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  • EmAsPerUsual
    Re: Latibær Books Translated:

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    Chapter 12: Stinginess and Selfishness

    The richest man in town was the owner of the video rental store in Lazytown. The townspeople were basically always renting or buying videos so he’d become very wealthy. His son was named Nenni and he got nearly everything he wanted. If he wanted a toy then his dad*1 would buy it for him. All he had to do was lay on the floor and scream. He demanded this and that. He had an electric car*2, a plane*3 that could fly, soccer shoes, a basketball*4 and many things. But he never used any of this. He just wanted to own it. If he didn’t get the newest in everything, then he just laid face down, hit the pavement and screamed until his parents gave up and bought what he wanted.

    Kids who have everything often become selfish. And that was Nenni. Because of this, he went under the name of Nenni Penny-Pincher.*5 He never shared anything he had. It was the same no matter how much of it he had. Let alone give gifts!


    *1 Most languages aren’t quite as diverse as English in how parents are referred to. English has a difference between “mom and dad” and the more childish “mommy and daddy”. In Icelandic, “pabbi” can mean “dad” or “daddy”. In most contexts, I translate this as “dad”, which is more common, though when more childish characters say it, I’ll use “daddy” to match. The narrator says “dad” but Nenni himself, as a very immature kid, would say “daddy”.

    *2 This most likely means an electronic toy, not a real electric car, but it seems that Nenni/Stingy has always had a car!

    *3 The Icelandic word for plane literally means “flying machine” and I’m noting that because there’s something amusing to me in how direct that is. English words that had to be created as new things were invented were often named based on Greek and Latin words, while Icelandic just sort of calls things what they literally are. It actually makes more sense that way.

    *4 Okay, so we go from probably expensive electronic toys to “he had a specific type of shoe and a ball!”. That is not in any way impressive.

    *5 I decided to use this as Nenni’s nickname in an earlier chapter, but it’s a bit confusing because Nenni is selfish in multiple ways. He demands a lot, doesn’t share what he has, and he puts a lot of value on money. We have selfish as in “greedy”, selfish as in “stingy”, and selfish as in “cheap”, so it’s actually hard to nickname him while still using a rhyme or alliteration. The nickname I ended up with refers to the third definition only, so I’m willing to take suggestions for a better one, but as of right now, we’re kinda stuck here.
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    The good book*1 says: If you have two of something then you should share it with others. -But Nenni Penny-Pincher knew nothing about that.

    The Sports Elf was standing at a bus stop*2 right in front of Nenni’s house. He sat down to stretch out and rest for a little bit. The shelter there was naturally not used much because the townspeople didn’t bother to use the buses.*3 When he’d just gotten comfortable, he heard a scream from the steps of Nenni’s house:

    “Get out of the bus stop! Get out of the bus stop!”

    He looked out from the shelter and saw Nenni Penny-Pincher shouting and red in the face from the steps of his house.

    “Go away! That’s my shelter! That shelter’s mine!*4 You must leave the bus stop!”

    The Sports Elf was astonished. Who could own a bus stop? They’re public property. That’s why we must treat them well. We must never draw on or crack the walls. That’s ugly.*5

    “Who on Earth stands on the steps for their home and screams that he owns a shelter?” the elf thought to himself.

    He looked at the house to see who was there. There was Nenni coming across the yard. He walked across the pavement and screamed:

    “You must leave the bus stop! That bus stop is mine! This garden*6 is mine! This street is mine! This is my street!”

    He carried on just like that until he came to the shelter. When he saw that there was an elf sitting there, he asked in astonishment:

    “Who are you, exactly?”

    “I’m a sports elf” said the elf “And I came to get you to compete in the sports festival.”

    “I never compete with other people. If I compete in a sporting event then it’s my event, my competition, and I win!*7” said Nenni Penny-Pincher. “And you must get away from this shelter! This shelter is not to be used! It’s mine!”

    He threw himself on the ground.

    The Sports Elf couldn’t help but smile and said:

    “Do you know that the worst thing a person can be is to be selfish? It would do you good to come and exercise with me in two days. I live on the hill just outside of town. I want you to please come over.”

    “Do you mean the hill above the town?” asked Nenni from where he laid on the ground.

    “Yes, that’s right.”

    “Yeah, but you know that I own that hill.” said Nenni.

    “Nuh-uh*8, you don’t own that hill.” said the elf, laughing. “I live on this hill. I want you to come over there to workout sometime this week. It will do you good to come to such a workout because then you will learn to work well with people. Sports are based on learning to be around other people, to include others, work together as one whole and reap the benefits after. Sometimes you lose and sometimes you win.”


    *1 Since this book is completely secular outside of this one biblical reference, it feels weird for religion to just be dropped into this. This book thinks that Nenni needs more Jesus and I don’t know what to say to that. I’ve got no problem with religious kids’ stuff as long as it’s not used to preach about sinners and Hell. But, this isn’t a religious thing. At least, it shouldn’t be.

    *2 The phrase here literally translates to “bus shelter” referring to the shelter at outdoor bus stops where people tend to crowd if they have to wait for the bus in the rain. I’ve decided to just say bus stop when the whole word for “bus shelter” is used, but to translate “shelter” by itself as “shelter”.

    *3 It doesn’t take a lot of effort to ride a bus. It actually requires less work than driving a car. Unless the bus drivers are too lazy to work, I don’t see why they wouldn’t take buses when they could.

    *4 Nenni’s catchphrase is “ég á X” meaning “I have” or “I own”. “I own X” can often sound odd in English, so I threw in a few “X is mine!” lines, because why not? The subtitles made for the plays do this as well, though in Áfram, it’s actually a bit confusing, since the various “mines” in Áfram’s Mine Song (Just called Nenni Níski) are both about things that he owns in the location he’s in and things he owns in general. So, switching “I own this street.” with “This street’s mine” makes sense, but “I have a fat elephant” got swapped with “that fat elephant is mine.”, which doesn’t make sense in context. So, I used “mine” where it fit and didn’t where it didn’t.

    *5 This has been a Random Moral. There was no reason to talk about this at this time, so now the narrator is just finding extra things to lecture about.

    *6 As is often the case in the UK, what an American would normally call a yard is called a garden here, but, like with football/soccer before, I’m leaving it this way, because it’s easy to figure out what was meant.

    *7 The Selfishness Character has both the Sharing Moral and the Good Winner/Loser Moral for some reason. He’s also competitive or incapable of accepting loss. Nenni seemed to be intended as a collection of flaws within the same vague category. If this hadn’t been done, there could’ve been a character in the second book whose flaw was a “winning is everything” mindset, which would’ve worked better than a lot of what the second book actually did. It would’ve been better than having a second “stealing is bad” message. I’ll get into that more when we get to the second book.

    *8 “Nehei” is “nei” or “no” but said while laughing. Nuh-uh is sillier than a simple “no”, so that’s why I used it.
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    Nenni Penny-Pincher said he didn’t want to reap those benefits with others. He just wanted to reap them and get all the prizes himself.

    The Sports Elf took out his notebook, wrote a date on a page, gave it to Nenni and said:

    “Come to exercise at eight o’clock*1 on Friday. You may have this paper!*2”

    He took off before Nenni Penny-Pincher could read what was on the paper.*3

    And so the day went. The Sports Elf rushed from house to house and gave different advice*4 and had written through nearly all the pages in his notebook before the day was over.

    The last house that he came to was the Mayor’s house. He was very worried that there were now only five days until the sports festival. No one had announced their participation and he hadn’t even had any help. He knew nothing of the little bit of help that was going to fix everything in the gym.*5 It hadn’t been used in so long. The Sports Elf knocked at the Mayor’s door. He was startled and quick to open the door. It wasn’t very often that guests came to his house.

    “Good evening.” said the Sports Elf.

    The Mayor stirred up his courage*6 and asked:

    “How are you? How did it go?”

    “It’s gone very well.” the elf answered. “I’ve gone to every single house in town. I intend to come back in a week and see how it’s gone. I also intend to get all the kids to exercise with me up on my hill and go over what they’re supposed to do.”

    While they were chatting about this, the Mayor made rice porridge and then they both ate the porridge with a big appetite, as it had been a very difficult day- but maybe the best ever for Lazytown.


    *1 AM or PM? If we’re on a 24 hour clock, that would mean AM, but either way, that’s a bad time. You’re either dragging people to a workout at a time before a grade school would normally start, possibly depriving these kids of needed sleep, or this is happening around what’s supposed to be bedtime. Why was this time chosen?

    *2 Nenni, having been bribed with yet another thing that he could own, decided to go along with this. Considering how he doesn’t really learn anything from his chapter, that’s the only way this would make sense.

    *3 Like I said in *2, while the other five chapters ended with the kids thinking about changing their ways, Nenni never said anything to imply that anything the Sports Elf said had convinced him of anything. He’ll magically lose his flaw like everyone else, but it’ll somehow make even less sense. The play does this too, so this was never fixed. How did Nenni actually learn to be less selfish? He just ignored everything he’d been told. Both the book and play (meaning the play of Áfram, as GGIL rewrote the characters) characterize him as a very young, or at least very immature child, making it hard to say if he even understood it.

    *4 Here’s another preview for the second book. Most of the new kids introduced in the second book are said to be from out of town, but a few of them, such as Eyrún’s male counterpart, are treated as if they’ve always been there. For some reason, The Sports Elf either didn’t give them advice or they ignored it, only to stop ignoring it when it was later repeated.

    *5 The word for “gym” is “Íþróttahús” literally meaning “Sports House”.

    *6 Please remember that elves are powerful supernatural being who can cause serious problems for people who piss them off. The Mayor made a sort of deal with one, which is naturally a little bit scary.

    The next chapter will be as bad as Goggi’s chapter with translating instructions.

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  • EmAsPerUsual
    Re: Latibær Books Translated:

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    Chapter 11: Game or Violence

    The Sports Elf raced across the pavement. When he passed the butcher’s trashcans*1, he heard a scream, a scream of agony. He instantly stopped. This outcry was like someone whose hair was being pulled.*2 Most people know that it’s bad to have their hair pulled. He jumped over the trashcans. And who do you think was on the other side of the cans? It was none other than Halli Holligan and he was pulling the hair of a little girl.*3

    When Halli saw the elf with the beard he stopped dead in his tracks. He released the girl and she ran away crying. Halli Hooligan held a slingshot in his other hand. The elf didn’t hesitate to walk up to him. Halli saw that. He reached into his pocket with his other hand*4, grabbed a bean, placed it in the slingshot and shot at the Sports Elf with lightning speed. But his reflexes were so quick that he grabbed the bean with his other hand*5 and put it straight in his pocket. Halli Hooligan stared in shock at this. No one had even been able to grab a bean that was shot from a slingshot.

    I told you that no one in Lazytown except the mayor bothered to move around. But that was not completely true because I forgot someone. But when this fellow moves around he always does something illegal.*6 Do you know who that is? Yes, you’re right!*7 He was called Halli Hooligan. He never did anything but tease, bully*8, steal or beat up other kids.*9 He was accustomed to pulling kids’ hair, stealing their hats and running away with them.


    *1 The word for trashcan used here isn’t the normal one. It can also refer to ashtrays. There are such things as trashcans with trash bags full of ashes from a fire that was kept burning for a long time. Perhaps the butcher was roasting or smoking meat for a long period of time and most of his trash is ashes from cooking over a fire.

    *2 That is incredibly specific. Can elves just identify specific types of pain based on screams or something?

    *3 A nameless little girl. We never find out who she is. The play replaced this with having Halla shoot at Solla, a character we’d already met. The book could’ve easily done the same thing, but as usual, even basic writing and storytelling techniques completely elude this thing.

    *4 The constant use of “other hand” is poorly worded.

    *5 The use of “other hand” here doesn’t even make sense. At least with Halli, he went from a little girl’s hair in one hand and a slingshot in the other to a slingshot in one hand and a bean in the other. What did the elf have in one hand that required him using the other?

    *6 “af sér” is literally “of himself”, but according to every source I can find, that means illegal. Halli is literally a juvenile delinquent, apparently.

