We’ve received several questions regarding translations and whether or not we feel they accurately present our work.
I don’t know. We’ve been translated to… 18? I think it’s more now – countries and obviously we do not speak the languages of all 18 countries. We are not the best judges of the quality of translation. Sometimes we have contact with the publisher and that helps with the trust. For example, I have complete confidence in our French publisher, because we’ve met Cecile in person and everything about how Mxm Bookmark handles KD indicates that they really care about our work.
But also, our books are very American. First, there are English puns.
Bale sank his hoe into the dirt. It must’ve gotten stuck, because he wrenched at it. The hoe came loose, snapping up, and flung a chunk of dirt into the air. Bale ducked.
“Has your man even held a hoe before?” Rook asked.
Stoyan grimaced. “Not that kind.”
Ilona Andrews. Iron and Magic (Kindle Locations 4239-4241).
How do you translate this joke? I have no idea. You’d probably just lose it.
Then there are references to US culture. This is especially evident in Innkeeper.
“I just had a perfectly lovely conversation with the woman who lives down the street. Her name is Emily, I believe.”
Caldenia waved her fingers.
“Yes, something or other. Apparently she grows tomatoes in her backyard.”
“Did you go off the inn grounds?”
“Of course not, dear, I’m not an imbecile. We spoke over the hedge. I would like to grow tomatoes.”
Whatever kept her occupied. “Very well. I’ll purchase some plants and gardening tools.”
“Also a hat,” Caldenia said. “One of those hideous straw affairs with little flowers on them.”
Andrews, Ilona. Clean Sweep (Innkeeper Chronicles Book 1) (pp. 84-85). NYLA. Kindle Edition.
“I’m going to grow green tomatoes, and then we’ll fry them in butter.”
“Your Grace, you’ve never tried fried green tomatoes.”
“Life is about new experiences.” Caldenia gave me a toothy smile.
“I’d eat it,” Sean said.
I stared at him.
He shrugged. “They’re good.”
“You blackmailed me. You are not invited for these theoretical fried tomatoes.”
“Nonsense,” Caldenia said. “They’re my theoretical tomatoes. You are invited.”
I sighed. That was all I could do.
Caldenia headed up the stairs and stopped.
“By the way. Back in my younger days, a man broke into my estate and stole the Star of Inndar. It was a beautiful jewel, light blue and excellent for storing light-recorded data. I was keeping my financial records on it. I’d thought the man was perhaps a revolutionary come to heroically overthrow my rule, but sadly he was just an ordinary thief motivated by money. He was a karian, and he’d hidden dozens of pouches in his flesh. Before he was captured, he’d hidden the Star somewhere in his body. I required the jewel that evening to complete a certain financial agreement, and I didn’t have time to dig through him and risk damaging the Star in the process.”
“So what did you do?” Sean said.
Never ask that question.
“I boiled him, my dear. It is still the only sure way to separate hard bits from all that flesh…”
Andrews, Ilona. Clean Sweep (Innkeeper Chronicles Book 1) (pp. 85-86). NYLA. Kindle Edition.
Would someone in Taiwan know what Piggly Wiggly is? Probably not. They probably wouldn’t catch the reference to Fried Green Tomatoes, but they could still enjoy the story.
As an side, Gordon and I watched a true crime documentary about a murder that happened in a small town in Alabama. The woman involved is being recorded during a police interview.
“And then what happened?”
“I went to the Pig.”
“And how long were you there?”
Me: What the hell is the Pig?
Gordon: I don’t know.
It’s Piggly Wiggly. I have never heard this in my entire life and Piggly Wiggly was the first US grocery store I had ever set foot in. It’s clearly a vernacular difference and this is just a neighboring state let alone another country.
I guess the moral of this story is, as an author, sometimes you have to trust and let go.