While professors may not assign a foreign language book, you may decide on your own to write an essay on a book that is not written or translated in the English language. This seems like a difficult undertaking, but it can be quite rewarding to write something new that has never been read by an English speaker before.
But how can you write about something you can’t understand? Here are some methods we recommend when you decide to write about a non-English book essay.
- Find someone who has already read the book.
Luckily for you, there are many ways to find people who’ve read foreign books and can tell you about its contents. The easiest places to find these people are on language exchange Facebook groups, foreign language chat groups, and applications, or Reddit and StackExchange forums. Also, you can try GoodReads, if the book is featured there.
The only downside to this method is that since it’s free, it may be difficult to get the entire story of the book in a short amount of time. But if you just need the bare-bones account of the book, it is your most affordable option.
To make the most out of this method, engage in conversation about the book daily so you can get as much information as possible. Remember to start writing even if you don’t have all the information you need so you can save time.
- Use online translation applications if you have a digital copy of the book.
This can be quite tedious, but it is your only choice. Learning a language can take years, especially if you are in school. Translation is the next best thing if you already have the book. Rather than copying the entire text, you should do so in paragraphs. This way, translation apps can read the language in a simple algorithm. If you place the entire book text in a translation app, it may not work. Or worse, the translation could be far from what it should be.
Here’s a trick you can use when translating a book using apps so you can save time. Focus on the introduction, foreword, and prologue. In these sections, you will find summaries of the book, the goals of the author, and the history of how the book was written.
- Try to find in-depth reviews of the book.
In many cases, readers who can read the book and speak in English may have written some reviews of the book in English. Reviews sometimes have the plot or summary of the book and the reviewer’s reaction. By compiling many reviews, you can create a more complete picture of the book through the words of its previous readers.
Do not write about the reviewer’s take on the book. Collect the facts they mentioned and organize them so that you have a better look at the book as a whole. When you look closely, you can see that these reviews sometimes include the beginning, climax, and end of the book, which is usually labelled as a spoiler. You can also contact the ones who reviewed the book and ask for more information if necessary. Remember, the more reviews you find, the more details you can get.
- If all else fails, get the book translated.
This is probably the easiest way to read the book and write an essay about it. While you do have to spend money, the benefits outweigh the cost. The time you spend learning a language, finding out about the book from others, and translating it yourself is not worth it if you need to write the essay within the semester.
Translation companies vary so you should find one that specializes in long-form text like books. You can also get the most out of your payment if you work with professionals instead of freelancers. The benefits of working with a company is that they are used to this and they have streamlined their process for affordability.
That’s why you should look for the best translation companies who can help translate your book into English. Translation for personal use is all right. You can’t sell the English translation due to licensing, but the value of the book you have will last for decades.