    *7 That was condescending…

    *8 “hrekkja” is actually a synonym for “stríða”, the word used prior, though “hrekkja” can also mean “prank”, but I’ve been translating “hrekkja” as bully up until now, so I’m leaving it to be consistent, especially since “hrekkjusvín” translates as “bully”.

    *9 This was literally something like “use violence on other kids”, but that is really awkward wording in English. It’s the way someone speaking to a very young child would scold them for being rough. Maybe this doesn’t sound as condescending in Icelandic, but this book already has a serious issue with talking down to its audience, so I don’t know. Either way, I changed it to sound like something someone would say when they weren’t trying to talk down to someone.

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    The other kids couldn’t run after him. He was also had a habit of stealing bicycles.*1 He’d gathered many bicycles behind his house.*2

    Every day, he walked around the town and stole bikes or he sat for hours out on the balcony and shot beans from his slingshot.*3

    Yes, Halli Hooligan was always breaking things or hurting people. If someone tried to talk to him, he’d shoot a bean straight at his thigh or eye.*4 So, he was wasn’t appreciated very much by the residents of Lazytown. He wasn’t a model child that any parent would want to have.*5

    When the Sports Elf came jumping over each trashcan*6 one after another toward Halli, he started to get worried. He was so scared that he threw his slingshot and intended to run instead. Of course, he didn’t know that this elf had a world record in running!*7 So, he caught him in three seconds.

    Do you know how long three seconds is?*8 Test it by saying: “One thousand and one, one thousand and two, one thousand and three.” When you’re finished, then three seconds have passed!*9

    The Sports Elf grabbed Halli by the shoulders, lifted him up so that he was almost thrashing in the air and asked:

    “Why were you pulling that girl over there’s hair?”

    “Oh, I was only teasing her.”

    “Don’t you know that it’s wrong to tease kids? asked the Sports Elf.

    “I don’t care at all about that.” said Halli Hooligan. “I also like kicking kids.”

    “Yes, you think it’s fun to kick and tease people? Now I’ll tell you a little something and I want you to listen well.”

    The Sports Elf held Halli in one hand, lifted a trashcan lid with the other and set him down in the trashcan!*10 He didn’t get out of the can and therefore remained in it. Next, the elf asked:

    “Do you know the difference between a game and violence?”

    “Do I know the difference between violence and a game? Yes, of course.” answered Halli, his words echoing from the can.

    “Then can you tell me what a game is?”

    Halli thought about it and said:

    “What’s a game! Yeah, everything that’s fun. I, for example, think it’s fun to kick kids.”

    “Can you tell me what violence is?” ask the elf, who was now taking a more serious tone.*11

    He of course knew like we all do that Halli didn’t know the difference between a game and violence.*12 Halli thought about it for a long time.


    *1 But none of the kids in town ride bicycles anyway. He’s just stealing stuff that no one else wants. Isn’t that like “stealing” food that someone else threw away?

    *2 I wonder if his parents ever question this strange bicycle collection in their backyard. Maybe they’re too lazy. Potential Bully Motivation 1: Maybe Halli acts out for attention because his lazy parents ignore him.

    *3 Potential Bully Motivation 2: Maybe Halli, being the only kid in town interested in active play, is constantly bored and tries to get the other kids to be more active by making them. If he chases them, then they have to run. He might be like if the Sports Elf had no emotional restraint along with his lack of empathy.

    *4 The fact that thigh and eye are treated as equally bad places to be hit makes me suspect that “thigh” might actually be a euphemism for “balls”.

    *5 Potential Bully Motivation 3: Maybe Halli’s in a vicious cycle of feeling unloved and lashing out in anger, only for that to make him even less popular, and thus the cycle repeats. What I’m getting at with these Potential Bully Motivation notes is that, out of all social problems to teach kids about, bullying, though extremely common, is one of the more difficult ones to explain. Bullies are as diverse as their victims and can have a wide variety of reasons for being bullies. No two bully problems can really be solved the same way, because of how important context is. This is a similar problem to Maggi’s chapter and the subject of picky eating, but this time, there is an attempt at finding context for Halli’s behavior. However, the context given is a little abnormal.

    *6 And now we’re back to the regular word for “trashcan” because continuity is for lazy people.

    *7 I MIGHT DIE FOR THIS ONE: Add another thing to the list of “things the Sports Elf is the literal best at.” In this case, it raises a lot of questions. Is this a world record among elves or one given to him by humans? If it’s a human record, giving it to an elf, who has supernatural abilities, isn’t at all fair. Did the judges know he was an elf? Did the Sports Elf compete for a world record in running against humans that he knew he could easily beat, lying about having an advantage and setting a record that might be literally impossible for a human to beat? Why? What’s the point? This note is way too damn long, but here’s something I want you to think about: The Sports Elf is a star athlete who decides to dedicate a lot of time to helping children be more active, but in such a way that he’ll be hero-worshipped and given lots of attention from both showing off in athletics and being a hero to children. His heroics and care for children are written as genuine, but they seem a bit fake from a distance.

    *8 About three seconds, I think.

    *9 It took more than three seconds to read that and it felt like an unnecessary pause in an action scene.

    *10 Okay, we all know the scene in Áfram where Halla gets put in the trashcan, but it’s actually toned down from the book. In the play, Halla and the elf circle around the trashcan, tugging on the lid and the elf pulls her in, basically beating her in a fight. In the book, Halli had already lost the fight and he was very deliberately placed in the trashcan. Putting Halli in the trashcan was planned out, while Halla was almost accidentally knocked in in the heat of battle.

    *11 As if he wasn’t taking a serious tone before this…

    *12 INCOMING TANGENT: Okay, this is the point where I follow up on *5 and Halli’s motivation for bullying. A kid older than preschool age is unlikely to simply not know when they’re being violent. Halli even said that he knew it was wrong to tease, but he didn’t care. He knows that pulling hair and kicking is being violent, but it’s a game to him. It’s a game AND violence. This explanation for bullying was probably chosen because it was the easiest to solve with a simple lecture. If a kid just doesn’t know when he’s being too rough, the solution is just to tell him. There’s no need to factor in personal stuff like problems at home or if he might be being bullied somewhere else. Both Maggi and Halli’s chapters take a complicated problem and assume the least complicated and least likely explanation for the behavior, because the book’s gotten in over its head. In this case, because a younger kid could actually learn something positive from this chapter, it’s not even a serious problem. Though, I’d still like to brag that I came up with three more realistic explanations for Halli’s bullying off the top of my head while translating this. This translation project is just a clash of egos between me and the author at this point.

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    “Uhhh…violence! What’s that?”

    He couldn’t answer.*1

    Then the Sports Elf sat up on one trashcan, took off his hat*2, wiped the sweat from his forehead and said:

    “Halli, my boy, see here now. If you pull the hair of someone who doesn’t want it then that’s violence. If you kick someone who doesn’t want to be kicked then that’s violence. If you shoot your slingshot in the eye, thigh or in the direction of anyone whether they’re human or animal, then that’s violence. If you, on the other hand, ask for permission…”

    “Ask for permission??? What do you mean?” shouted Halli Hooligan, the question muffled by the can. “Do you mean that I should ask for permission to pull a kid’s hair?”

    “Exactly.” said the elf. “If you ask: “May I pull your hair?” and it’s agreed to then that would be a game. If the answer is negative it’s violence. If you say to someone: “Want to fight?” and he agrees then it’s only a game. But if you attack someone who’s not at all cool with it*3 then it’s violence. You must never-listen to me-you must never beat someone up.*4

    Halli Hooligan felt bad. He’d never asked for permission when he kicked kids or shot his slingshot at people.

    “But no one wants to fight or have their hair pulled.” he said after some consideration.

    “That’s just it.” said the elf. “Of course no one wants their hair pulled. Who likes that? Nobody. That’s no surprise. No one wants a snowball straight to the face. If kids have a snowball fight then everyone should agree that it’s a game. But they must never aim for the head and absolutely mustn’t throw hardballs. If we use snowballs with rocks in them and try to hit people’s faces then it’s violence. It should be very clear to you now. You don’t want to beat kids up, do you?”

    The Sports Elf got up off of the can.

    “No.” said Halli sadly. “Of course I don’t want that. I just have no friends. No one wants to play with me.”

    “That’s no surprise to me.” said the elf, putting on his hat. “Would you want to play with me if I was always pulling your hair?*5 Or if I was endlessly stealing from you?”

    “No, maybe not.” answered Halli.


    *1 *insert redundant remark regarding redundancy here.*

    *2 The illustration still has his hat on because it feels like it just naturally belongs on his head.

    *3 The words used here mean something like “doesn’t at all fly”, so I used what sounded like a similar English phrasing, though it’s odd for an elf to use slang like that.

    *4 THIS NOTE CONTAINS AN ANECDOTE: I’d like to point out that, though I actually like the way the lesson about violence is handled, even if it’s not good as a lesson about bullying, the play managed to do it better by phrasing it in simpler terms. However, this note is actually to give credit where credit is due, which is a rare thing for this book. This applies equally to the stage adaptation, though. Most lessons about violence that are taught to children just amount to “don’t ever be violent!” and leave it at that. This lecture acknowledges that violence as part of a game can exist, but only if everyone involved agrees to it. This is actually how I would’ve defined the difference between a rough game and violence when I was around ten and liked to fight with other kids on the playground. We actually had rules that to have a fight, you had to challenge someone and that challenge had to be accepted. This also included a rule that the game could be stopped at anytime, so if someone surrendered in a fight, the fight was over. If someone tried to start a fight without challenging or asking, if someone tried to fight someone who’d refused a challenge, or if someone kept attacking someone who’d surrendered or said that they didn’t want to play anymore, someone would report them as a bully. I have no idea how a group of 4th-5th graders just figured out all these rules on their own, but the fact that they did means that this is a pretty simple message that even this book can’t completely screw up.

    *5 The Sports Elf using himself here is kind of a bad example, seeing that Halli has a reason to already see him as violent and not fun to play with. If you toss someone into a trashcan when they don’t want to be tossed into the trashcan, then that’s violence. This applies to the play as well. TLDR: This line is a bit stupid.

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    “You know that it’s bad to steal. Nobody should do that. Some people have maybe been saving for a long time for a bicycle.*1 Maybe they’ve worked in the countryside all summer*2 and saved their earnings and put them in their piggybank.*3 They never buy candy and they eventually have enough to buy their bike.*4 Then you show up all of a sudden and steal the bike. You’re going to stop doing that. Aren’t you?”

    The Sports Elf lifted Halli up to look him in the eye. Halli Hooligan had a hard time looking the elf in the eye.*5 He looked to the side, up in the air and down at the earth. When the elf finally released him, he looked up and said:

    “I’m never going to steal again, I promise.”

    “You will return all the bikes today immediately. said the elf. Halli agreed. Then he gave the Sports Elf the slingshot and said:

    “Take this weapon.*6 I don’t need to have it.”

    The Sports Elf was satisfied but then said to him.

    “And remember now to play with the kids instead of teasing them. Then you’ll make many friends. Maybe you could go to see Goggi.*7”

    “Goggi! Do you mean Goggi who sits inside all day and watches TV?” asked Halli surprised.

    “Yes, I taught him many games that you can maybe try with him. You would have fun.”

    “Yeah, maybe I’ll do that.”

    The elf said goodbye to him with a handshake and said he intended to visit in two days.

    “You know that a sports festival will be held here in Lazytown soon and you will without a doubt have a lot of fun taking part in it. There you could get an outlet for your energy by competing in sports instead of shooting and hurting people.*8 I know that you’re very good at snowball fights and so it would be ideal to compete in shot put or javelin throwing.*9”

    Halli saw that this was a good idea and said goodbye to the Sports Elf happily. The elf watched him proudly but he needed to hurry to the next destination. It was getting close to the sports festival and he had no time to lose.*10


    *1 But why would anyone in Lazytown do that? Nobody in the town rides a bicycle. The book stated this specifically! For a book that’s so redundant, it somehow can’t remember it’s continuity!

