Language learning for kicks…starting our sluggish brain oppure come imparare una nuova lingua e far ripartire il cervello.

I am learning German.

Actually I’ve been wanting to, and occasionally working towards, learning German for a couple of years now… I just get swamped with work and writing so I keep leaving it. Ever since I watched “Wings of Desire” (in German with subtitles, of course, the only way a foreign film should be watched) I realised that German was not a harsh language at all, it can be beautiful, poetic, and just lovely.

When I started running, after my third pregnancy, to try and lose the weight, I realised that when they said it makes you feel good they weren’t kidding. It would me a true “runner’s high” and I could physically feel those serotonin levels rising. Unfortunately, it also caused a little bone to fall through my foot and thus I was diagnosed (eventually) with hypermobility. So no more running for me. NEVERTHELESS!

The point is, learning a new language, gives you a similar thrill. At first you might feel clumsy, foggy, lazy… then something clicks and bang! Your brain is thanking you, as though you’d given it fresh water after a walk through the desert (what a terribly obvious image, I know, I did imply my brain felt sluggish).

So don’t be lazy, watch those foreign films in their original language (I loved watching Black and Stranger* on Netflix: Koraean drama!), read a book and choose a language to learn!

It puzzled me that they shared a similar storyline (in many elements!). Does anyone know anything about Korean dramas that I don’t?

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Sto imparando il tedesco.

In realtà, è da un paio d’anni che ho iniziato ad imparare il tedesco … Poi vengo sommersa dal lavoro e dalla scrittura, quindi continuo a lasciarlo.

Da quando ho visto “Il Cielo sopra Berlino” (in tedesco con i sottotitoli, ovviamente, l’unico modo per guardare un film straniero) mi sono resa conto che il tedesco non è affatto un linguaggio duro, può essere bello, poetico e piacevolissimo. Qua il video della poesia iniziale con la versione doppiata se proprio volete farvi del male (altrimenti più su trovate quella con i sottotitoli in inglese), e qua invece la traduzione della poesia in italiano.

Quando ho iniziato a correre per cercare di perdere peso dopo la mia terza gravidanza, mi sono resa conto che quando dicevano che correre ti fa sentire bene non stavano scherzando. Era un vero “runner high”, un forte senso di euforia, e sentivo fisicamente quei livelli di serotonina che salivano. Sfortunatamente, ha anche fatto sì che “cadesse” un ossicino del piede, per cui mi è stata diagnosticata (eventualmente) l’ipermobilità. Quindi niente più corse per me. COMUNQUE!

Il punto è che imparare una nuova lingua ti dà un brivido simile. All’inizio potresti sentirti goffo, ottuso, pigro … poi qualcosa scatta e bang! Il tuo cervello ti ringrazia, come se gli avessi dato acqua fresca dopo una passeggiata nel deserto (che immagine terribilmente ovvia, lo so, avevo infatti sottinteso che il mio cervello si fosse impigrito).

Quindi non impigrirti, guardati quei film stranieri nella loro lingua originale (mi è piaciuto guardare Black and Stranger * su Netflix: drammi coreani!), leggiti un libro e scegliti una lingua da imparare!

*Mi ha confuso che condividessero una trama simile (in molti elementi!). Qualcuno sa qualcosa dei drammi coreani che io non conosco?

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Translator of…

FRASAR – An Improbable Life: The Prologue, Dawn, First Travels

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and

FRASAR _ An Improbable Life: Antipodium

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or… Parts 1 and 2 of World Bank Consultant Francesco Paolo Sarno’s incredible biography.

 

Also, writer of The House of Blue

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Help a Zoom out – buy a FRASAR book today.

Italiano sotto!

This is my dog Zoom:

 

ZoomDisperato

As you can plainly see, he is a desperate, sad, miserable doggy.

This is him with a beautiful friend of mine:

AleZoom

She understands him.

Every time you buy a copy of FRASAR’s adventure biography book “An Improbable Life” (Book I) from my shop on Amazon (click this), I pack it carefully, call Zoom and we gleefully make our way to the Post Office. He is transformed into a Happy Dog.

Consider buying a copy: not only will you read the beginning of a truly wonderful adventure, translated by me from the original Italian, its cover

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beautifully illustrated by my artist husband Paolo Puggioni, not only will you help me overcome my social anxiety by getting me out of the house, but you will also ensure that Zoom, who is now pushing 12 and is quite a respectable age, with a few aches and pains and very like a grumbly old man, gets a short fun walk.

