An important part of translation is not only to change the language but to maintain the mood and keep the integrity of the story. Most of all, it must be readable in the new language.
When my book 'Clan' was translated into German I was lucky to have a great translator who I needed to trust and rely on with my baby!
The following is just a bit of fun - but makes the point.
I took the first few lines of the book (detailed below) and used Google Translate to translate them into German.
I then copied the German and pasted it back into Google Translate and asked it to translate the German back into English.
Quite Interesting as Stephen Fry might say.
"It was half scream and half roar.
Seconds earlier, the Great Hall, with its blazing wooden wall torches and man-high open log fires, was echoing with the clamour of dozens of warriors, some lounging at long trestle tables picking at huge platters of cooked meats consisting of whole roasted suckling pigs and poultry and massive sides of beef, as well as piles of coarse bread, fruits and large jugs of rough wine and ale."
GOOGLE GERMAN TRANSLATION
"Es war halb und halb Schrei brüllen .
Sekunden zuvor hatte der Great Hall, mit seinem lodernden Holzwand Fackeln und mannshohe offene Kamine , wurde mit dem Lärm von Dutzenden von Krieger Echo , einige Faulenzen am langen Holztischen Kommissionierung auf riesigen Platten mit Wurst , bestehend aus ganzen gerösteten Spanferkel und Geflügel und massive Rinderhälften , sowie Haufen von groben Brot, Obst und große Krüge mit Wein und Bier rau ."
GOOGLE GERMAN TO ENGLISH RE-TRANSLATION
"It was half and half roar scream.
Seconds earlier, the Great Hall , with its blazing wood wall torches and head-high chimneys, was , with the noise of dozens of warriors echo , some lounging on the long wooden tables picking on huge plates with sausage, made from whole roasted suckling pig and poultry and massive cattle halves and piles of coarse bread , fruit and large jugs of wine and beer rough."
I have decided to consolidate my Blogs in one place so they will mostly be on my personal web site - in hte meantime I have taken the opportunity to repeat some of my favourite ones! Here is one such blog from January this year.
As an Independent author it is always nice to be acknowledged as one - even if you don't have the reach of some more famous writers. But one of my loveliest experiences happened in a coffee shop I went into in my home town.
I knew the owner and whilst sitting sipping my coffee he suddenly approached me with the opening statement "We had another famous writer in here the other day."
My first instinct was embarrassment, as whilst it was very nice of him, by no stretch of the imagination could I be considered "famous" (some also might even question the suggestion that I am a writer but that is another thing entirely!).
My immediate response was that the statement was wrong on so many levels! - but I then went on to ask who the "other famous writer" was.
The discussion then developed into a most frustrating conversation as it seemed that although the other writer was apparently extremely famous, he, and also none of his staff seemed to know who he was!
Discussions about age, description, accents etc all led down a dead end until I finally said, "Well, given that you don't seem to know anything about him, how do you know he was famous?"
One of the waiting staff said "One of the customers recognised him, I can't remember what she said his name was, but apparently he wrote something called 'The History Boys.'
Shocked - I said "Alan Bennett! - You had Alan Bennett in here?"
"That's him", she said, " I didn't know who he was so I forgot the name as soon as she said it."
I turned back to the owner excitedly, "You had Alan Bennett in here? - You have no idea how it feels to be included in the same sentence with Alan Bennett. - Now he is properly famous!"
The owner looked somewhat underwhelmed despite my obvious mix of pride & hero worship and after a few seconds pause he replied,
"Not in here he isn't..."
I was lucky enough to meet this author at the time he was publishing his first book 'Under the Tree' in 2013 and although it was primarily a children's book, not my usual genre! - I am always drawn to read a book when I have met the author. I'm glad I did. As a previously unpublished author I was sceptical of his plans to write a further 9 books in a series he calls 'The Northland Tales' as experience suggests that most would-be authors do not even ever finish one!
I shouldn't have doubted him because earlier this year the second in the series 'The Fairey Flag' hit the shelves.
Much longer, darker and more suitable for adults as well as children I found it hugely engaging and Michael T. Ashgillian was honing his craft.
Now I have just finished the third in the series 'Fimbul: The Awakening of the Wolf' which takes the story on further and once again the writing gets better, not that it was too shabby in the first place!
I no longer doubt that Ashgillian will go on to complete another 7 books (I understand the 4th is close to completion) - and I, for one, will be waiting to follow the developing stories from 'The Northland Tales' as they arrive. Highly recommended.
I have recently found (and joined) this new Group in LinkedIn for Elliots - of whatever spelling - probably a little more business oriented as LinkedIn tends to be - might see you there!
There has been debate for years as to the correct pricing of books and I'm not sure it has ever got very far with the ongoing battle between Amazon & Hatchette as a prime example.
As an author, I believe if I put some effort into writing a book, (and I do - believe me - even if it might not look like it!) I think I am entitled to a reasonable return on that effort, whether that book be a traditional paperback or an e-book.
Ultimately, however, things are only worth what someone is prepared to pay for it I suppose, but personally I would rather that decision is made by an actual reader than someone who clearly has no particular interest in books at all and in this latter category I would include the likes of Amazon and many of their so called 'Amazon Marketplace' sellers.
Having found 5 apparently different sellers selling a second-hand version of one of my paperbacks for £0.01 I wondered what was in this for Amazon and or the 'seller'. I couldn't see what might be in it for Amazon - other than being right in the middle of yet another Internet transaction regardless of value, and clearly the reseller it seems to me must be expecting to make a profit on the £2.80 postage & packing charge.
However, when I extended my research to another of my books, I found this second-hand listing.
Things are now clearer - the true value of my books are somewhere between one penny and £2,500 each.
I'm not sure that helps in my marketing efforts...
Thanks to everyone who came to the Red Cap Open Day yesterday in Wantage - special thanks to Mim Norvell from the Mix for her help and everyone who bought books and talked to our authors. But special thanks has to go to Dan Abrams the Director of Clan the Movie who premiered his latest work on our teaser - very scary! and also Guy Barnes for a stunning live performance of his theme 'Clan' for the movie and for terrifying me in The Crypt scene as William de Soulis - Paul Barrand who will play Andrea Dettori was also there - don't turn your back on him he is a dangerous SOB! - Watch out for more info on the film with interviews and trailers! www.clanthemovie.com
When someone describes your book in such terms it is very difficult to be very British about it and to keep it to yourself so I apologise in advance for the lack of modesty!
"Hi David,Well,there isn't enough words to describe the most intriguing,mysterious,wonderful book that I have ever read in my nearly 70 years.I just couldn't put it down until finished,and my dragon, [Phil] is ordering The Gathering.Every Clan member ought to read it, it would make them even more proud of being a clan member that they are now.There was one page that made me go cold, and relevant to me.Back in 1971, I was shot in the hip in an accident, and still have the bullet.See page 132.I think that Wee Jock was actually stabbed, but could i be a reincarnation? Will get in touch later as I intend to try and get to see you in Wantage. I don't think that we have met in the past.
Wee Jock Elliott[with two t's]"
The mention of getting to see me in Wantage refers to the Red Cap Publishing Open Day on the 30th August 2014 - more details Red Cap Open Day video