    *2 Even a kid who isn’t from Lazytown would be unlikely to leave town for a summer job.

    *3 The Icelandic word for piggybank is literally “saving bank”, but those are strongly associated with pig-shaped banks in English, so it’s a piggybank, no matter what shape it is.

    *4 Working hard and not eating candy to afford sporting equipment wouldn’t happen in Lazytown at this point. Halli probably would’ve never heard of someone doing such a thing. It’s still odd that bicycles are the things that he steals, since nobody uses theirs and wouldn’t want them anyway. Couldn’t Halli have been stealing lunch boxes or pocket change or toys that a kid in this town would actually have on their person?

    *5 I’m not even morally objecting to this. I’m just pointing out that this is the book’s version of Goggi’s television being possessed: unnecessarily creepy.

    *6 The Icelandic word for “slingshot” is a compound word like the English one is, but it’s a different combination, literally meaning “elastic gun”. It sounded weird to have Halli straight-up call a slingshot a gun, when he only used the second half of the word, so I used “weapon” instead, which sounds slightly less weird. I could’ve just used slingshot, but after *5, I’ll just say that Halli’s acting weird from being creeped out.

    *7 Thinking about it, Goggi is actually a good choice to be Halli’s friend. Since he never goes outside, he might not be aware of Halli’s reputation as a bully, and he’d probably be fine with it if Halli wanted to play-fight, since it would be a chance to try out some Mortal Kombat moves irl.

    *8 The most realistic explanation of Halli’s behavior is that, as the only kid who’s both willing and able to be active, we was just bored, so sports would actually solve the problem. We’ve found a problem that sports can actually solve!

    *9 I won’t repeat my “how does the Sports Elf know this shit?” complaint, even if this is probably something the Mayor wouldn’t have told him. However, there was a way to get around this problem: The sports festival could have an archery contest. Summer camps teach archery and it’s an official Olympic sport, so I don’t see why not. The Sports Elf couldn’t have seen Halli in a snowball fight, but he would’ve seen him use is slingshot, which is shot similar to a tiny bow and arrow. As long as he shot at targets instead of people, Halli could get good at that. It would be an even more obvious outlet for his violent streak.

    *10 I translated the last line somewhat loosely. It was closer to “mustn’t waste time” but “no time to lose” sounds more urgent and doesn’t imply that paying attention to one of the children is a waste of time.

    Leave a comment:

  • EmAsPerUsual
    Re: Latibær Books Translated:

    I know why talking to the sun happens in the book, but it still feels odd here.

    Leave a comment:

  • lalalei2001
    Re: Latibær Books Translated:

    The reason he's talking to the sun, I think, is because she's sort of a guardian spirit of LazyTown that doesn't really do anything.

    Leave a comment:

  • EmAsPerUsual
    Re: Latibær Books Translated:

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    Chapter 10: Solla Stiff*1

    The elf was becoming a bit thirsty after all this running. When you exert yourself, you should always drink water. In the town square, where the town meeting had been held, was a big well.*2 He went there to drink.

    “Water is the best thing for the body.” he said to himself*3 and took a big sip.

    When he was done drinking and catching his breath he looked to the sky. He said to the sun who was still hiding behind the clouds:

    “Well, best to continue because there’s a lot of work to do. There are only five days until the sports festival and if the townspeople need to take part in the festival being held, I must hurry.”*4

    When he was about to rush off he heard what sounded like sobbing or whimpering*5 from near the town square. He checked around the corner of the house*6 and saw that there was a girl crying. He walked up to her and asked:

    “Why are you crying in broad daylight? Have you lost your parents?”

    The girl continued to sob and turned away.

    “Tell me why you’re crying. It must be something. Has someone been teasing you or bullying you?”

    “No, it’s not that.” she said.

    She hid her face in her hands and sobbed even louder. The elf tried to console her. She stopped crying and looked at the elf who was beginning to look worried.

    “What’s it to you?” she asked, rubbing her eyes. Then she bowed her head sadly and walked away sniffling.

    The Sports Elf tugged at his beard and thought:

    “Hmm, something’s up.”*7

    He saw that her shoelaces were loose and swung in all directions with every step. Because of this, she was losing her shoes with every footstep.


    *1 That’s just a literal translation of Solla Stirða.

    *2 This word can mean well or fountain. In general, it’s a place to drink water from.

    *3 He talks to himself just to repeat what the narrator just said which he also said at least twice in the previous chapter…This is beyond ridiculous.

    *4 Why is he just randomly speaking to the sun? He might as well just be talking to himself again.

    *5 Both of the words used here mean the exact same thing, so I don’t know why both were used, outside of this book having some sort of fetish for redundancy.

    *6 All of a sudden, a specific house is referenced with a poorly-placed definite article. I’m starting to wonder if nobody proofread this.

    *7 This literally translates to “Something is now”, and I guessed that “Something’s up” would be the closest English equivalent.
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    This was strange. He continued quickly after the girl, put an arm around her shoulders*1 and asked:

    “What’s your name?”

    “Me, my name is Solla.” she answered. “I’m called Solla Stiff.”

    “Solla Stiff!” said the Sports Elf surprised. “Why on Earth are you called that?”

    “Do you maybe think I’m called Solla Stiff because I’m so flexible? Have you lost your mind?” she answered with a voiced cracked from crying. “That’s why I’m crying now.” she continued.

    “Because I’m crazy?” asked the elf surprised.*2

    “No, no, because I’m so stiff. I can’t even tie my shoes. I can’t bend down. I can’t reach down to my shoes.*3”

    “That’s sad.*4” said the Sports Elf. “Have you never exercised? What about stretches?”

    “No, I don’t know any stretches.” said Solla, turning around and intending to walk away.

    Then the Sports Elf said: “Wait, I can teach you many exercises, so that you can become more flexible.”

    “You teach me stretches! You’re so old and bearded. I don’t think you know any stretches.”

    Solla didn’t know that he did regular exercises every evening of his life. He was the most flexible in all the world.*5

    “Yeah, and isn’t it too late? I’m turning twelve years old.*6” asked Solla.

    “No, no, it’s never too late.” said the Sports Elf. “I’ll show you some exercises that you can do.”

    “Are you saying that,”*7 said Solla, “by doing these exercises I can maybe bend all the way down to my shoelaces?”

    “Yes, yes, you’ll be able to do that easily and much more.”

    “I’ve never heard of that sort of thing.*8” said Solla Stiff.

    “See here now.” said the elf. “In order to become more flexible you need to do these exercises for around five to ten minutes every day.”


    *1 Personal space is another human custom that elves appear to know nothing about.

    *2 I can’t tell if he’s supposed to be genuinely confused or teasing. It’s implied to be genuine, which would make sense for Sportacus in the show, but The Sports Elf of the books knows everything and can do everything, so it feels weird here.

    *3 I’d like to think that the redundancy here is because Solla is slowly spelling it out for this old man who’s clearly very stupid, from what she can tell. However, it’s probably just the book being redundant again.

    *4 This literally translates to “That’s ugly to hear”, with “ugly” clearly meaning “sad”, but I cut out the “to hear” because it sounds better in English without it.

    *5 Start making a list of things The Sports Elf is the best at in all of the world. It’ll be a long list with several claims that the story can’t back up. Sports Elf = Blatant Mary Sue Self-Insert until other writers got involved.

    *6 Yes, though Stephanie is only eight, Solla is twelve. In general, I think the Latibær kids are a few years older than the Lazytown kids, though GGiL’s Siggi feels around the same age as Ziggy in the show. This matches the original books and plays possibly being intended for slightly older children than the show’s target audience. When the audience is four, the characters are eight, and when the audience is eight, the characters are twelve.

    *7 Here’s another sentence that didn’t need to be broken up like that. Even if it’s not incorrect, some of these grammatical choices are bizarre.

    *8 The line here literally translated to “I’ve never heard of this.”, which doesn’t sound quite right in English, so, just like the removal of words in *4, I added words to make it sound more natural.
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    “You must have something smooth under you. Either a mattress, a blanket, a pillow, carpet or grass like there is there.”

    The elf pointed out a patch of grass between the houses.

    “Start by sitting in the grass and stretching your arms*1 forward. Then stretch your arms further and further forward. Make sure that your back is straight! Bit by bit move your fingers towards your shoes. Stay in this position for about two minutes and then go slowly back. Repeat this three or four times and always try to reach further and further each time.

    Here’s another exercise. You lay on your back, leave one leg*2 lying down but stretch the other straight up in the air. Next, you move your hands up towards your foot.*3 Stretch your leg slowly.


    *1 The word for “hands” is used instead of arms, but the arms are what’s being stretched, so it seemed like a better fit.

    *2 Just like above with hands and arms, here it referred to feet, but I said legs instead.

    *3 This one’s still pretty confusing, so if you actually want to learn this for whatever reason, just copy the picture.
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    “You can also try sitting with a long distance between your feet and stretching to each side.”

    He continued to talk and show her exercises. At first, Solla was extremely tired. As soon as she sat down and had to keep her back straight, she found it to be horribly painful. The Sports Elf explained to her that the exercises would get gradually easier.

    “Just remember to exercise slowly and hold each stretch for 30-40 seconds.”

    He wrote the exercises on a paper, one after another. He showed Solla how to do a split*1, and how to*2 stand on one foot and hold the other. He could do it all easily.


    *1 “Fara í splitt” literally means “go in split” the “og spíkat” part simply wouldn’t translate, but it’s most likely just a longer form of “fara í splitt”.

    *2 This sentence is written as listing three separate actions: Doing a split, standing on one foot, and holding the other foot, but the last two are part of the same action, so I wrote the sentence as two separate actions instead.
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    He said that one day, she could do some of these exercises, but first she would have to train well. Solla was thrilled. The elf helped her tie her shoes and said that he would visit her in a few days to see how the exercises were going. He placed his notebook neatly in his pocket and went sprinting down the street.

    “Watch out! You’re heading for the fire hydrant!” cried Solla.

    In the middle of the street stood a fire hydrant. Just before the elf came to it, he jumped up in the air and over it and called back to Solla:

    “Don’t worry, I just jump over those!”

    (I have no notes for this page. The next chapter has very few pictures, which means walls of text. That might take a while.)

    Leave a comment:

  • EmAsPerUsual
    Re: Latibær Books Translated:

    WARNING: This might be my least favorite chapter in the whole trilogy. I’ve already gotten frustrated in Author’s Notes way too many times and the next three chapters should be much better. If you really hate the notes where I’m just complaining, skip this one. It’s Maggi Mjói’s scene from the play but with a longer lecture.

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    Chapter 9: What Is Healthy Food?

    When the sports elf came down the street he did two somersaults, jumped up in the air and stood on his hands. He could basically walk on his hands the same as his feet. He walked on his hands up the road and stood outside Maggi Scraggy’s house.

    He heard Maggi’s mother talking to him.*1

    “Maggi dear*2, try to eat fish so that you’ll become big and strong.”

    “I won’t eat fish! I don’t like fish.” said Maggi Scraggy.

    “Eat meat then.”

    “I don’t like meat.*3”

    “Why don’t you take fish oil?*4

    “Ew, fish oil.”, said Maggi Scraggy, frowning.


    *1: I’m going to assume that elves just have really good hearing, as this doesn’t play out like a loud argument.

    *2: This is another case of minn, like with Goggi in the last chapter, but I’m using different translations in different contexts.

    *3: The possibility of vegetarianism is never discussed in this chapter, though it might be a good idea here.

    *4 Lýsi, or fish oil is commonly taken as a vitamin D supplement in Iceland. The most common source of vitamin D that people are regularly exposed to comes not from food, but from sunlight. In most of the world, vitamin D deficiency can be prevented by just going outside regularly, but in and near the tundra, where Iceland is, there are long parts of the year with very little sunlight. The sun rises late and sets early. This means that going outside regularly still doesn’t provide enough vitamin D, so supplements are taken. So, this Icelandic story puts a lot of emphasis on taking a medicine that most of the world rarely if ever thinks about. Don’t forget your daily dose of daylight, kids!

