This week has been kinda stressful, mostly to do with a french translation of Back Home. In an attempt to get as many of my books out to a french market as possible i made the decision to take on another translator and it all kind of went tits-up (english'ism for *wrong*).
Things to bear in mind:
- I have weekly, sometimes daily, emails/PMs/requests asking for my books to be in other languages, not just French, German and Italian.
- I am desperate to get my stories into other languages so that readers who don't know English can read them. I want everyone who wants them to have access to my stories. What author wouldn't want that?
- I have luckily found translators for French, Italian and German translations. People I trust (Benedicte Girault for French, Claudia Milani for Italian, Chris McHart for German).
- All of my books, to date, that have been translated have sold enough to cover their fees and cover art. Some have been wildly successful, some have just broken even.
- I want to keep the rights for my books – all of them. As far as I am concerned, unless I have no choice then I want to keep the rights to all my books, because trusting publishers is something I don't do much of anymore. Not after getting ripped off by Silver and ARe, and then messed around by Totally Bound (Pride).
- I don't speak French.
- Or German.
- Or Italian.
- Or Spanish.
- In fact I only got a CSE grade 2 in French (and only Brits over the age of 46 will remember CSE's LOL)
When I pass on a book to be translated, there is an incredible amount of trust that I have to have in the translator. When the book is released, it is reviews that inform the quality of the translation.
When a book gets every other review calling on it as being a translation that was full or errors or that didn't flow, then as an author you begin to worry. Back Home is an older book, was the flow of the translation wrong because the writing in it is nine years or so old? Have other translation companies deliberately commented on the book to make the translator of the book seem bad (believe me, I've seen this happen before)? Was the translator not a good one?
I don't understand. I don't know how to talk to the translators, or the readers. I rely completely on them knowing English, because as I said before, I am crap at languages. I feel lost, and uncomfortable, and i don't like it.
So, should I stop getting future books translated? Is it completely naive of us English authors to go about getting a translation done when we have no means of controlling the end product?
Because that is how I feel, out of control with it all.
I am lucky enough that each of my translated books have sold really well, and the investment in them is one for the future, just like my audio books are.
Where does the buck stop? With me as the original author of the books? With me for contracting a translator out of my comfort zone? Me for not speaking french? Or is it with the translator?
Because believe me, the reason I get so sad about all this is that really the buck stops with me.