Saturday, January 05, 2008

What Book of Mine is This?

Did you know that if you're an author popular enough to have your books translated into many languages, not only do you have no control over the image of your foreign language editions but you may not even be able to tell which ones they are? And no one fills you in, either. Meg Cabot, author of the Princess Diaries and other popular series, shares some of her foreign editions and wonders which is which.



At February 29, 2008 1:28 p.m., Blogger Jim's Words Music and Science said...

Hi! This is an important post. I just interviewed an author who mentioned that the translation of his books into Chinese changed everything from the title to the city where the story took place. This happened for his first few published novels. He is not allowing any more of his work to be translated and published in China (unless they consent to no alterations, which they won't). I haven't written up much of the interview yet, but the first two installments are posted. Hasta luego, Jim

At February 29, 2008 1:34 p.m., Blogger Mago said...

Thanks for this interesting note. We look forward to updates.

Nevertheless, in some cases, in the interests of localization, a change in the title and/or location may be a good solution; not to say that this is invariably the case.

I think the ideal situation for literary translation is when there is free and open communication between author and translator, and translation dilemmas are solved with mutual consent. Anecdotal evidence suggests that this happens all too infrequently.

At February 29, 2008 1:54 p.m., Blogger Jim's Words Music and Science said...

You certainly make great points about the title and other aspects of translation.

What I didn't make clear is that the change in title I was referring to was direct political censorship, not a change for better local comprehension or other valuable literary goal. The change in city name from a real city to a fictitious city was also direct political censorship, denying the possibility that even fictional events of the type in the book could be associated with the city in question. Lo veremos, Jim

At February 29, 2008 1:59 p.m., Blogger Mago said...

Aha, so this was 100% political and 0% artistic and literary. No wonder he is miffed.


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