I often like to listen to languages I sort of know and/or am learning as background noise. Youtube is great for this because they have whole audiobooks in dozens of different languages.
Anyhoo, I decided to listen to this Italian versionItalian version of Agatha Christie’s “And then there were none” (Dieci piccoli Indiani). Imagine my surprise when I realized they were using an earlier version of the work with the original geographic names. I’m listening along and suddenly there’s “Nigger Island” (untranslated) popping out of the stream of Italian. In later versions it was renamed “Indian Island” or “Soldiers Island” in English but here they keep repeating “Nigger Island” about 80,000 times.
To be clear I’m not complaining or saying that’s wrong, it’s extraordinarily ethnocentric and xenophobic to expect the rest of the world to keep up with and follow English speaking neuroses and changing taboos. It’s just… different and a rather odd translating choice. Quick checking showed that Spanish versions use “Isla del Negro” (Island of the Black Man?) and a German version I could find used Soldatensinsel (Soldiers Island) so it’s weird to use Indiani ‘Indians’ in the title of the book but then not translating the place name at all.
Also, IINM in the UK of the time the novel was written ‘nigger’ was used more to refer to those from South Asia rather than Sub Saharan Africa.