You knew that 'translation' comes from 'trans' = 'across' and 'ferre' = 'to carry'. Well, obviously. (Actually the Latin verb's about as irregular as you can get, and the past participle is 'latum'.)

The little passage in my previous post, on transatlantic translation (ha!) was not an extract from any of my books or stories, but just a hasty example. Clunkiness disappears during rewrites -- we hope -- and right now I'm deeply into the Dark Blood rewrite.

A couple of days back, I received my copies of TRISTOPOLIS, being the Heyne-Verlag German edition of Bone Song, as translated by Peter Robert. Just dipping into the book tells me that Peter has performed a marvellous job, as I expected after we'd swapped emails during the process.

Just looking at the first page, when Donal looks up at the dark tower which is Police HQ, the English edition reads (three paragraphs down):

"Son of a bitch," he muttered.

From the shadows came a low growl.

"No offence," he added.

And in Tristopolis, we read:

"Hundesohn," murmelte er.

Aus den Schatten kam ein leises Knurren.

"Du doch nicht," setzte Donal, ebenso leise hinzu.

This isn't a literal translation, but it is an exact translation. And it was just the first example I noticed. (And I absolutely do not claim my German is good enough to pick up all the subtleties.)

I realized a while ago that if I bought DVDs of American movies while in Germany or Switzerland or France, I would have the local German or French soundtrack in addition to the American. A good way to practice languages. From home, I simply go to, or Technology rules.

See, my German might not be good enough to follow the movie first time, but if I've already heard it in English, then I'll pick up a lot more.

And here's the really neat thing. Once I've finished the Dark Blood rewrite, I'm going to sit down and read Tristopolis all the way through. What a fantastic treat, to be able to work through a language lesson based on my story!


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