La Guerra Del Viejo

This just in: Spanish-language rights to Old Man’s War have been claimed. Excellent. That’s the seventh language into which OMW will be translated (following Russian, French, Chinese, German, Japanese and Hebrew). My book is seeing more of the world than I have. I’ll have to fix that one day.

14 Comments on “La Guerra Del Viejo”

  1. oh hells yes! I love reading books translated into spanish! (Not as much as I love reading books actually written in Spanish, but they’re both fun).

    A YA author I used to read was a little confused about all the dashes that made their way into her Spanish translations, but those are normal.

    –This is how dialogue is done in Spanish,– she said.

  2. When my “Dogs For Dummies” was translated into Serbian (Serbian!) I got a copy. I noticed there were pictures of dog breeds from eastern Europe that I’d never heard of in it, along with text describing them. They didn’t add a co-author, and my name’s on the cover. They added whole new sections where they felt they needed them.

    I’ve always wondered what I wrote about those dogs. Someday I’ll have to find someone who speaks Serbian and find out.

    The other funny traslation story involves “Cats For Dummies.” I got an e-mail from the translator who was trying to translation “Spadafori” and “Pion” (my co-author, veterinary cardiologist Dr. Paul Pion) into Japanese. She wanted to know what our names meant, so she could translate them into Japanese words. We had no idea, so she just left them as they are. On the book cover are all these Japanese characters, then “Spadafori” and “Pion” just as they’d be in English. Weird.

  3. My last name means “Barefoot” in Italian, so that would be an interesting translation.

  4. It’s a crazy idea, Mary. But it just might work!

    I think being published in Icelandic would be super cool, incidentally.

  5. Actually, a literal translation of the title would probably be LA GUERRA DEL VIEJO (since it’s an inflected language, the gender is already indicated, and “el viejo” automatically implies an old “man” as opposed to an old “something else”–for example, el viejo sofa; but in Spanish it would take an article).

    And, Analee, actually the dashes before the “s/he said” part should touch the “s/he said” part. The stranger thing is how multiple-sentence dialgoue that continues after the period looks:

    –We don’t want to be the last country to translate John’s novel –the publisher said to his executive editor–. Why don’t you contact his publisher and make an offer. See if you can get the next one while you’re at it, in a package deal.

    (They don’t have a closing dash at the end of each speaker which is also confusing to non-natives!)

  6. Laurence, I bow to your superior knowledge of Spanish and have updated the title. Thanks!

  7. Lawrence, you’re of course correct. I’m also a bit iffy on my comma placement there. Using Spanish formatting for English sentences is more than my poor little pea brain can take. I was going to comment on the title as well, but I couldn’t find a better way to phraze it than “I think that looks funny so you may want to drop the hombre,” so cheers on the grammar explanation.

    I wonder how one becomes a book translator. That’d be a sweet job (that, or a teeniebopper pop music translator… much less sweet, but very easy).

  8. Since translators are usually paid by the word, Analee, being a teeniepopper pop music translator would probably not pay too well, even if you got paid multiple times for the refrain.

    Here in Spain, most SF writers translate anglo sci-fi into Spanish, because they get paid so much more.

    Let’s say an advance for a novel is 1000 Euros (whether for a local author or the rights to a translated novel).

    Whereas, a translator will usually get 8-9 euros per page, so a 500 page SF novel will net the translator: 4,000-4,500 euros.

    These are, of course, just round numbers, but since the print runs for most SF is usually 2-4,000 copies, and most of the Spanish SF publishers tradtionally pay little or no advances for the local authors, you can see why most of the Spanish SF writers can’t afford to write their own work instead of translating the work of others.

    Some Spanish SF writers were even selling their books into France for publication in French without ever having had an edition in Spanish (though the books were written in Spanish).

    Things have begun to change, lately, with a number of publishers (both specialty SF and corporate) trying some local authors.

    (Of course, some SF houses here rely on fans for their translations. One house pays a measly 3 Euros a page, which is quite noticeable when one reads the poor-quality of the translations.)

  9. When it gets translated into Navajo, Eskimo and Samoan, you know you’ve made it!

  10. Pheh. Spanish. Go for the language of the Vikings. I mean, Gamall Maður Stríð sounds cool, right? (Pronounced Ga-matl Ma-thur Streeth, with the emphasis on the first syllable of each word.)

  11. I usually translate sf into Spanish, so I find the news quite interesting. Just out of curiosity, which publisher bought the rights?

    I do not think they would translate the title as “La guerra del viejo”. Somehow it does not sound right. Maybe the translator will offer you a few possibilities to choose from. I have done that a few times.

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