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First literary work : is it always like that?
Thread poster: Pierre Bancov
Pierre Bancov  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:24
Member (2008)
Japanese to French
+ ...
Jan 22, 2009

Hello,

I am right now awaiting the beginning of tractations between the original publisher and the probable publisher on my home market, but the deals seems to be a matter of time.
I had to do a small sample (well, small is used loosely here) to show both publishers and they seem quite satisfied with it, so it looks like I will indeed be the person for the job.

Now, I have been waiting a lot in this deal (several publishers were tried) and I always looked back at these books and sort of gathered notes about the difficulties of the other volumes (it's an long series) during my spare time, so I get the feeling I actually worked quite a long time on this, and to be honest it's sometimes sapping my mind, i.e. I just stop feeling like working as soon as I open the datas and look at how to progress further through the text.
What I'm saying is, does translating a book or a series of books always involve that? I feel like I'm battling against some huge monster and my nerves are tested.

If everything goes as planned, I'm expected to work on this for months - is there a pattern to respect so as not to go crazy?
Or do I just worry too much? I don't think one can really put out a literary translation with a whole team of translators - each would have their own style, you can't do that - or can you? If you could, I guess it takes away the whole "going mad working alone in here" bit, but I somehow doubt you can.

Also, I find myself wondering about really random things like "do I have to register the title under my name?" or "why is it I find typos after 32 spellchecks?" and this is quite a new development to me.

What I'm asking is, I guess, is this normal or am I not cut for that kind of work?


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Arnaud HERVE  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 23:24
English to French
+ ...
Don't worry, be happy Jan 22, 2009

I suggest you have a good meal of something excellent.

Then, since you're into JP, watch the anime called Witch Nurse Komugi. It should help you relax.

Everybody is nervous first time))


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Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 00:24
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
Who knows? Jan 22, 2009

If this all makes you crazy you possibly are not well suited for this kind of work. Can't you just start something else like translating web-pages etc?. Have you tried Yoga or meditation?
Cheers
Heinrich


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Marie-Céline GEORG  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 23:24
English to French
+ ...
Sorry, it often goes like that Jan 22, 2009

Hi Pierre,
In the world of freelance translation, whether literary or not, there's no such thing as a regular workload, we either have not enough or too much to do
You have to keep calm and wait. If you feel that you have already devoted too much time to that project, take a break and work on something else until the publisher gives you some news. You won't have lost your time anyway, even if you don't get the contract (which I hope for you won't happen) you will have learned something about how to organise yourself for that kind of long-term work, for example.

Organisation depends on how you usually work, but you may try to define a schedule by chapter or by volume, alternating translation and proofreading.
Spellchecking 32 times and still finding typos is unfortunately quite usual. Don't worry too much about this, it can be more useful to spellcheck a text after doing something else - another chapter for instance – for a while so that your brain forgets a bit which word it expects to read and start to pay attention to what's really written.

You're right about team translation, it can be more difficult to ensure consistency if there are several persons involved. But if you're working with one colleague you know well enough to be sure that you have similar styles, it can be worth trying. With a series of books it might be possible as people won't be reading several books at the same time, so small style differences may be unimportant.

As for your name, it depends on the contract you will sign with the publisher, but basically your name should be mentioned - inside title page for instance, or back cover.

If you start worrying too much about something, you may feel better talking about it - I hope that this thread will help you evacuate some of that stress.
Cheers
Marie-Céline


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Jack Doughty  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 22:24
Member (2000)
Russian to English
+ ...
Can confirm a couple of points Jan 22, 2009

I translated a novel in 2007. About a quarter of it had already been done by someone else, and I agreed to do that on a proofreading/editing basis at a much lower charge. But it was a poor translation, and it took me more time, proportionately, to do that part. I had thought I would find it more difficult when I finished that and had to do the rest on my own, but in fact it was a lot easier.
I didn't keep count of the proof-readings, but they could well have totalled 32 or more, and like you, I still kept finding typos.
But I developed a good relationship with the agent and the author, who were always very helpful with any problems I passed to them.
I look back on that translation as the most enjoyable job I have ever done, and I hope you come to feel the same.