Do it for yourself, do it for me, but more importantly, do it for Zoom.

Help a Zoom, buy a FRASAR book today.

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Aiutate uno Zoomone, acquistate un libro di FRASAR oggi!

Questo è Zoom, il mio cane:

ZoomDisperato

Come potete chiaramente vedere, è un cagnolone disperato, triste, e desolato.

Questo è lui on una nostra amica bellissima:

AleZoom

Lei lo capisce.

Ogni volta che acquistate una copia dell’avventura biografica “Una Vita Improbabile” (Libro I) , versione inglese, dal mio negozio su Amazon (cliccate qua), io lo confeziono con attenzione, chiamo Zoom e insieme usciamo tutti felici verso l’ufficio postale. Lui così diventa un Cane Felice.

Vi prego di considerare di acquistarne una copia: non solo leggerete la prima parte di un’avventura davvero meravigliosa, tradotta da me dall’originale italiano (questa edizione non ha l’illustrazione di Paolo, ma le prossime edizioni l’avranno), la copertina

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illustrata da mio marito, l’illustratore  Paolo Puggioni; non solo mi aiuterete a superare la mia ansia sociale facendomi uscire di casa, ma vi assicurete anche che Zoom, che ora va verso dei venerabili dodici anni, con i suoi acciacchi e dolori e molto simile a un vecchio borbottone, si faccia una breve passeggiata.

Fatelo per voi, fatelo per me, ma soprattutto, fatelo per Zoom.

Aiutate uno Zoomone, acquistate un libro di FRASAR oggi.

The best feedback/Il miglior commento

*Italiano sotto*

As a translator, I should really post more often about the challenges we face. That “we” is important: before the internet, blogging and forums, it was very easy to be isolated while working, and not really know how working as a translator was for other translators!

The best feedback I received in the past few years for my work was “Ti Lovo!” (I love you in Italenglish), as a reply to my sending forward the very rough first draft of the first quarter of the book. To me it summed up so much. It meant my author (whom I am translating from Italian into English, but is very fluent in English himself) was happy with the way I was treating his baby, his work. Considering its part-autobiographical/part-fictional nature, it also meant he was happy with the way I was treating his confessions, and his history. I was so touched I struggled with the right response then gave up and just didn’t, I don’t think there was any need.

What I would have wanted to say was… thank you. Thank you for realising the care and feeling I put into my work. Thank you for knowing that although the beauty of translating for a living author is that you can give me constant feedback and I can sharp-tune my reading of your text to exactly how you feel it should be, so I expect to review it and review it again, changing it and tweaking it, I feel you recognise that I care about your work, and a lot of effort goes into trying to grasp your meaning, your choice of words, style, and your content and redeliver it to a whole new set of readers as closely as possible.

True, as translators will often find, it already means a lot to us when you accept our quote to begin with, giving us the respect you’d give any other tradesperson. It would mean even more if you pay the advances as asked and pay promptly when agreed. That, however, just seems to be something you need to accept when doing this job: as a freelance translator, you can expect that a) you will not usually be paid as agreed b) they will ask you to charge as little as possible, but expect you to deliver a luxury-rate job that requires four times the amount of hours and therefore charge they were willing to pay for c) they will sometimes turn their back and say “job done, goodbye”, which can be very saddening. It happens a lot that a translator is seen as someone you feed a file to, and he or she spits it out translated.

So, to occasionally have very good and professional people pay you on the dot and respect your work, such as La Mura or La Moka (site updating, please bear with them) in Italy: extremely professional companies, should you ever need their services (maybe it’s the La in their name:)), or to have someone truly appreciate and value your work, is cause for extreme jubilation.

P.S. After translating myself into Italian below, I realise how what according to me is an absolutely perfect translation into Italian of my English thoughts, wouldn’t be considered as such by most clients. They would argue there seem to be parts missing, text is misplaced and not every word was rendered or too many were added. And yet, most translators would probably agree with me that given the chance (and customer trust), this is closer to how we would translate.

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Il miglior commento al mio lavoro che io abbia ricevuto negli ultimi anni é stato dall’autore il cui libro sto traducendo in questo periodo. Premesso che questo libro é parte-autobiografia parte-romanzo, quindi un lavoro ancora più personale del già intimo lavoro di qualsiasi autore, avere come risposta alla mia mail contentente la prima bozza di traduzione del primo quarto del suo libro “Ti lovo” (ti amo in itanglese) mi ha fatto gioire e mi ha commossa.

Vorrei scrivere più spesso di quanto sia difficile questo lavoro, da un punto di vista personale. Quando non c’era internet era più difficile capire che per la stragrande maggioranza dei traduttori la vita é cosi: clienti che ti chiedono il prezzo più basso che più basso non si può che tu, normalmente facendo una fatica pazzesca a trovare lavoro, ti trovi ad accettare. Dopodiché però pretendono una qualità da lavoro di lusso… che richiederebbe a te quattro volte il tempo e l’impegno per cui loro hanno pagato. Per carità, lo fai, ma così facendo ti precludi altri lavori, e quindi altre entrate per compensare la minima paga che ti hanno conveinta ad accettare. Insomma, fare il traduttore se non sei assunto da una grossa azienda o se non sei parte del “giro protetto” vuol dire lavorare come un pazzo se vuoi camparci.

Spesso però, vuole anche dire non avere un granché di ritorno da parte dei tuoi clienti: frettolosi, indifferenti, credo che spesso pensino che un traduttore sia una macchina in cui carichi un file in italiano e lei te lo sputa fuori in inglese. Sarebbe anche bellissimo che i clienti ti pagassero quanto pensi di costare, che ti pagassero puntuali e come accordato, come faresti con qualsiasi altro commercio. Purtroppo questo pare essere il cruccio del mestiere: per qualche motivo, i traduttori vanno pagati quando ti pare, se ti pare (capita) e quanto ti pare.

Quando poi, come me, decidi di tradurre solo libri o comunque testi personali, ci metti tutto il tuo essere: tutta la conoscenza linguistica che hai accumulato tra studi e anni di lavoro, ma anche la tua esperienza e conoscenza di scrittore, e in più tutta la sensibilità, la conoscenza delle persone, e di come funziona il mondo. E’ vero che il lavoro l’ha scritto un altro, ma tu devi entrare nella testa e nel cuore di quella persona e ripeterne il contenuto al mondo il più fedelmente possibile. Non è davvero un lavoro semplice, per quanto sia meraviglioso, per quanto ti riempia di gratitudine, ma davvero non è una cosa che paghi alla stregua della traduzione di un fogliettino di marketing.

Ma tant’è, ogni tanto succedono cose come questa, e con un semplice “Ti Lovo” senti la gratitudine di chi ha capito che stai facendo del tuo meglio per capire lui, capire la sua scrittura e la sua storia.

P.S. Dopo aver tradotto mè stessa, mi rendo conto di come quella che per me è una traduzione fedelissima dall’inglese all’italiano (penso molto diversamente in una lingua piuttosto che nell’altra), per la maggior parte dei clienti non sarebbe affatto una traduzione! Mancano pezzi, il tono è diverso, non dico le stesse identiche cose negli stessi identici punti… Molti traduttori concorderanno con me che se potessimo, questo è più vicino a come tradurremmo: peccato che la maggior parte dei clienti non capisce che paese che vai, lingua in cui pensi, parole che usi.

Translate into English. or English. Which English?

If you look at the number of Dictionaries you can download for, say LibreOffice (a wonderful suite with which you can create and edit all the documents you can create and edit in Word except it’s FREE – you can donate, which I did as I want to encourage the lack of monopoly – and doesn’t screw you over with new docx formats and weird updates and all that) or even the Firefox browser, you will see that there is ONE for Italian, and about 5 or 6 for English.

In some suites there used to be a “Swiss Italian” but I honestly believe that was just a way in which the Swiss Italians could pretend to have some identity of their own (no offence Swiss Italians, I used to live twenty minutes from you and you honestly didn’t speak any differently from us).

English, however, is an entirely different matter.
When you are translating a technical text, it is fairly simple: once you have established where that manual is going you translate everything in exactly that country’s language. Measurements will become a paramount and obvious choice whereas for other types of texts, unless they are metric, they can be perceived as fairly arbitrary and a little crazy for us who descend from the sensible Romans.