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    Some kids are like this. Are you like this sometimes? *1

    Maggi Scraggy went out.*2 He was so thin that he couldn’t hold his socks up at all. Or his clothes! They hung off of him. His skin was completely snow white.*3 He was so pale that it was like there was no blood in him. He walked out into the garden, saw the sports elf standing on his hands and said:

    “Who are you? Do you have two heads?”

    He was suffering from malnutrition.*4 He sat down in the grass. The Sports Elf became terrified because he thought Maggi’s legs had broken when he sat down because he was just so thin.*5 He walked up to him and spoke:

    “No, I’m just exercising and walking on my hands. You should try that too. Then you might get a little blood up to your head. Aren’t you Maggi Scraggy?*6”

    “Yeah” answered Maggi.


    *1 …Shut up.

    *2 I thought the children never went out to play. What does Maggi even intend to do outside, seeing that he’s too weak to do anything?

    *3 The word for pale here literally translated to snow white.

    *4 Why did his mother never think to take him to a doctor? Is the book implying that parents in Lazytown are too lazy to get their kids necessary medical attention? Is it implying that doctors are too lazy to do their jobs? This suddenly got really dark…

    *5 Disturbing imagery, brought to you by a future preschool show!

    *6 I’ll just assume that the Mayor told the elf everyone’s names and issues.

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    (I like Maggi's character design here, except for the fact that I how no idea why his lips are so big.)

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    “Well, Maggi, my boy,” said the elf, “I’m a sports elf and I live here just outside of town.*1 I’ve been watching the townspeople for many years. With time they’ve either gotten lazier and lazier or more and more disobedient.*2”

    “I’m never disobedient.” said Maggi.

    “But you never eat your food.” said the elf.

    “No, I just find food, especially fish, to be no good.*3”

    “What do you like?”

    “I don’t like anything.” said Maggi.

    “Do you never eat any healthy food?”

    The elf knew*4 that Maggi only ate cocoballs.*5

    “What is healthy food?” Maggi asked and laid down in the grass. He couldn’t sit upright because of dizziness.

    He continued:

    “I eat cheerios*6 sometimes. Yeah, I always eat cocopuffs*7 and cheerios*8.”

    “But it’s not at all enough,”*9 said the sports elf, “to eat only those foods*10 everyday.”

    “Yeah, but it’s so good.” said Maggi dreamily and he rolled himself over onto his stomach. “I always eat that at lunch and in the evening.*11”

    Then the elf said:

    “See here now, Maggi; you must eat healthy food. A healthy diet needs to be diverse. Most kids know*12 that it’s not at all enough to have only oat rings though*13 it’s okay to eat that sometimes.”

    It was therefore no wonder that Maggi couldn’t sit upright. The elf shrugged at him and lifted him up. He needed to support him so that he wouldn’t fall back down into the grass. The elf did a somersault backwards*14 and grabbed his notebook from his pocket.

    “You need to have diverse nourishment so you can move around; to actually be able to live.”

    “Yeah,” said Maggi, “But I only like cocopuffs.”*15

    “It’s okay to eat cocoballs sometimes but you also need other food. You need vegetables and must eat fish*16, drink water and take fish oil.”

    The elf continued to write in his notebook:

    “We’ll imagine that we’re going to give food, which we eat*17, a grade for how healthy it is. Say that the grade is from 1 to 10. 10 is best and 1 is worst. Here’s a little rule of thumb that I’ll let you have in this memo. You can then see whether food is healthy or unhealthy. The more that the food is processed, the more unhealthy it becomes.”

    Lots of Words, Lots of Notes:

    *1 Right by the town is a more literal translation, but this sounds better.

    *2 The word here means naughty or unruly, but disobedient sounds better.

    *3 The Icelandic words for I Like or I Don’t Like are literally I think/ don’t think X is good. I usually changed that to like/don’t like, but the pacing of this line required a different translation.

    *4 If he already knew the answer, why’d he bother asking?

    *5 Kakókúlur literally means “cocoballs” and is used here because cocopuffs is a brand name.

    *6 Serjós is just the Icelandic pronunciation of Cheerios.

    *7 Kókópöffs is obviously cocopuffs. There’s a pattern here. The elf uses generic names for cereals while Maggi uses the brand names. This difference in vocabulary is one of the few bits of characterization in dialogue that the book has. Elves don’t much care for the human concept of brand names, I suppose. The play removed all the brand names, most likely for copyright reasons.

    *8 Maggi eats either sweet junk foods or bland foods. Fish, his least favorite, by contrast, often has a very strong flavor. He prefers bland foods and doesn’t like stronger ones. Maybe his picky eating comes from sensitivity instead of just stubbornness. This sort of situation is not something this book is capable of taking into account.

    *9 The division of this line is really weird, considering that this is a single sentence without any reason to include a comma. There was no reason to break this sentence up.

    *10 Fæðu, a different word for food than the usually matur is used here and I don’t know why.

    *11 But not at breakfast, despite it being cereal. Maybe that just went without saying.

    *12 INCOMING TANGENT: This is a “Normal People Know Better” argument. These arguments are bad. They don’t work and they make kids feel singled out. Yeah, I’m not an expert, and yeah, I bet it doesn’t matter to most people, and yeah, blah blah sjw, but I disapprove of these books’ usage of shaming and other forms of damaging rhetoric aimed at children. If you want to actually teach the kids and have the message stick, bad rhetoric will do you no good. This chapter is the worst chapter when it comes to this, and hopefully I won’t have to point it out again after this chapter.

    *13 This is the generic counterpart to cheerios.

    *14 I thought he was holding Maggi up. Is he supporting Maggi and doing a somersault at the same time?

    *15 Why is it never asked whether Maggi has tried much of anything else, or any other question that would reveal useful specifics for this situation? The elf is so determined to lecture that he doesn’t bother to really gather context to make his lectures more effective.

    *16 Why is fish specifically so important? Vegetables are a diverse category of foods while fish is a subcategory meat. If he especially doesn’t like fish, wouldn’t it be better to recommend other types of meat? Maybe it’s because Iceland is an island so fish is just given a large amount of importance by default. I also still think Maggi would be happier as a vegetarian.

    *17 Yes, food is something we eat. Were you concerned that someone might forget what food is?

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    Maggi didn’t at all understand as he almost fainted from malnutrition when he tried to think.

    The elf said:

    “I’ll show you this so that you remember it well.”

    He lifted Maggi up onto his back*1 in one motion and ran with him on his shoulders down the street and all the way down to the dock.*2 There were boats that hadn’t moved in a long time. The Sports Elf set Maggi down on a crate, jumped aboard one of the boats*3, and said loud and clear:

    “Pay attention now.”

    Maggi didn’t get what was happening.*4

    The Sports Elf continued, tearing a notebook page and writing on it at the same time.

    “Suppose that you are here on the boat, out at sea. You catch a fish*5 right out of the sea and eat it on the spot*6. Then the fish would get a grade of 10.

    If you put it in a pot and steam it, it would get a grade of 9.

    If you boil it the normal way, it gets an 8.

    If you forget the fish in the pot for ten minutes and it boils over then it gets a 7.”

    “What else is possible to do with fish?” continued the elf, jumping up to the shore.

    “Uh*7, you could fry it in a pan.” answered Maggi.

    “Then it gets a 6.

    If we fry it with breadcrumbs, flour and eggs then it gets a 5.”

    “What about deep-frying it in a pot with oil?” asked Maggi.

    “Then it only gets a 4.

    If we mash it up and use it for fish stew*8 then it gets a 3. Fish stew is fish that’s been combined with various things.*9 Now what about making it into fishballs? Then it gets a 2.

    “I don’t need to mention boiling it down into a pudding.*10 Then it doesn’t get a high grade.

    You see that the more that food is changed from its original appearance the less healthy it becomes.*11 Have you, Maggi, my boy, ever seen a fishball swim? Fruits are very healthy because they know how to swim! No, I’m joking.” said the elf, smiling. “Fruits are healthy because you can pick them directly off the tree and eat them then.”

    Yet Again, Many Notes:

    *1 á háhest literally means something like “On high horse” so it’s like a piggyback ride, but that just didn’t seem to fit grammatically here.

    *2 Wouldn’t this be kidnapping? Maggi’s poor mother would have no idea where her son went!

    *3 Kidnapping and trespassing! Elves need not obey the laws of Man.

    *4 The usual word for “understand” is replaced with botnaði which can also mean “to complete”, so I decided to use “get” to mean understand to match the word choice. Also, this is the most relatable line in the entire book.

    *5 Considering that fish is Maggi’s least favorite food, it might’ve been better to start with a different example. I can remember my mom teaching me this rule with apples and peaches.

    *6 INCOMING TANGENT: And here’s why I was taught it with apples and peaches: It doesn’t really apply to meat as strictly as it does to fruit. Here’s the thing about raw fish: There are dishes made in many parts of the world that use raw fish, so that, in and of itself, isn’t the problem. However, when raw fish is eaten, it is usually frozen for a long time or dried and salted as a way of killing the bacteria and worms that would normally be killed by cooking the fish. Eating raw sushi, where the fish has been frozen is not the same thing as eating a fish you just caught without doing anything else to it. That’s not safe and it’s not very healthy. Consuming dangerous bacteria and worms is not healthy. I’m ranting about this because if you’re going to teach children to eat healthy, then the last thing you should do is encourage them to eat something that could make them sick.

    *7 “Nú” means “now”, but it’s often used in the place of “oh” in English. I used “uh” here instead, because it seemed more appropriate in context.

    *8 Plokkfiskur is specifically an Icelandic stew made with fish.

    *9 EM ASKS A STUPID QUESTION: Okay, from what I know of stew, the most common ingredients are vegetables. Say that you made a stew with meat of some sort and carrots. Raw carrots, having been processed less, are healthier than cooked carrots, but other that cooking them, nothing else would’ve been down to them. If the chopped, stewed meat is unhealthy, but the carrots are still relatively healthy, how does that affect the stew’s overall healthiness? Does the presence of the meat make the carrots less healthy? Does the presence of the carrots make the meat more healthy? If a food is made by combining multiple foods, more than just the additions of water, oil, salt, butter, or something like that, how do you score it?

    *10 I’m not sure why you’d think to make fish into pudding in the first place. It doesn’t sound very good. I’m sure there are people who absolutely love it, but to me it sounds about as appealing as fish-flavored ice cream.

    *11 ATTEMPT TO RETEACH PART OF A LESSON: But why? You say that food becomes less healthy, but how does that happen? The Sports Elf is very lucky that Maggi’s too dizzy from malnutrition to ask any questions. If anyone somehow doesn’t know the answer, cooking a fruit or vegetable takes moisture from it and nutrients along with it. With things like apple pie, so much butter and sugar is added in with the cooked apples than any nutritional value they may have had is negated.

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    “It’s like that with potatoes. If one takes a potato directly out of the garden, boils it*1 and eats it then it’s very healthy. They’re healthy with the peels on. If they, on the other hand, are cooked without the peels their healthiness decreases. Have you ever heard of someone becoming healthy because of eating potato peels?*2 Some eat that because they can’t be bothered to peel them. That’s okay. If someone makes french fries*3 out of them then they have very little nutritional value. What if they become potato chips*4? Have you eaten potato chips?”

    “Yes.” said Maggi.*5

    “They are very unhealthy. They give us almost none of the nutrients that we need to survive.”


    *1 So the elf knows that potatoes need to be cooked, but not that it’s unsafe to eat fish that you just caught. If Maggi weren’t fighting to remain conscious, maybe he’d wonder why raw potatoes aren’t healthy, as the least altered form of the food.

    *2 First of all, no. Second, this wasn’t written with a question mark although it was clearly meant to be a question.

    *3 The Icelandic words for “french fries” literally translate to “French potatoes”.

    *4 Yet another question without a mark.

    *5 That means that he eats more than cocoapuffs and cheerios. Yeah, that’s not healthy or helpful at all, but the book’s been acting as if Maggi literally only eats cereal. Apparently he eats a few other things that conveniently also happen to be unhealthy, so the Elf can continue having things to sternly correct.

