Author of the 2.5 Million-Copy Bestseller FRINDLE
Q: Is Frindle available in languages other than English?
A: Yes. So far Frindle is available in Italian, Japanese, Korean, Spanish, Basque, Portuguese, and German. It will also be available soon in Thai and Polish. There is also a special version for Great Britain, with certain words changed to suit the original speakers of English.
The Italian edition was the first translated version of Frindle . Before I'd done much thinking about it, the Italian publisher chose a different word than frindle for Nick to invent, and therefore the Italian book has a different title. They used the word drilla . I think I know why. Frindle sounds like an English language word, or a Dutch word or a German word, but it does not sound like an Italian word. It has too many "hard" sounds. Drilla rolls spillingly off the tongue. It sounds more Italian.
When the Japanese version arrived, I looked at the Japanese characters on the cover, and since I don't read Japanese, I asked a friend who does what word they had chosen for Nick to invent. He pointed at the Japanese characters and said, "It says Frindle ." So the Japanese translator kept the same word spelled out with the special alphabet—different letter shapes that stand for the same sounds of the word frindle . And that got me thinking.
After all, when a translator translates a book, they are looking for the same words in a different language, right? So is drilla the translation of the word frindle ? Is Frindle an English word? If it was, then a translator could go to a dictionary and find it, right? So the answer is no, Frindle is not an English word or an Italian word or a Spanish word. It's a Nickish word. And the Italian translator didn't translate it. Instead, the translator had to make up a new word. And that's really not a translator's job. So the result of all this thinking is that I'd like to see the word and the title remain Frindle —or something close to it—in other translations that may come along.
To see covers of international editions of Frindle, click here