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Monday, September 13, 2010

Australianised American books

I don't know how I feel about this.
Okay so I've been noticing something lately, where American books have been Australianised for the aussie readers.

I approve of this, yes, I do. I imagine the idea is to help us keep our culture and not become Americanised, and start saying things like sidewalk, and talking about inches and feet when we work in metres and centimetres.

And some words are being 'find and replaced' to accommodate our spelling (favoUrite/favorite, mUm/mom) but I'm feeling a bit weird about it lately.

It's a good thought. I like that there's some effort, but there doesn't seem to be ENOUGH effort. Feet has been changed to metres but tank top hasn't been changed to singlet, thongs refer to underwear and nickels and dimes haven't been changed to five and ten cents.

It's a nice thought, to protect our culture and spelling, but in what I've been reading lately, it feels a little half-hearted. And because of this, I doubt it's working. The books are still about american kids. They go to middle school. They catch the big yellow school bus. They are cheerleaders and play on the varsity sports teams. They drive at the age of sixteen and call each other dude and ass hats and that college (university) application process they go through? Man. Teens are stressed about their VCE and HSC and International Baccelarate(sp?) in Australia but it's NOT like that here.

So I guess what I'm saying is, considering the culture in the book is still American, why Australianise some words, but not others? Like the language used in dialogue, Australian teens mimic what they see on American tv shows and read in books. The only thing we're doing by changing favorite to favourite is safe-guarding our spelling.

When books are clearly about American teens, readers will be able to tell. So lets let them be about American teens who have moms and talk about their favorite thing which is six feet tall. (I don't know what that would be mind you...)

If the book could be set anywhere, then I'm all for giving the Australian edition an Aussie flavour.
I hope to get that opportunity with my own books.

That's all I have. It's just something I've been thinking about.



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