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    The Sports Elf ran so fast across the dock that Maggi had difficulty following him with his eyes. He called:

    “Come to me now! See here!”

    Maggi stood up off the crate and could barely stagger towards him.*1 The Sports Elf took a paper from the notebook and said:

    “So it is with food that the more that you prepare it the less healthy it becomes.*2”

    “Yeah, I heard that.” said Maggi.

    “Cocopuffs, for example, don’t grow in balls and cheerios, as you call them*3, don’t grow in rings. Have you ever seen a cocopuff tree?”

    Maggi was astonished.

    “A cocopuff tree! There’s no such thing as a cocopuff tree!”

    “No, you’re completely right about that! Cocoaballs are created mostly out of sugar and they are thusly not very healthy.*4”

    “Pay close attention, Maggi, my boy,” the elf added. “Now I’ll tell you what you should eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner.*5”

    He took another paper out of his pocket*6 and wrote a menu for Maggi Scraggy. “Here are some ideas for breakfast: You can start out by having whole grain bread, for example toasted bread with cheese. It’s also good to have skyr*7, eggs or yogurt. Drink fruit juice, milk or even water. Whole grain crispbread*8 is also good and a banana or an apple.”


    *1 From my own experience with low blood sugar, having to stand up quickly is one of the most common situations to end in fainting. Considering how bad his case is, the fact that Maggi could quickly stand up and walk over to The Sports Elf is something of a miracle.

    *2 Tldr, just in case anyone else was desperate to escape this chapter.

    *3 The elf uses the brand name cocopuffs and cheerios, with an “as you humans call them” sort of acknowledgement. This is the closest to interesting that we’re gonna get.

    *4 THE FOLLOWING NOTE WAS UNSPONSORED: But what about cheerios? No, they don’t grow on trees, but they’re made with oats without adding very much sugar. Cheerios, though just a cereal and not something one could live on alone, are pretty healthy as far as cereals go. Just because two types of cereal are both cereal, that doesn’t make them identical. Honestly, this the only thing I’ve ever heard or read that categorizes cheerios as unhealthy. I don’t believe they’re as healthy as they’re advertised to be, because no advertised food ever is, but putting them on the same level as sugary cereals doesn’t make much sense.

    *5 EM FORESHADOWS FUTURE COMPLAINTS: Hold on. I can understand offering suggestions, but being that specific would just be micro-managing. The amount of specific details in these books makes the advice feel less like advice and more like a strict rulebook. Even though the following will be phrased more like suggestions, they will become part of a disturbing trend. These books are basically How NOT to Write a Role Model Character, just as much as the later show is the complete opposite.

    *6 A separate sheet of paper instead of one from the notebook, apparently.

    *7 Because both skyr and yogurt were mentioned, I didn’t change it for clarity this time.

    *8 Crispbread is a sort of thin, cracker-like bread that’s popular in Scandinavian countries.

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    “Muesli*1 is also healthy and good*2 and it may be served in yogurt or skyr. But the very best is porridge. It as well as fish oil is the healthiest thing you can eat for breakfast. If you ate that every morning there would be no risk of your socks falling down. You would also do much better in sports and do even better in school.*3 The body needs healthy food and a healthy breakfast as the foundation of the day. It’s bad to be hungry in school. If you just eat cocoaballs and oat rings every morning you’ll become hungry quickly. Around ten o’clock*4 it’s good to have a glass of water. People need to drink one glass of water every two hours.*5 Then it’s nice to have a banana or grapes and then crispbread or a sandwich with tomatoes, cucumbers or cheese.*6

    At twelve o’clock you need to eat a healthy lunch. Then it’s good to have fruit soup*7 or meat soup, fish, potatoes, carrots, an apple, lettuce, rice or pasta. Then it’s also good to eat meat.*8 But if there’s a time to eat a lot of bread, always have it at lunch.*9 At coffee time*10 it’s good to have fruit juice, a glass of milk or a glass of water. Iceland has the cleanest and best*11 water in the world*12 and we have to drink a lot of it. It’s good to cut a banana into little bits and put that on toasted bread. Then you may eat oatmeal cookies*13, yogurt, skyr or anything that you like and is of course healthy.

    It can often be difficult for someone, who is thin, to gain weight.*14 He must be careful to not eat too much at once but many times a day. The best is to not have more than three hours between meals, but then one must also remember to brush their teeth well. When evening comes one must remember not to eat snacks for meals but a healthy and good dinner. That can be rice porridge, fish, meat, chicken*15, soybeans or pasta or anything that’s healthy and good.”

    The Sports Elf but a point at the end of the note and handed the notebook page to Maggi.

    He looked at it and saw that there was a menu for the day. He could follow it every day.

    *16 “For some it’s not easy to gain weight,” said the elf, “but you have to eat efficiently. People often dislike food when they taste it for the first time. That’s because people have biten it and it’s bad or won’t even dare to taste it.*17 Have you ever been somewhere where a kid won’t taste the food? Maybe they say:

    “I don’t eat mushrooms, I don’t eat this…”

    That’s because they haven’t tasted that type of food.*18 This is why all kids should taste all foods.*19 I mean that everyone should eat different foods because people will find that they gradually become better and better.*20 There are kids who say:

    “Ew, that food’s gross!” and push their plates away and never finish the food. These kids won’t become healthy or strong.*21

    Even More Notes:

    *1 Muesli is a sort of cold cereal that can be served in milk or yogurt. Cold cereals were unhealthy until literally just now.

    *2 Count how many times the already redundant phrase “healthy and good” is used. Wouldn’t a food being healthy make it good by default?

    *3 This is worded oddly. Is it implying that Maggi would do better in school than in sports, or that Maggi is already doing well in school and a healthy breakfast would make him even better?

    *4 The time kept translating as ten pm or ten in the afternoon. Maybe Iceland sees time differently and 10 am is the afternoon.

    *5 It’s a myth that people need to force themselves to drink water when they’re not thirsty. That can actually be bad for you.

    *6 INCOMING TANGENT: I don’t know about how many snack and drink breaks Icelandic schools allow, so I can’t even be certain that this criticism is accurate, but will there really be time to get a full glass of water and a snack that involves cooked or refrigerated foods in the middle of a school morning? The norm in American schools is that during the precious few minutes between class periods, you can maybe get a few sips of water from a water fountain or maybe a snack from a vending machine, but only if you can eat it before walking into another classroom. If this is a case of Icelandic schools allowing more time for this sort of thing or even offering healthy snack options mid-morning, then that’s great, but if this is just Magnús not knowing how schools work, it’s not so great. In general, kids in grade or even high school often have little control over what they can have to eat and when they can eat it. Lunchtime is decided by the school and dinnertime is decided by whoever prepares dinner at home. It’s the same with what the food is.

    *7 While most soups feature meat and/or vegetables, fruit soups do exist. They can be served warm or cold and often contain dry fruits, due to traditionally being made during winter months where fresh fruit was unavailable. They’re very popular is Scandinavian countries, and are often made as a desert in Sweden and Norway, so their use as a healthy food here is actually a little odd.

    *8 Meat soup with meat. I’ve heard complaints about Lazytown that they emphasize fruits and vegetables without discussing the importance of other foods. Maybe the obsession with meat and fish in earlier works got to people.

    *9 Why? I’ve never heard this before. I was taught that bread of some sort is a food staple served with every meal due to the carbs providing a lot of energy, even though sugar specifically only provides for a short time. Whole grain breads and pasta are better for full meals, with fruit, vegetables, and meat often added to them or used as a side dish. Even on this book’s menu, this applies to all meals.

    *10 The Icelandic equivalent of tea time. In the UK, tea is more popular while in most of Northern Europe, coffee is more popular. For a kid, this just translates to afternoon snack time, traditionally the least healthy meal of the day.

    *11 Wouldn’t the cleanest water be the best by default? Here’s another redundant remark about redundancy.

    *12 Iceland does in fact have very good tap water, though I’m sure if it’s the absolute best. Apparently water in Iceland is good enough that it extends beyond tap water and you can drink directly from some lakes and streams!

    *13 Hafrakex translates to oat biscuits and I’m not quite sure what they are, but pictures I’ve seen look like oatmeal cookies, even though they’re cookies, a desert food and not exactly healthy.

    *14 The word “gildna” wouldn’t translate into anything coherent so I just used what made sense in context.

    *15 Nitpicking, but chicken is a type of meat, isn’t it?

    *16 I erased my original notes for the rest of this page due to them becoming nothing but tangents on how wrong everything is, mostly because I don’t want to sound like some sort of Moral Crusader when it comes to how to speak to children, but in general, the following moral is impossible to teach universally, as people who refuse foods can have many different reasons, while this book makes the most common mistake and assumes that they’re “just being stubborn” in a way.

    *17 Nothing in this sentence makes sense. “When they first tasted it, they didn’t like it because they refused to taste it.” Two separate words for “taste” are used, but they both mean the same thing.

    *18 *Removed Tangent About Assumption and Context*

    *19 *Removed Tangent About Ways That This Could Go Wrong*

    *20 *Removed Tangent About Trying Foods Repeatedly and Still Never Liking Them*

    *21 *Removed Tangent About Shaming and How It Doesn’t Help You Make Your Point*

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    “Not to mention that they don’t do well in school. And people need to eat well in order to move around and take part in all sorts of games.”

    The elf walked away from Maggi and looked at him while he was still reading the page and said:

    “I’ll come back on Thursday.*1 Remember that your body is the only one you have. You need to take good care of it and mustn’t stuff junkfood into it like any other trashcan.*2”

    Then he took a giant leap, ran off and waved goodbye.


    *1 “Fimmtudag” literally translates to “fifth day”, but it doesn’t mean “in five days”, but it instead refers to, that if you start with Sunday, Thursday is the fifth day of the week.

    *2 …I got nothing.

    Thank god this chapter is finally over.

    Leave a comment:

  • EmAsPerUsual
    Re: Latibær Books Translated:

    Okay, empires have probably risen and fallen since I last updated this, but this chapter was long enough to send me into an intense fit of procrastination. Once I'd recovered, I rushed this out, so sick of the chapter that I don't really give a shit if there are typos in the notes sections.

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    Chapter 8: Games Instead of Television

    The Sports Elf rushed between the houses. All of a sudden, he stopped in front of a house and said to himself:

    “What’s that now?”

    On this house there were so many TV antennas*1 that it was barely possible to count them. The Sports Elf counted in his head:

    “1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7…”

    There were neither more nor less than 17 antennas.*2 Just who would have 17 antennas on their house?! Antennas are specifically used to get more TV channels.*3 The Sports Elf peeked through the window and saw that there was no one home other than Goggi with his TV glasses.

    Goggi sat in his comfortable TV chair, almost completely focused on one TV screen but there were TV sets all over the living room*4. He had nine sets and they were all in the one room! Sometimes they were all going at the same time. He had a video game on one*5, a video on another, state televison*6 and Channel Two on the third*6 and I don’t what else.*7 He was almost playing every broadcast that it was possible to play.


    *1 The plural of antenna is officially antennae, but apparently when referring to the antennas of electronic devices, the plural can be antennas, which I’ve using because it’s easier to remember.

    *2 Nearly impossible to count = 17, apparently. Well, this book is for kids.

    *3 How many TV channels would 17 antennas get in 1995? I wasn’t born yet, so if anyone knows, please tell me. I want to know exactly how absurd this was supposed to be.

    *4 I assumed while watching the play that Goggi kept all of his TVs in his room, but apparently they’re all in the middle of the living room, causing a constant racket. Either his parents are really easy-going or they don’t exist.

    *5 He just has a video game playing on a television without playing it? Did Magnús not know how video games worked on even the most basic level?

    *6 That’s like the Icelandic BBC, basically.

    *7 How is one television on two channels at once. Did Magnús not know how TVs work on even the most basic level?

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    And now he sat there in his chair and watched one TV.

    The Sports Elf thought:

    “It can be healthy to watch TV occasionally but it can also me unhealthy to watch for too long and too often.*1”

    He said to himself:

    “I have work to do here.”

