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As a follow on to this question, what books would you like to see retranslated or rewritten as the original translation wasn't very good, or can you give examples of books that have been translated more than once into the same language.

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Why the downvote? I believe that this question is just perfect for MO. –  J. H. S. Jun 22 '10 at 4:55
I agree that Roy's question is a good supplement to mine, because many translations are unsatisfactory. For example, there are 19th century translations that read badly today because their terminology is out-of-date and their style is very longwinded. –  John Stillwell Jun 22 '10 at 5:18
What, exactly, is the point of this question? If someone were offering to redo a translation then I would understand. If someone were asking for a list of books worth reading that might have been overlooked due to not being in English (am I right in presuming that the translation is intended as being into English? What about Norwegian? Can I nominate bad translations from English to Norwegian?) then I would grumble but probably let it go, but I don't see the point of simply having a list of poor translations. –  Andrew Stacey Jun 22 '10 at 8:36
This question now has a meta thread - tea.mathoverflow.net/discussion/461/… –  François G. Dorais Jun 22 '10 at 20:30
I admit this isn't the best question. It's basically: wouldn't be nice if these books were redone. But it's not going to happen, so let's close this question. –  Roy Maclean Jun 22 '10 at 20:34
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closed as too localized by Andrew Stacey, Harry Gindi, Qiaochu Yuan, Andrea Ferretti, Andy Putman Jun 23 '10 at 1:47

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1 Answer

I nominate Felix Klein's Lectures on the Icosahedron and the Solution of Equations of the Fifth Degree as a book that deserves retranslation. The present English translation was made in 1888, and it contains a lot of archaic terminology, such as "permutable" for "commuting," "transformation" for "conjugation," and "associates" for "conjugates." Also confusing, though in principle a good idea, a normal subgroup is called "self-conjugate."

Best of all, a new edition would give an opportunity to introduce some pictures, which are incredibly absent from Klein's original text.

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Ah ha, converting the yesterwords of olde mathematicish into modern mathematicese. –  Roy Maclean Jun 22 '10 at 20:41
Shurman's Geometry of the Quintic deals at least in part with the same material: amazon.com/Geometry-Quintic-Jerry-Shurman/dp/0471130176 –  Qiaochu Yuan Jun 22 '10 at 21:10
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