Lost in Translation

I just sent off Butterfly Swords for Mandarin language verification. My editor asked me whether I thought I would need it and all the sudden I had visions of bad translations like “All your base are belong to us!”. Oh geez. Yes, I’d rather pay extra for peace of mind.

I can see why many authors just go the pure fantasy route, but for me, I think it’s harder to make up Chinese sounding names and all the history. Crossing my fingers that there are no elephant-sized mistakes. I can live with being challenged on little details. It’s fiction. I made it up. *bites nails*

I’ve been having that thought a lot lately. The “oh crap, this is going to be for real”. Sometimes it’s little things, do I want this to be so and so’s name. Other times it’s fact checking. The worst feeling is wanting to read over every line again and line edit, but I’m forcing myself to only stick to requested changes. The book is the book. It’s not perfect, but I need to let go.

I like author Barry Hughart’s term “An Ancient China That Never Was”. I like it so much I wish I had thought of it. 🙂

No Comments

  1. Lisa
    Oct 29, 2009 @ 08:49:44

    SO exciting! When is the pub date? Can’t be too far off, right?

  2. Victoria Dixon
    Oct 29, 2009 @ 12:03:46

    I did have someone look at my names and what use I made of Chinese words. I sympathize with you big time on the authenticity thing! (And I DID go the fantasy route. I couldn’t tell the story I wanted without that route.) Thanks for the Hughart quote! Now I need to check him out…. 🙂

  3. Dara
    Oct 29, 2009 @ 12:11:44

    You know, I’m going to be thinking the same thing with my Japanese historical fantasy. It’s perfectly natural to feel that way, even if it’s not pleasant.

    And I echo Lisa–any ideas on a pub date or is that still too far off?

  4. Jeannie Lin
    Oct 30, 2009 @ 05:59:52

    So close yet so far! Still don’t have any dates, names or places for this “highly anticipated” release. Highly anticipated by myself, that is. LOL

  5. Jax Cassidy
    Oct 30, 2009 @ 16:59:03

    Step away from the manuscript.

    I’m sure it’s stellar and you’re just freaking out but wait until it’s in print–AWESOME! I’m so excited for you and a mandarin translation too! That is waaaaaaaaaaaay cool! 🙂

  6. Jeannie Lin
    Oct 30, 2009 @ 22:20:51

    Jax – I closed my eyes and clicked send! I do need to point out that it’s not an entire Mandarin translation. I’m just sending it out to someone to double check the few phrases and words I use. 🙂