    In an instant, the sports elf came in and stood directly in front of Goggi who looked at him and shouted:

    “What are you doing here? I can’t see the TV screen! Move! I need to see! Move!*2”

    The Sports Elf told him:

    “No, I’m going to turn it off now!”

    And he turned off all the devices.

    Goggi was not happy about this and asked:

    “Why are you turning all my TVs off?”

    The elf answered:

    “Don’t you know that the brain ceases to function independently when you watch TV all day?”

    Goggi understood neither this speech nor who on Earth this was.*3

    “Who are you, exactly?” he asked, “Where do you come from?”

    “I live here right outside of town in a big elf settlement and I’ve come from there to watch over the town.” said the sports elf. “I believe you need a bit of help from me. I can give you some good advice. Television is thusly,” he continued, “It feeds people information. Because of that they willingly forget themselves with computer games or movies for hours. People let themselves be fed and have almost no need to think for themselves. People don’t need to create games themselves and move around at all but just sit very still and stare ahead. It’s consistently been proven that creativity decreases if someone watches too much TV.*4”

    Goggi leaned back in the chair and recalled that once he’d wanted to be an artist. He wanted to be a painter, write stories, and draw. But when he got to watching so much TV, then his imagination was reduced so much that he could no longer draw or play by himself. He always needed to have something on a screen to tell him what to draw or what he should usually do. That’s what happens when you watch too much TV.

    The Sports Elf asked:

    “Don’t you want to do something other than watch TV all day? Don’t you want to learn some games, to go out and play?”

    “I don’t know,” said Goggi. “I don’t know any games.”


    *1 I don’t know why it was necessary to state the moral of the chapter that will be repeated multiple times right at the beginning through a character just thinking it, but that’s pretty typically for this book.

    *2 Goggi’s reaction here as well as how The Sports Elf introduces himself are both very different from the staged version. There’s no possession of television screens. The Sports Elf gets right to the point. Also, the nervousness and stuttering that Goggi has in the play is pretty much exclusive to that one play. Goggi is just as annoyed as anyone would be if someone stood in front of a TV they were watching.

    *3 It’s odd how the book seems to imply whenever a child has no idea what’s going on when The Sports Elf appears, that they somehow should know. Maybe it’s not even doing that and I’m just interpreting it oddly.

    *4 No source was sited for this claim. Elves know all.

    Most of those notes were admittedly pointless.

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    “That’s because people become continually lazier and lazier if they watch a lot of TV. I don’t believe that you are really so lazy that you hang around the television and computer games all day.”

    “Yeah, “said Goggi ashamed. *1

    He knew well that he spent all his time watching TV and playing computer games. He didn’t even bother to wash himself. He was becoming very dirty.

    The Sports Elf spoke:

    “Have you heard the story of Lazy Geir?”


    *1 This is the last time I will complain about shaming tactics, since the next chapter will be far worse and this is supposed to be a translation, not a review.

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    “No.”, answered Goggi.

    “Lazy Geir by the riverside*1- Lay there til he died.
    He didn’t want to taste the water- Though he was thirsty.*2”

    “What does that mean?” asked Goggi.

    “Lazy Geir, who laid by the river, was thirsty but he was so lazy that he couldn’t be bothered to get a drink so he died of thirst. That’s how it goes for they who can’t be bothered to do anything. But I know, Goggi, my boy*3, that you want to turn off all the devices and go and take action.”

    “Yeah, but I don’t know what to do,” said Goggi lamenting. “There is so much I want to watch on TV.”

    The elf continued:

    “It’s okay to watch something that one enjoys. It’s fine. It’s for example very fun to watch cartoons and sometimes the news or sporting events because you learn something from that.*4 But you must also do sometime yourself, for example learning some games. Do you know the game Falling Stick?*5”

    “No.” said Goggi.

    “I shall teach you some games. I shall teach you five entertaining games that you can play with the kids in the neighborhood. You could invite them all to come and play these games. Watch now.*6”


    *1 The word used here “lækjarbakka” means beside a brook or stream, but I picked riverside as a compound word to match.

    *2 The translation of this little rhyme used in the subtitled version of the play actually makes a bit more sense. The phrasing here is really odd, no matter what I do to it.

    *3 What he says here is “Goggi minn” literally meaning “my Goggi”. This is all over the place in every Icelandic thing I’ve seen. The use of minn or mín, depending on gender, added as a term of endearment is very common. It’s most often used with adults speaking to children or with lovers, but I’ve also heard friends use it.

    *4 I don’t watch sports, so I’m not sure how educational they actually are. Are sporting events educational?

    *5 The game kept translating to Fallen Spit but Falling Stick made a lot more sense. It’s a more complicated version of hide and seek. Since the game will be explained in this chapter anyway, I’m not going to explain any more.

    *6 The remainder of this chapter is just instructions for various games. However, I don’t recognize most of these games, so some of them might be specifically Icelandic or at least not native to the English-speaking world. That’s the only reason why I’m not skipping this segment all-together.

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    Hopscotch is a hopping game that includes hopping on one foot or the other*2, not stepping on a line and keeping your balance. First you start by drawing with chalk on a flat surface, outside or inside, the head, neck, hands and three other boxes as seen in the picture. Each box must be big enough that it is comfortable to step in. Then you find a flat thing, a stone for example.

    The game begins by throwing the thing in the front box. If the one playing hits the correct box they*3 must hop starting on one foot or the other in all the boxes. If all goes as planned the player tries to hit the box above it and so on and so forth.

    When the player has hit all the boxes once, they must select a box. They do this by turning their back to the field and tossing the stone behind them. If the stone lands in a box that no one has, they get that box. After that, other players may not toss or hop on it.


    *1 The Icelandic name for this game París, literally means Paris, as in the city, explaining Goggi’s confusion in the play, but the English version is called hopscotch, so I’m going with that.

    *2 The phrase used here is “á öðrum fæti” or on other foot, meaning on alternating feet, but that doesn’t translate very efficiently into English.

    *3 Any place were I’m using a singular they was originally he. Something, something, political correctness…

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    Borders Paris*1

    The next game is a running game and is called Borders Paris. Four to six people can participate. It’s a very entertaining game. People need to be fast to notice and react to things quickly.*1

    A big circle is drawn on the ground and a little circle in the middle of it (See picture). The circle is divided into equal parts by the number of participants. Each gets one part that they name after a country, for example, Iceland, Norway, Spain, and Hungary of whatever country they think of.

    Say that A is Iceland and B is Norway. A starts. The game goes that A attacks B or another country by throwing a small stick at the country and says:

    “I attack B.” -or: “I attack Norway.”

    As soon as he does this he runs off but he has to stop when Player B*2 picks the stick up and says: “Halt.”

    Player B (Norway) must next take three steps in the direction of A and try to throw the stick in the circle (basket) that A forms by hand.*3 If B succeeds he may take A’s land. If he fails A may take B’s land. Then B gets the next attack.

    When taking land one foot must be in the little circle and the other one’s own land. Then you need to stretch and use the stick to take a portion of land by dragging a line. You may not lift the stick from the ground while drawing the new border. You’re out of the game when you lose all of your land.

    That’s how I learned the game.*4 The only thing left to talk about is attacking a country. We can also name provinces in Iceland and play as settlers competing take the first land for ourselves.*5 Then, everyone protects the first region they decide on at the beginning.


    *1 Once again, Paris shows up in the title and once again, I don’t know why.

    *2 The word used here is “eigandi” meaning owner, the owner of a land in the game, but I went with “player” for clarity.

    *3 That means a player forms a circle with their hands as a goal. This game features a lot of circles.

    *4 I don’t know if this is the Sports Elf talking or Magnús breaking the fourth wall.

    *5 This could conveniently work just as well with US states.

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    The Prince Game

    Participants divide themselves into two teams. A line is drawn on the ground and the teams spread out on either side of it. Then two princes are selected, one for each team, and they go back to the opponent’s team. (See illustration)

    The game involves hitting the opponent with a ball.*1 Those who get hit with the ball join the other team. The ball always goes between the teams. A team wins when they hit all of the opponents. Care must be taken to use a soft ball, not target the head and not shoot fast. This game is about agility, resourcefulness and endurance.*2


    *1 So it’s dodgeball but slightly more complicated.

    *2 It never says what the role of the prince is. This could literally just be a form of dodgeball with slightly modified rules.

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    Name Riddle

    This is a very entertaining game that often goes by the name Holly Hoo*1. All participants except one arrange themselves side by side. The other one has the ball and thinks of a person’s name. They then throw the ball to the first person in the row and says the first letter of the name and its gender. (If the name were Anna then they’d say A, female. If it were Ari then they’d say A, male.) The first person in the row then tries to name this name. The ball goes across the row if everyone guesses the wrong name. A new letter is added with each round. (Example: If it were Anna, they throw the ball again and say An, female.)

    When the right name is named the ball is thrown to the ground and they said: “Holly!” and run away. The correct guesser*2, B, grabs the ball and says “Hoo”. But then A stops and makes a basket with their hands. B takes three steps*3 and tries to hit the basket. If they hit it they must choose the next name. Otherwise A chooses again. You may also use other sorts of names*4, such as country or animal names*5


    *1 The nonsense word Hollíhú is used here and I just respelled in a way that makes the pronunciation more clear to English speakers.

    *2 The word used here, getspaki, wouldn’t translate so I guessed its meaning from context and similar words.

    *3 Whether those three steps are forward or back is not specified.

    *4 This bit more literally translated to other than people’s names, but I phrased it in a way that sounded better.

    *5 Similar to the above it was more literally “country names or animal names”, but it flowed better in English without the repetition

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    Fallen Stick*1

    is*2 a hide and seek game.*3 You start by setting a stick up against a wall or lamp post.*4 One of the group is selected to “be it”*5. The others hide. The one who “is it” counts up to a predetermined number, 50, for example. When they’re done counting they search for the others. While they search one*6 of the others tries to get to the stick, run there, push it aside and say:

    “The stick falls for me, one two and three.”*7

    If the seeker*8 sees someone, Jón for example, then they go to the stick and say: “The stick falls for Jón, one two and three.”*9

    Then Jón is out of the game and needs to rest there until all the others are found.

    The main goal is to be first to reach the stick.

    Surprisingly Large Amount of Notes:

    *1 We’re finally back to that.

    *2 Though Fallin spýta is written as a title, the er of the follow paragraph is lower case, making the title the start of a sentence.

    *3 Feluleikur means Camouflage Game, but Google Translate adapted it to Hide and Seek and it’s obviously a variant on hide and seek, and thus it is written here as hide and seek.

    *4 Ljósastaur literally means light post, but it’s obvious what that meant.

    *5 The word for “it” used is “hann” meaning he/him, but, once again, it’s obvious that that was meant to be “it” as masculine nouns that are inanimate objects are called hann to mean “it”.

    *6 One of the others is a translation of eiga hinir, though eiga means own, not one. The eiga here might be a typo for einn or something similar, or it might be a quirk of Icelandic that I don’t know about.

    *7 I like how this happens to rhyme in English. It doesn’t quite rhyme in Icelandic though.

    *8 The phrase used here is “the one searching” but “the one searching” who usually be referred to as the seeker in English.

    *9 It can’t rhyme all the time…

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    “Here you have these five games. I’ve written them in my notebook. Take this page from it and you can always look at it to review the games.”

    Goggi to take this for consideration. The sports elf he’d come back after two days to see how he was doing at learning the games. He said goodbye, jumped out*1 and in an instant he was headed down the street.

    (The picture shows labelled drawings of various games under the title Outdoor Games.)

    The elf described Fallen Stick and the four others. Many know Over Under*2 and dodgeball (ball game) - to skip rope and play basketball. Your parents and grandparents definitely know other games that they can teach you.


    *1 Sportacus backflips away…

    *2 This game is just called Over and I actually don’t know it, but I know the subtitled play translated it as Over Under, so I’m going with that.

    Never ask me to translate an instruction manual.

    Leave a comment:

  • EmAsPerUsual
    Re: Latibær Books Translated:

    The following chapter may or may not contain commentary from the translator that may or may not annoy some audience members.

