Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Amazing Writing Advice #19: Translations

You may have got to the point in your career where, like me, you are looking to increase your sales from the solid looking three copies you've sold to the English speaking world. But where can you find those sales? Well I say look across the sea.

No, not Ireland. Look the other way.

You may recoil at the smell of the French, the arrogance of the Germans, the sleazy weird politics of the Italians but these backward countries are all on the lookout for new books. They really need something to distract them from the financial implosion they are going through.

But how do you get your book translated?

Well if you had fallen into the trap of 'traditional' publishing they might sell 'rights' to publishers operating in these countries. But do you really want to trust a Frenchman with you book? Of course not! The same goes for hiring a translator. You'll just end up with some Johnny Foreigner who will take the money and give you the menu from your local restaurant.

The French
All you need is Babelfish and that plucky British courage that won two world wars and landed us on the moon back when Queen Vic sat on her steam punk spider throne.

Here's an example from my latest book, in proud English:

Jack stroked the cat, feeling each individual hair, it's warmth and slight static charge, giving the whole experience a frisson of danger.
"More tea?" Grandma asked.
Jack sneered.

In weasel French:

Jack caressa le chat, se sentant chaque poil individuel, la chaleur d'it et légère charge statique, donnant toute l'expérience un frisson du danger.

"More thé? " grand-mère a demandé.
Jack ricana.

Now due to the strangeness of translation you can pipe that stinking French back into Babelfish and you'll get a whole new book in God Save The Queen English! There's an added bonus for you.

Jack stroked the cat, feeling each individual hair, heating it and its slight static load, giving any experience a frisson of danger.
"More the?" grandmother asked.
Jack chuckled.

That's the secret of translations and increased sales. And if someone buys one of your books you can go to that country on holiday and claim it as a business expense. Translations just keep on giving.