I think. So they only translate the popular books from popular authors, the ones that would sell a lot of copies. But since they don’t translate every single book, that means that many great books won’t be translated. So there are less options here in the Netherlands, especially in the Young adult/New adult/romance section in my opinion.
I am a big of that genre and there are tons of Young/New Adult books in English. Recently I made a list of books I want to buy or read very soon. And most of those books won’t be translated. I like to have options, so that is also another reason why I read in English.
3. Great way to improve your English
Okay, if you already speak English, this is not a big deal. But it is to me. In high school, I was really bad at English. Most of the time they couldn’t find a teacher to teach us English. So after High school, I decided to improve my English. I watched a lot of television with subtitles but I also started to read English books. At first, I constantly had to use Google Translate but now I can easily read English books.
So if you are also trying to improve your English, read books! That is the best tip I can give.
4. Books are cheaper
Okay, these days I mostly buy English e-books. I started to read e-books when the corona pandemic started because I thought that was the safer option and at this moment the bookstores are still closed (unless you make an appointment). Now I love to read e-books and they are also cheap. Most of the time e-books are cheaper than physical books but English (e)books are also a lot cheaper than the Dutch editions. A paperback in Dutch costs around 20 – 25 euros while a paperback and the average e-book prize for a Dutch book is between 10-15 euros. A big difference because in English I can buy e-books for just a few euros.
5. I prefer the original covers
Above you see a picture of two Dutch covers and honestly, I don’t like the covers. Yes, I am one of those people who like to buy pretty books. These covers are not very interesting and if I was in a bookstore I wouldn’t even look at them. I know that is terrible because it is all about the book itself and not the cover. But the English covers always look so pretty (well, most of the time) and somehow when I now look at books online I already know if I will like the book based on the cover. The book on the left looks like a fun summer holiday book, could be about anything right? But it is a thriller!! The right one is a romance novel. I have the feeling they (the English authors/publishers) put a lot more effort into the covers.
All though I have to admit, the Dutch covers are getting better and prettier.
6. The jokes are not getting lost in translation
My English is now good enough to understand certain jokes but most of the time the jokes are getting lost in translation. For example, when I watch a Netflix series or tv show and this person on tv says something, but the translation says something different. I understand that it is hard to translate jokes. Some of the English jokes wouldn’t make any sense in Dutch but that is also why I prefer to read English because I want to understand the joke as it was meant to be.
These were the 6 reasons why I don’t read in my native language. Do you read in another language as well? Let me know in the comments.
I speak English and Spanish, English being my native language. I had never really thought about these differences that you brought up because I still live in the USA, so i am primarily reading books in my native language. I do agree about jokes though. I dread anytime someone asks me to translate a joke from english to spanish or vice versa because THEY DON’T TRANSLATE!