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    (Page 23):

    The chapters get a lot longer from this point onward. Because of this, from now on, Translator’s Notes will be at the end of each page so you won’t have to scroll a mile down to read the notes on the first few pages and then up again and down again etc.

    7. The Candy Boy*1

    Monday came. The elf set off running. He was in sports apparel like a sports elf should be that had a number 10 on the back because it was his lucky number.*2 He also had shoes that were makeshift running shoes. He could run so fast in them that people didn’t see him when he bounced around in them. Don’t forget the notebook that he always had with him.*3 In it he wrote recommendations to those who wanted to improve their lives and succeed in sports.*4

    When the elf came running into the town in a hurry he stood in front of a house that was covered in garbage. Outside the house was a spray of candy wrappers, used cans and bottles. This had all been discarded out and around the window so that the garden was full of garbage.

    You all know, of course who lived there! Siggi Sweet lived in this house, Siggi the candy boy.*5 The elf waded through all the garbage and peeked through the window. There sat Siggi Sweet up in his room with almost five kilos*6 of candy and was devouring it as well as potato chips and soda.

    When Siggi was seven years old*7 he received a Superman costume - which some call a Superman costume*8. Back then he ran around in it*9. But after that he got to eating this abundance of candy and stopped being able to run. He nearly stopped being able to move around. He just sat up in his room and devoured candy and so in the end he couldn’t move around.

    And then there was still his favorite costume which no longer fit him. It was true to say that it’d become too small for the candy boy and he was actually springing out of it. The cape which had reached down to his ankles, hung like a washcloth on his back! Yes, it wasn’t a pretty sight to see the candy boy in the Superman costume who devoured candy up there in his room which was covered in caramel wrappers

    Translator’s Notes:

    *1 The chapters get a lot longer from this point onward. Because of this, from now on, Translator’s Notes will be at the end of each page so you won’t have to scroll a mile down to read the notes on the first few pages and then up again and down again etc.

    *2 The original origin story of the number 10 was kind of lame. It’s just his lucky number.

    *3 I’m not sure if the narrator was actually telling the audience not to forget the notebook that’d never been established.

    *4 Or to whoever he thinks should want to improve their lives and succeed in sports, which is everyone in sight.

    *5 Siggi has two nicknames for some reason, with candy boy being some other sort of character description. I don’t get it.

    *6 For my fellow Americans, that’s around eleven pounds of candy.

    *7 This implies that Siggi is several years older than seven, not matching every later portrayal of him, where he was seven at the oldest.

    *8 Yeah, this one needs an explanation. The first Superman is the word Ofurmann, which is purely Icelandic, while the second is Súpermann, using the English loanword.

    *9 Wait. Siggi wasn’t lazy only a few years prior. Has Lazytown only been lazy for at the most three years? The lore of this children's book confuses me.

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    The elf burst into the house and came in Siggi Sweet’s room before he could blink.*1

    “Good day.” said the sports elf.

    Siggi Sweet looked at the elf and said in shock:

    “Who are you?”

    “I’m a sports elf.” answered the elf.

    “A sports elf, huh…I have nothing to say to you now.” said Siggi Sweet. He continued eating.

    The the sports elf said:

    “No, you actually have a variety of things to say to me. You can also ask me all that you would like to know. I know all about how you have to stop eating candy so that you can go and move around.”*2

    “I don’t want to stop eating candy,” said Siggi Sweet. “I don’t want to move around and I don’t at all want to take part in any sports festival. I just want to eat my candy.”

    Translator’s Notes:

    *1 I wonder how no one else heard him loudly break in.

    *2 Because candy is well-known to cause paralysis…Yeah, the play’s dialogue modified this a little, from “stop eating candy” to “stop eating so much candy” for a reason.

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    The sports elf saw that Siggi Sweet’s teeth were all damaged. Caramel stuck to all the teeth.

    Siggi Sweet could barely sit up in his room. The sports elf asked him if he’d never thought about why he ate so much candy.*1 Siggi Sweet said he didn’t remember when he started on that but gradually he’d got to eating more and more.

    “So it’s a matter of interest,” said the sports elf “that it’s much healthier to eat fruits and vegetables than candy, for example carrots, apples or oranges instead of all this sugar.”

    The sports elf then asked whether Siggi had at some time attended a birthday party.*2 Yes, Siggi Sweet said he’d gone to a few of them. The sports elf then jumped across the room to him and said:

    “I’m going to tell you a parable. When kids go to birthday parties they show up very nice and sweet.*3 The come at three o’clock and give the birthday boy or girl*4 gifts. Then they settle down and are still and good.*5 Next the birthday boy or girl offers them goodies and all the sweet and polite birthday guests eat cake and drink chocolate.*6 At around four PM everyone becomes crazy at the party. The kids run around all over the room. The parents don’t do anything.*7 The kids scream and even pull each other’s hair.”

    Siggi Sweet didn’t get*8 any of this.

    “Why are you telling me about this?”

    “Have you been like that at a birthday party?” asked the elf.

    “Yes.” he answered*9

    “Why must the kids all of a sudden become crazy and naughty after having been calm all day?”*10

    “Oh, I don’t know.” answered Siggi Sweet surprised.

    “It’s because the kids have had so much sugar in their bodies. They *11 receive all of that sugar, that cake and that cocoa. It stirs kids up and because of that they must be careful to not eat a lot of sugar at one time.*12”

    Siggi Sweet looked at the elf, took out a caramel*13 and said:

    “What do you mean by that?”

    “Right, look. Imagine that the sugar in the body must not go up above the shoulders and not below the knee. When kids eat a lot of candy, caramel and chocolate for example, and drink a lot of soda then the sugar suddenly goes up above the shoulders and the kids go completely crazy.

    Translator’s Notes (AKA complaining):

    *1 This could’ve been more dialogue, but it wasn’t, for some reason.

    *2 It happens again, and it’ll probably happen more, so I’ll shut up about it.

    *3 As a child, I neither had nor attended a birthday party where everyone was calm when they arrived. Is this a cultural thing?

    *4 The compound word used here translates to the gender-neutral birthday child, but I’ve never heard that be phrased that way in English. Apologies to all non-binary children.

    *5 When I read this book, I can’t help but wonder if Magnús had ever encountered real children before writing it.

    *6 I’m guessing this means either chocolate milk or hot chocolate.

    *7 Why not?

    *8 The word used to mean understand here is not the one I usually see, so instead of just saying understand, I did something else to match.

    *9 Siggi shamelessly admits to going crazy at parties. This shamelessness is almost a personality trait.

    *10 …Because it’s a party?

    *11 The pronoun used here is actually he, but a more general they seemed like a better fit, since the children at the party are multiple people.

    *12 How much is too much though? This isn’t an issue with this book. Everyone who wants kids to eat less junk food is really vague about how much is too much.

    *13 Looks right at him while doing exactly what he’s being asked not to do. When he has any personality, I like this version of Siggi.

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    (Page 26): (quote continues on next page)

    The sugar goes up to their heads and they go bonkers. What happens next at the birthday party?” the elf continued.

    “I don’t know.” answered Siggi Sweet astounded.*1

    “Well, the kids get cranky*2 and tired and some start to cry: ‘Oh, I want to go home.’*3 Some kick the other kids and get bored. This is because the sugar, which the kids devoured, has fallen down below the knee. When it comes down below the knee then the kids get cranky and irritated and go screaming to their moms and dads. That’s what happens. Therefore we must make sure that the sugar goes neither up above the shoulders nor down below the knee.*4 Did you get all that?” asked the elf.

    “How do I do that?” asked Siggi Sweet interested. He himself was often irritable and morose and sometimes he couldn’t sleep at night. He was also often upset. Then he was always screaming and yelling at everyone.*5 He definitely wanted to know how he could prevent the sugar from going up over his shoulders and below his knees.

    “It’s best to eat a little candy at a time and of course is by far the best for the teeth to have one specific candy day, Saturday for example.

    Translator’s Notes:

    *1 Why?

    *2 I just want to point out that the first translation I found for this was pissed. I decided that it wasn’t the sort of language a sports elf would use.

    *3 Little kids don’t get tired from the excitement of parties. It’s the demon sugar that does it.

    *4 Okay, by the logic of this analogy, if your sugar level gets too low, shouldn’t you just eat more sugar? If you somehow avoid eating too much, this would actually make eating candy a good thing.

    *5 Okay, I’m genuinely curious. Does too much sugar really do all that? That doesn’t sound like a normal cycle of sugar highs and sugar crashes. It sounds more like an undiagnosed mood disorder.

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    Then all the sugar is gathered together but you mustn’t eat a lot at once. Remember that, only a little at a time! Too much candy is unhealthy for the body.*1”

    He felt Siggi Sweet’s muscles but they were almost nonexistent. They were just floppy like French bread. Yes, they were French bread muscles. Kids!*2 Now you have clasp your muscles and check if they’re like rye bread or French bread muscles!

    The poor boy looked at the candy wrappers around him and said:

    “But I like to eat candy so much that I can’t stop.”

    “If you eat a lot of candy,” said the elf, “then I have some advice to reduce it.”

    The sports elf jumped up, spun a full circle in the air and then landed down on top of all the caramel wrappers. He pulled the notebook up out of his back pocket.

    Translator’s Notes:

    *1 There’s the tldr of this entire chapter.

    *2 Yes, the narrator’s speaking to the audience here.

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    “In this notebook I’ll write some advice for you which you can keep in mind.”

    He wrote in the notebook:

    1. Try to reduce candy eating bit by bit. Decrease candy doses*1 gradually.
    2. Try to eat for example popcorn instead of potato chips.*2
    3. Try to cut up fruit and snack on that when you watch TV instead of eating candy. Grapes instead of chocolate, for example.
    4. Then try to move this all to one day because it’s better for the teeth.
    5. Then it’s good to be active!

    “Be active, good gracious*3!” said Siggi Sweet, appearing to be very surprised.

    He hadn’t been active in many years.

    “I can barely move now. I’ve become so fat.” he said, downcast.

    He couldn’t even see the pants of his Superman costume because his belly bulged over them!

    “Now, now, of course you can move around. You can be active like everyone else. It just takes a little time to get started. Of course you’ll get tired at first and won’t be able to go for a long time but gradually your stamina will increase and you’ll be able to go for longer and have fun with it.

    Translator’s Notes:

    *1 Yes, the word really translates to doses, like a dose of medicine. Candy is a drug in Lazytown.

    *2 Potato chips aren’t candy…Yeah, I know what he meant, but still.

    *3 The phrase here translates literally to good stop or good risk, and I thought good gracious would be the closest equivalent.

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    Just start by walking slowly and calmly, around your house for example, maybe do one or two push-ups every evening and multiply them up to ten over time. You can also exercise your abdominal muscles to strengthen them. It’s enough to start with just one or two exercises but increase them bit by bit.

    By all means do this regularly, maybe once or twice a day. You can start in the morning or right away in the evening. As soon as you start being active you’re going to long for healthy food.

    Then you go on short walks. You can start on that by picking up all the trash that’s around your house. When you’re done with that you could go on a little further, for example up the hill there that I live on and watch over the town. Gradually you can pick up speed until you’re jogging and even run. When you’ve started running then you could try cycling. With time you could start to do many other things. You could play basketball, football and handball*1. You could swim, run and do everything possible that comes to mind- Instead of sitting here inside and devouring your candy.”

    Siggi the candy boy looked out of his window and saw all the playground equipment outside waiting to be used.

    “I’ll try to do that.” he said.

    The sports elf gave him the memo to hang up on the wall of his room and said he would visit him in a few days to see how he was doing. He jumped out and rushed so fast through the garden that the candy wrappers flew in all directions. Siggi Sweet watched him from the window with admiration. He had a job to do and was thinking about starting first thing in the morning.

    Translator’s Notes:

    *1 Handball is second only to football in popularity in Iceland, but I wouldn’t have heard of it if it wasn’t an Olympic sport. I don’t know if that’s because it’s not really a think in America, or if I’m just an idiot when it comes to sports. It wouldn’t surprise me.

