When I heard Trading Tatiana was going to be published in Spain, I was of course delighted on one level.
On another, I was filled with dread.
Who would do the translation?
How could I expect anyone to agonise for hours over the correct word to use ... the right image ... the most powerful phrase ... in the way that I had?
What if they didn't get the voice and the intentions behind it?
What if they hated the book, as I'm sure must happen sometimes to translators?
Or - perhaps even worse from my point of view - what if they had very different politics and subtly changed the slant in ways undetectable to the editor who presumably had never read the original English version?
Eventually, via Steve Redwood whose wonderful book, Fisher of Devils, has been translated by the same person, I had a name - Frank Schleper - and the reassurance that he was one of the good guys.
And people I know who have seen both versions have told me it's a faithful translation.
Then, in the dying embers of the old year, I received an email from the man himself.
And I knew at last that my baby had been in a safe and caring pair of hands.
With Frank's permission, I'm reproducing part of our conversation that lead me to say the man is a hero of the first order.
this is Frank, "your translator" into Spanish (of Trading Tatiana). I meant to write earlier but somehow never got around to it. But now that I finally finished reading"Nirvana Bites" there's no way to put off writing any longer. I very much enjoyed the book, maybe even a bit more than Tatiana because in many ways I "feel" a little closer to Jen than to Jo, but basically I enjoyed the story, the suspense and the wit just the same in both books. One of the things Jen and me have in common is that it is not easy for us to cry, but I finally did last nite when her drugged schizophrenic brother finally recognizes her.
Hi Debi, I like your comparisons with kidneys and adopted kids, especially the second one, and your "safe hands" expression. And I am glad to hear (from what you wrote further down) that there's somebody out there who thinks I am a good adoptive parent.
I have been in love with books for most of my life. I would not mind to be able to write (I mean, as good as you or Steve, for example), but since I am not, translating as well as possible is the least I can do to pay you guys back at least a small part of what I have received spiritually, emotionally, humourously and a bunch of other -lys, too. It was a real privilege for me to translate Tatiana, after having read it first and written the reader's report.
Frank - Ah now you see this is the point you got me and I fell hopelessly in love with you. Starting with such a passionate love of books would have had me weak at the knees on its own but then spicing it up with the concept of paying something back – something I believe in passionately in every area of my life …. My heart is yours forever, Frank!