[Edited at 2009-01-22 13:59 GMT]


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Amy Duncan  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 20:24
Portuguese to English
+ ...
I find it enjoyable Jan 22, 2009

I've done a few books, and am working on one now, and I enjoy it more than any other kind of work. I just pull it out every day (unless I have a tight deadline for some other job) and work on it. It's creative and interesting, unlike lots of other jobs out there.

But, you never know...it may not be your "thing." Try it this time and see...maybe it will turn out to be your "thing."


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Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 00:24
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
Apropos proofreading Jan 22, 2009

Many times when reading a novel, translated or not, I thinks why hasn't the chap given it to someone else to read before publishing. You simply cannot find all your typos yourself, it saves time and money to let someone else take care of it. If the text is good you could have it even for free.
Regards
Heinrich


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Tomás Cano Binder, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 23:24
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
That's what professional proofreaders are for! Jan 22, 2009

Heinrich Pesch wrote:
Many times when reading a novel, translated or not, I thinks why hasn't the chap given it to someone else to read before publishing. You simply cannot find all your typos yourself, it saves time and money to let someone else take care of it. If the text is good you could have it even for free.


Exactly. That's what professional proofreaders do. Translation is one thing, proofreading literary texts is something for professional reviewers and is a quite specific kind of work.


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Pierre Bancov  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:24
Member (2008)
Japanese to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Interesting Jan 22, 2009

Thank you for all your input, it does seem like taking up literary translation is just not the usual task.

I am somewhat relieved to see that it's actually pretty normal and that I just have to learn how to cope with that situation. The book is fascinating, but seeing it day after day after day is... well it feels strange.

Oh, btw Arnaud: I prefer playing amateur RPGs and visual novels but thanks for the tip.


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Alexandra Taggart  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 01:24
Russian to English
+ ...
absolutely correct, but.. Jan 22, 2009

It all depends how much time you are given. I may feel cooler next day, my mood may turn placid and I would read my own translation, smile and put everything nicely, the way it should be. But the head could be hot next day...Correcting, slaying with a sword, the dust bin is full and the husband is guilty. That makes me think that not every good translator could be a good proofreader, your own personality matters as well.

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Lingua 5B  Identity Verified
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Local time: 23:24
Member (2009)
English to Croatian
+ ...
With Amy and Tomas Jan 25, 2009

My feelings are the same as Amy's. I enjoy very much doing literary translation and revision and it is never tiring, but quite the contrary. Perhaps it is just not your cup of tea ?

Also, as Tomas nicely observed, translation and proofreading are two different disciplines ! The work should be reviewed by a professional proofreader or an experienced writer.


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ayala  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:24
Japanese to French
+ ...
About your name on the book Feb 2, 2009

As for your name, it depends on the contract you will sign with the publisher, but basically your name should be mentioned - inside title page for instance, or back cover.

Reply:


I recommend you ask for your name to appear in the cover page. It's important for you (and your ego !). Some
publishers don't do that but I think it should be normal. It has to be written on the contract, for sure.

I myself enjoy the long job that literary translation represents.
I just have a hard time to find editors for translations that I think interesting to be published...
If anyone can give me ideas to get more books to translate... ?! I'd be happy !


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Geraldine Oudin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Japanese to French
+ ...
Need any help ? Mar 20, 2009

Well, if this is JP>FR translation, you have an experienced person here always ready to help!

From what I could read I don't think you have many reasons to be worried about. Relax, work on something else in the meanwhile...

Maybe more reflexion is required before starting literqry translation than for technical translations, but don't worry!
Don't forget it will allow you to spend months focusing on work without the stress of looking for clients. And that, to me, is one of the best sides of literary translation. It might be hard to go back to the daily business after that, though...but maybe you will just stick to your books.

頑張ってください~


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