    I know this took forever to get posted, but the chapters are getting longer and it’s becoming harder to get through them. Sorry about that.

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  • EmAsPerUsual
    Re: Latibær Books Translated:

    This chapter frustrates me.

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    (Page 21):

    6. The Sports Elf

    The mayor walked around the hill and saw that there was a crack in it. He couldn’t refrain from asking:

    “Who are you?”

    “I’m the sports elf*1.”

    “Huh, are you a sports elf?” asked the mayor surprised. He’d never seen a sports elf before.*2

    “Yes, I’m a sports elf and I live in this hill. I’m completing my evening exercises.”

    “What are you saying?” said the mayor. “You do one thousand and something push-ups every evening?”*3

    “Yes, yes, this is just to keep me young,” said the sports elf.

    “How come you live in this hill?” asked the mayor.

    “Right, it just so happens that I’m the coach of a national team of sports elves.*4 I live in this hill and in the hills around it reside other elves. I travel between hills and train them all in gymnastics. I naturally need to keep myself in good shape so I can teach them something new every day. Here I have own gymnasium,” said the elf proudly, “But what are you doing here, mayor, so sad-looking?” *5 asked the elf.

    “Right, you see…” and then the mayor told the elf the whole story about what was happening in Lazytown.

    “We elves have actually observed this town for a long time and have of course noticed that the townspeople have become lazier and lazier with every year.”

    The mayor said sadly:

    “Yes, this is the ugly situation that the town as come to. But how’s the situation for you elves? Nearly that bad?”

    “No, no, “ said the sports elf. “In the elf settlement everyone is very fit. Everyone exercises regularly, wakes up and goes to bed early and thinks well about health and learning.”

    “Uh…couldn’t you help me?”*6 the mayor asked carefully.

    “You never know,” said the elf.

    “Couldn’t you train the townspeople for me so that they’d become interested in moving around?”

    “You never know,” the sports elf said again. “I shall go and look at the town and see what I can do.”

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    The mayor thanked him sincerely and asked how he could repay him.*7

    “The payments, which I want to get, are smiles and friendly attitudes,” the elf said while doing stretches.

    “That’s not much,” thought the mayor. “But that could become a challenge to get smiles from all the townspeople.”

    They almost never smiled, let alone had friendly attitudes. It could maybe be more difficult than expected to repay the elf’s favor.

    But the elf decided to go first thing in the morning to observe the situation in Lazytown.

    Translator’s Notes:

    I apologize in advance for having a lot of things to vent about, but I’ll try not to rant.

    *1 I’m surprised that “the sports elf” wasn’t capitalized, since it’s a title of sorts.

    *2 Wait. Is he A sports elf or THE sports elf. I’m already confused. I know this isn’t a translation failure, because I know how the definite article works, so this is just confusing on its own.

    *3 Okay, this entire introduction is a mess. The mayor looks around but it never says that he sees anyone. He asks “Who are you?” to no one and no one responds, because the narration forgot to say that he saw someone and spoke to them. Then it makes it confusing as to whether this as a sports elf or The Sports Elf like a title. This is the introduction of the main character, and it’s borderline incoherent.

    *4 Okay, so he’s THE sports elf, as in one, who trains a group of sports elves. This raises more questions than it answers.

    *5 Uh…The mayor never said who he was. Does the sports elf know via magic? Are we supposed to just assume that? Are we supposed to not think that’s creepy?

    *6 Okay, I said I’d try not to rant, but: This makes no sense. The mayor is asking the elf to solve a problem that he’s completely unfamiliar with. The sports elf trains elves, for whom laziness is not a problem. They’re all perfect. Fine. They’re magic, so they can be perfect. But, how does the sports elf know how to address laziness when he’s never done more than observe it before? He’s never had to convince someone to not be lazy, if he’s only trained elves and elves are never lazy. This is like asking someone who lives somewhere without consistent internet access or even electricity, only having heard of those things and seen them a few times maybe, to fix your computer, because they’ve never had computer problems before, when the only reason they’ve never had computer problems before, is because they’ve never used a computer.

    *7 So, the mayor makes a deal with a supernatural being? Weird.

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  • EmAsPerUsual
    Re: Latibær Books Translated:

    And now the story finally decides to go somewhere.

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    (Page 19):

    5. The Town Meeting

    The mayor decided to have the meeting in the town square because it was in the middle of town and there were enough parking spaces. He knew that all the townspeople would drive there.

    There was no one walking to the meeting rather than driving. People didn’t even bother to get out of their cars but rather rolled down their car windows to be able to see.

    Imagine all the exhaust fumes! Not one single citizen turned off their car but rather let their engines run during the meeting.

    The poor mayor coughed and coughed when he tried to start the meeting and welcome everyone. He spoke as loud as he possibly could: *1

    “Now I call this meeting to order.”

    “The only thing on the agenda,” said the mayor “is the sports festival that is to be held all over the country. We here in this town, which goes by the name Lazytown, must take part in the festival being held.”

    The people in the cars sighed:

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    “Ohhhh…ohhhh…do we have to?”

    “Ohhh…ohhhhhh, how can I go out to the shop*2 if I’m taking part in some sports festival?” asked the candy boy with a mouth full of candy.

    Goggi, who watched videos all day, looked out and said:

    “But then I’ll miss…Neighbors *3 Neighbors is always on the TV at five o’clock and this sports tournament goes all day.”

    It must be said that the response hadn’t been good. All the townspeople had something against the sports festival. If it wasn’t one thing then it was another. It was too expensive to buy shoes, bikes, uniforms or other things related to sports.

    “It’s way, way too expensive. This will cost the municipality*4 too much money,” said Nenni Penny-Pincher*5 in shock.

    Some said that sports were very dangerous*6 and that everyone would be injured; that there were always people spraining themselves and tripping over stuff. The mayor listened to all of these excuses and simply didn’t know what he had to do. The townspeople appeared to have no interest in the festival. The cars drove away and the people returned to their homes. The poor mayor stood alone afterwards.

    The town square was covered in trash because people didn’t respect themselves or the environment. Therefore cigarette butts and candy wrappers laid everywhere. The mayor gathered up this trash and he cried because the townspeople weren’t going to take part in the sports festival. He saw his little town fall into atrophy down to nothing but lazy people and motionlessness. What would he say to the president? He walked briskly and thought.

    He didn’t know until he’d walked for several hours and was leaving the town.*7 He wasn’t happy. He sat on a hill and watched silently over his town where the sun hadn’t shined for a long time.

    “What exactly do I try?” he thought.

    All at once he heard something so he listened. He heard someone counting.

    “One thousand and one, one thousand and two, one thousand and three.”

    The mayor was shocked! Where did that come from? He checked back over the hill and didn’t see anything.

    The voice continued:

    “One thousand and five.”*8

    He peaked nervously behind a stone and heard:

    “One thousand and six.”

    It was as if the voice came out of the hill.

    Translator’s Notes:

    *1 These fragments could’ve been a single paragraph, but this was how they appeared on the page.

    *2 In the play, Siggi just wanted to eat candy all day, but here it seems like he’s not too lazy to go out to the candy store, though I’m pretty sure he’s supposed to be here, so I don’t get it. I’m confident in my translation here. It definitely referenced going shopping instead of eating candy, so I have no idea what’s going on here.

    *3 Apparently Goggi’s a fan of Australian soap operas.

    *4 This word could also be translated as community, but the idea of a young child just randomly using the word municipality was too amusing to pass up.

    *5 Níski, Nenni’s nickname, can literally translate to stingy. But, keeping with the theme of rhyme/alliteration, I went with Penny-Pincher.

    *6 This word can also be translated as deadly, but just very dangerous made more sense.

    *7 This sentence refused to take coherent form. I’m guessing it meant that he wandered aimlessly, not knowing where he intended to go.

    *8 What happened to one thousand and four?

    - - - Updated - - -

    The post literally translated the word s t i n g y into a picture of Stingy. ...I'm keeping it.

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  • EmAsPerUsual
    Re: Latibær Books Translated:

    I took a two day break from translating, but I'm back now with Chapter 5.

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    (Page 17):

    4. Running Mayor!

    The next day the mayor woke up with the rooster which was very unusual. The rooster*1 didn’t at all crow every morning. And in fact it was not the rooster himself who crowed. Everyone was so lazy in Lazytown that even the rooster couldn’t be bothered to crow except at the very best of times. He sat in his old sun lounger and slept there nearly all day. So he decided to rent a rooster from the next town to crow for him. He just paid the other rooster to come from the neighboring town to crow:


    This was of course expensive and finally the rooster could not afford it. Then he taped his crow and just pushed a button every time he had to crow. He still soon became sick of it and found another way. He connected a clock to the tape and had rooster-crowing sounds play every time that the clock rang.*2. Then he could continue to sleep in his sun lounger in peace. Life was like that in Lazytown. People didn’t even wake up with a real rooster!

    The mayor stood up and thought about how he’d have to roll up his sleeves. Now he had to get the townspeople to hold a meeting. He couldn’t send a letter to every house because there was no mailman in Lazytown*3. Of course no one could be bothered to hand out the mail. What could the poor mayor do to get all the people together?

    While he got dressed his mind wandered. When he opened the wardrobe to take his sweater out he saw his old sports uniform. This sports uniform had not been used in a long time. He then saw his old tracksuit, a jogging suit that he’d ran in before when he competed in tournaments. What would happen if he wore the suit and jogged around the town? People hadn’t seen that in numerous years. Perhaps it would awaken some sporting thoughts from them.

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    The mayor dressed in the suit, fetched his old sports shoes, jumped out and started jogging around the streets of town. The people, who saw him, thought to themselves that he had to have gone crazy, running around all over the place.

    The mayor didn’t let that get to him and just kept running fast. He ran between the gym and the church, down to the dock and between all the houses in Lazytown. The people went out to the street to whisper to each other about the mayor going batty. Others pulled back the curtains of their windows and watched him run, surprised.

    Acting accordingly, he increased his speed. The people had never in some time seen someone run so fast. Then he called out loudly as he ran:

    “There’s a town meeting! There’s a town meeting at three o’clock in the town square! There’s a town meeting!”

    The poor mayor didn’t seem to be tired but he was exhausted, it’s true to say languished, when he came home to his place afterwards. Phew! He’d been running continuously for two hours.

    The townspeople thought this was completely unbelievable. Such a thing hadn’t happened in numerous years. *4

    “What meeting was the mayor talking about? Is there going to be a town meeting?” they said to each other.

    Translator’s Notes:

    *1 Fun Fact: Haninn literally means The Rooster, so Haninn actually has no name. This rooster acts like Haninn, but his name is never capitalized outside of the beginning of a sentence, so I translated it as “the rooster”, but feel free to imagine that it’s Haninn from GGiL, since this sounds like something he would do.

    *2 Just stopping to wonder why the rooster even needs to crow if alarm clocks exist.

    *3 Not yet, anyway…

    *4 If I point out and apologize for every time the text is redundant, repeating things it told us in the same chapter, these notes would be long enough to fill a book by themselves.

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  • EmAsPerUsual
    Re: Latibær Books Translated:

    I'll do my best. It'd be cool to recreate the books, even if they're not very good.

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  • Stingy
    Re: Latibær Books Translated:

    Originally posted by EmAsPerUsual View Post
    I'm doing this as practice, so I know it's inconsistent. I leave notes on the lines that I'm really not sure of.
    The reason I ask is because I'd like to see a project where the books are more than just translated; they're recreated. Since all the illustrations are pen and pink, I presume that they could easily be vectorized well, and maybe using something similar to Publisher, the layout of the pages could be recreated with the same format and wrapping as they are originally, but of course with English text, and then exported as .pdf or even as .epub. The catch here is that it's of course important for the translation to be well done.

    Leave a comment:

  • EmAsPerUsual
    Re: Latibær Books Translated:

    I'm doing this as practice, so I know it's inconsistent. I leave notes on the lines that I'm really not sure of.

    Leave a comment:

  • Stingy
    Re: Latibær Books Translated:

    How confident are you in these translations?

    Leave a comment: