Thursday, August 15, 2013

Alles Gute zum Geburtstag zu den Chroniken von Ninavel!

I may not have a book releasing this year in the US, but I've got a "book birthday" coming up tomorrow in Germany!  August 16 is the official release day for The Whitefire Crossing's German edition, a.k.a. Die Chroniken von Ninavel: Die Blutmagier.  My fingers are crossed that German  fantasy readers will enjoy Dev and Kiran's adventures!  Just yesterday I officially signed and sent back the contract for the German edition of The Tainted City, and I hear the publisher also wants to see The Labyrinth of Flame as soon as I finish it, so I have every hope the entire trilogy will be available auf Deutsch before too long.

Haha, and for any readers who wince at Dev's profanity in the Shattered Sigil books - you can always give the German versions a try!  When I took a peek at the preview my German publisher made available through Google books, I discovered to my combined surprise and amusement that all of Dev's f-bombs have been carefully translated out.  ("You've got to be fucking kidding me" => "Boy, you've got to be kidding me"; "Fuck you, Cara" => "Don't you talk, Cara"; etc.)  I've no idea of the publisher's reasons - maybe they want to aim for a younger readership, or maybe German fantasy readers are more bothered by profanity?  While it's true Dev's foul mouth was a deliberate choice on my part, I'm not upset over the change, since I figure the Germans know their market best.  (Besides, the English versions of the books are still exactly as I wrote them.  No harm, no foul...so to speak. :)  It does make me wonder if other foul-mouthed fantasies (e.g. Joe Abercrombie's) have been cleaned up in translation.  Perhaps I will dust off my rusty German and go read some to find out!

6 comments:

  1. Happy book birthday! Such a great cover. No swords, and the script seems like channel patterns.

    I had to check out that German, and it's surprising how they mark their dialogue. I also found a handy phrase - whenever someone says something I don't like, I'll just say, "Ich schnaubte aufgebracht." In Dev, that says, "I made a disgusted noise." Google translates it as "I snorted applied." :-)

    About translating swears, LG Smith just featured a Serbian translator on her blog, and what really surprised me was how in some countries profanity is based more on the sacred, where here it's sexual stuff. Whatever your hang-up is, I guess.

    See question #4 and Debra's comment a third of the way down the page.

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    1. Yes, the cover script is super cool! I'm really looking forward to seeing what cover they come up with for The Tainted City.

      And wow, that was a fascinating interview on LG's blog, thanks for sharing the link! It certainly makes sense that profanity doesn't translate directly. To clarify what I said in the post, it's not that I would have necessarily expected Dev to be saying a literal translation (e.g. "Fick dich, Cara!" - and his adjectival use of "fucking" is far less easily translatable, heh!). I was a bit surprised though that the translator didn't simply substitute an equivalently strong, culturally-appropriate profane expression. But I certainly yield to the translator's knowledge of the market.)

      But I think the only scene so far in the series where I'll be truly disappointed if Dev's language gets watered down is the scene in Ch 7 of The Tainted City where he's furious at Marten. (Because there, it isn't just colorful dialect; it's the only way Dev has available to express the hatred and rage he's feeling. So I hope the translation reflects that!)

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  2. Just checked that chapter, and I think Dev’s anger will carry perfectly clear through his gestures and oaths, and how he tries to knife him. But it does make me wonder, what’s German for goat? :-)

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    1. I was thinking more of the later part of the scene, after Dev's attempt to leave is halted...but yeah, no doubt you're right. Heh, I hear German cursing often involves pigs/swine...that's not so far off from goat, right? :)

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  3. Kind of makes me wish I could read German. I could probably puzzle my way through it if I had to, though I'm somewhat well-known amongst my friends for my off-the-cuff bad translations. Best example was a fortune cookie's French side saying, "Vous friez un bon avocat." It means, "You would make a good lawyer." My brain told me it meant, "You fry a good avocado." So part of me wants to read the German edition just to see what kind of linguistic mess I make of it!

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    1. Ha! Love it. Clearly you should be a UN translator. :)

      I myself am quite looking forward to receiving my author copies - I figure it'll be an excellent way to expand my German vocabulary! I learned as much of the language as I could before my husband and I visited his relatives in the Tirol in Austria. I did this CD-based course that the State Dept used to use to train diplomats. It was great for quickly learning how to understand spoken German...but the vocab was all extremely formal. ("Pardon me, good sir, but I need to discuss export regulations with the appropriate embassy official.") I'm hoping the German version of Dev can teach me some far less formal slang. :)

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