If you are translating classical literature, again the problem is relatively simple: are you translating for an American edition or a British edition? With classical literature you tend to be fairly… well, you strive for what is closest to the author’s background, but you need to also consider what your readers are going to be like.

Because ultimately, the aim of a translation is to have that book read.

So, I had a little chat with my author yesterday via email.

At the beginning of the job, I had told him we needed to think about his preferred initial audience: are we going American, British, or Standardised European English, which is a “sensible”, well constructed but not too playful use of English?
I think because he was thinking of publishing with an English publisher first, he chose British. I then asked him: “Do you want this to be a translation that reflects the author’s voice (yours), or would you like it to be as though it were told by someone British or of any other nationality?”

This is a very important distinction, which is not always possible, but it was in this case: the novel consists in a fictional narrator who is telling the events in the life of a person who has really lived, who happens to be Italian, so the fictional narrator is telling a non-fictional account. It also happens that the person whose real life story is being told is the author himself.
Yes, it is a little confusing, though on the surface it is very similar to the picaresque novels where the author invents a fictional narrator who then tells a fictional story but that he tells as true.
So, the protagonist himself remains who he is, but the narrator could then be a generalised Italian man that the author has made up with specific characteristics, a specific Italian man with specific experiences and personality (so, basically, the author himself) or it could be someone with a different personality altogether, even an English guy.
That English guy could be an ex-high school teacher, or he could be an ex-diplomat, or he could be a postman who’d been friends with the guy. The narrator needed to have an individuality too, so that I, the translator, could transfer him into a new language.

As it stood, however, the narrator didn’t have a defined personality, so I had to asked the author: who is telling this story?
My author said “I want it told as though it were a story in its own right, told by an English person”.

So, that gave me lots of elements to play with, and I had a very clear idea in my head of how I would approach the tone of voice of this English-speaking narrator. I made the narrator up in my head, as the author seemed to not want to make up a personality for him.
As the first drafts were finished and the author started reading them, he picked up on some elements and started to change his initial indications.
The author is not a professional author, and certainly not a translator, so he has no idea how delicate this process is.
He started by pointing out that the tone of the narrator wasn’t right, because that was not how his protagonist (he himself) would describe things.
After some discussion, we agreed that the narrator and the protagonist were basically the same person, with the same value judgements, the same reactions to the events, everything.
That, of course, changed a lot. I really should have overhauled the entire translated book! This would have meant many many hours of work for me, which I didn’t feel like charging him on top of everything else (which a translator is obliged to do if he or she wants to survive) just because we hadn’t understood each other at the beginning.
Instead, I did a wide and detailed revision, and changed what I could.
My author speaks English so he is doing a lot of that himself. That will be easy for him because he can apply his own personality to this narrator, who started off a separate fictional character but it then ended up being him, the author. It was, however, a little frustrating, to say the least. We’re talking a 60000+ words book.
As he carried on reading, he pointed out that he would prefer the metres in the novel to be turned to feet, because that’s what American readers understand better.
So. Metres and feet. In England, the metric system came into force many years ago.
People, however, still feel more comfortable with yards and miles and that has remained on the road, and pints have remained more popular than litres (though they do write the litres pitifully in small letters on the bottles) and so on. In hospitals, it is funny to see the nurse struggling to explain to me what that kilogram unit means, when to me it is much more immediately understandable than the pounds and stones.
Now, when translating books from a European language that uses the metric system, especially books that are not meant solely or even primarily for a British audience, it is now starting to be common practice to leave the metrical system in. When translating for the American market, however, there is a tendency to keep things as simple as possible and therefore indeed, change those metres into feet (remember these are not technical translations so exactness is not paramount).
When my author pointed out this “little” factor (according to him), I trembled:
a) go back 60000+ words and check every instance where metric was used instead of Imperial, to maintain consistency (you shouldn’t really speak of feet and yards and then speak of litres, for example.)?
b) was he starting to think about changing the whole book into a more Americanised translation? Because THAT would mean a complete overhaul. Sentences would have to be shortened, vocabulary and construction changed, hell, spellings would need to be modified, punctuation and even tone would vary! He didn’t come back to me about that, so I’m hoping he will just leave it rather than attempt to fix it.
In this case I was dealing with someone with a relatively poor knowledge of all the language he speaks, although not very ready to admit it and trust in me.

He is not, however, an isolated case.

The greatest challenge I have come across when translating, the challenge most translators will probably recognise, is translating for someone who knows the language enough to read what you wrote.
They will always have an input. Depending on the person, this input will sometimes come in the form of “that is not what I meant” or “you have taken all my words and shifted them all about” (yes, that is often the case, especially translating very laborious sounding Italian into the simpler English form).
On the other hand, if you know the author wants the text to be as Italian looking as possible, to make him or her happy you may purposely keep a very correct English, which, however, doesn’t sound that natural. Then of course you get the British reviewer who is horrified at the elaborateness of the language, or the American one who tells you that American readers won’t read a sentence of that as it is way too abstruse!

This is one of the skills of a good Project Manager in Translating companies: they will know who the client is, what they want to see, and which translator can achieve exactly what they want.
As an independent translator, care needs to be taken in understanding your author and what he or she wants, and discuss things well in advance, before starting the work, and writing them down. I did this with the author before this one and it was a very good idea. Sometimes, as in this case, the confusion is just due to the author himself not knowing what he wants till after he’s got it in his hands.

Translating and publishing your book/Tradurre e pubblicare il tuo libro

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Ed ecco che oggi iniziano tre settimane di vacanza per la mia bambina. Al contempo, io giusto venerdì scorso (in tempo per la sua festa di compleanno) ho finito e consegnato il primo dei 5 libri su cui stavo lavorando, il che significa che adesso ho un po’ di tempo per andare avanti nel organizzazione della mia attività o accettare altri lavori (forse un paio di mesi).
Un mio amico mi domandava cosa succede nell’editoria per le traduzioni. Una delle cose che non ho ancora avuto tempo di fare da quanto ho ripreso a lavorare come traduttrice full-time è stato informarmi in modo più approfondito su questo.
Quello che ho scoperto finora, grazie ai libri che ho già tradotto, è che se sei un autore pubblicato, metti, da una casa editrice italiana che quindi possiede i diritti sul tuo libro, fare tradurre il tuo libro richiede (queste informazioni sono per l’Inghilterra, ma l’editore che me le ha spiegate mi ha detto che questo vale per tutta l’editoria almeno europea) che tu:
trovi un editore straniero, poniamo inglese.
Il tuo nuovo editore inglese, posto che abbia deciso di tradurre il tuo libro, dovrà chiedere i diritti al tuo editore italiano. SOLO il tuo editore inglese lo può fare.
Il tuo editore italiano potrà concedere o negare tali diritti alla pubblicazione della traduzione, e farà pagare al tuo editore inglese un tot.
Il tuo editore inglese dopodiché farà tradurre il tuo libro a chi vuole lui. Se sei in buoni rapporti, o sei famoso, o altre circostanze, potrai forse chiedere al tuo editore inglese di assumere il traduttore che vorresti tu. Ma è a sua discrezione. L’editore poi deciderà come viene distribuito, e via dicendo. La stessa cosa, a proposito, vale per gli illustratori, almeno a grandi linee. Se qualcuno che legge qui sa che le cose stiano diversamente si faccia sentire! 🙂

Questo significa che se vuoi avere la totale e assoluta autonomia decisionale su come sarà il tuo libro tradotto, ti conviene farlo tradurre tu PRIMA che venga pubblicato da qualche parte. Non solo potrai scegliere il traduttore che vuoi tu, ma il costo sarà quello che deciderai tu, e decidi tu se farlo o meno, e come (su che formato, eccetera) pubblicarlo.
Interessante notare che un editore cercherà sempre di far valere il proprio diritto decisionale sulle traduzioni.
Quando l’autore è invece contento che sia qualcun altro a farlo e i diritti non sono chiarissimi (come uno dei più autorevoli esperti sulla pesca sul luccio britannico, che era bene felice che lo scrittore che io stavo traducendo traducesse il suo libro), un modo per svicolare e fare come gli pare lo trova.
Ad Unlooping vogliamo sveltire questo processo, e siamo ben felici di parlare con autori, editori e traduttori perché questo piano piano avvenga.
Personalmente sto aumentando i miei contatti e piano piano vorrò conoscere sempre più traduttori, per poter poi indirizzare eventuali autori verso la persona che secondo me potrà fornire il servizio più affidabile per tradurre la loro preziosa creazione.
Io credo che più ci leggiamo, più ci apprezzeremo e ci conosceremo. Leggere e scrivere è la chiave per arrivare all’amore e alla pace, ed io desidero partecipare seppure nel mio piccolissimo ruolo in questo grande processo.

Today is the beginning of three weeks of holiday for my child. And it was just this past Friday that I finished (just in time for her birthday party) the translation into English of the first of 5 books I was working on, which means I now have a little more time to progress further in the organization of my business or to accept new jobs (perhaps a couple of months).
A friend of mine was asking me the other day what happens in the publishing business regarding translations. One of the things I haven’t had much time for since I resumed working as a full-time translate was to find out more about this subject.
What I do know so far, through the books I have been translating, is that if you are an author who has been published, say, by an English publisher, they will be the owners of the translation rights on that book. Therefore, translating your book requires that (this information is from England, but the publisher who explained them to me said that this is the case for all publishing, at least European):
you find a foreign publisher, say an Italian one.
your new Italian publisher will need to ask your English publisher for the right to translate your book. ONLY your Italian publisher can do that (not you, not your translator).
Your English publisher may or may not concede said rights for the translation, and will ask your Italian publisher to pay a certain sum if they do (they usually do, providing you pay of course).
Your Italian publisher will get your book translated by whoever they choose. If you are in a good relationship, or if you’re famous, or other circumstances, you MAY be able to request that your book is translated by the translator you chose. But it’s at their discretion. The publisher will then decide where and how it will be distributed, and so on. The same thing, by the way, goes for illustrations, at least more or less. If anybody reading this knows differently please feel free to let us know! 🙂

This means that if you want to have absolute control over your book’s translation, you had better have it translated BEFORE it is published somewhere. Not only will you then be able to chose the translator you prefer, you will pay for the translation what you decide, and decide how (on which format, etc.) you will publish it.
It is interesting to note that a publisher will always try to ensure their rights are respected when it comes to translations. But when the author is quite happy for someone else to translate their book and the rights situation is not entirely clear (as one of the greatest pike fishing experts explained when he was saying that he would be quite happy for the Italian author I was translating to translate his book) he or she will always find a way to sneak out of it.
At Unlooping we aim to speed up and unloop this process, and we are very happy to discuss things with authors, publishers and translators to make this gradually happen.
I am personally increasing my contacts and I hope to get to know an increasing number or translators and authors and publishers in order to then be able to direct each of them towards the counterpart they most need I order to look after their precious creations.
I believe that the more we read each other, the more we will cherish and know about one another. Reading and writing is key to love and peace, and I wish to play my small part in that process.

Actively seeking authors

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWell, perhaps not that actively. I am very busy after all, full time translating Frasar’s saga (we’re still unsure on the definitive English title, so it’s under wraps for now).

Ever since I decided to quit my retail job in order to go back full time into translating, and finally translating what I wanted, that is, BOOKS, I have actually been working. That has meant that all my ideas on how to expand my activity and involve lots of other wonderful people/writers/translators kind of took a back seat and just, well, stayed. The way a well-trained dog stays. Not mine. My dog would get bored. But I digress.

I just thought I should occasionally put it out there that I am actually, quite seriously, looking for people who are writers and translators and wish to gradually let me get to know them, so that I can recommend them for translations.

I have worked in translation for many, too many years. I know the rush and the compromises and the ways in which agencies are forced to work. Mine is a gamble: to work differently.

Also, having translated a few books by now, I got an idea of how the publishing sector works when it comes to translations. Is it any wonder that translated books account for a very small percentage of books read in England? No. It used to be surprising for me, but it no longer is.

It is time to change all that.

I love reading. I love different cultures, be they national, or personal. I think we should all be telling our stories, and the role of the person who helps you tell that story is paramount.

So, regardless of languages you are passionate about, and themes you are passionate about (I recently translated a book about pike fishing, and it was wonderful!), please do write to me, send me your CV, keep in touch. The pace is sloooooooow so don’t expect things to happen quickly, but I would very much like to have you in mind.

Authors, the same goes for you: whether you write about gardens, (I just found one lovely blogger whose blog is just adorable) or about adventures under the sea, contact me if you wish to translate them, and we can start to talk about it.

You can comment here, follow my blog, send me an email at writervalentina (at) gmail (dot) com, follow me on Twitter or on Facebook. Contact options are almost limitless (I don’t do phones, sorry, not a fan).