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May 08, 2006

Next Year in Jerusalem

Old Man's War has sold in Israel.

I am almost absurdly excited by the idea of seeing the book in Hebrew.

That is all.

Posted by john at May 8, 2006 07:22 PM

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Eric Berlin | May 8, 2006 08:59 PM

Mazel tov!

Cassie | May 9, 2006 12:18 AM

Do you get copies of all these translated versions?

John Scalzi | May 9, 2006 12:21 AM

Yes I do!

Lisa | May 9, 2006 04:13 AM

Excellent! I will have my sister-in-law get me a copy.

Do you know how to sign your name in Hebrew?

John Scalzi | May 9, 2006 07:09 AM

Heh. Given my signature, it could be any language at all.

Yaron | May 9, 2006 10:12 AM

From personal experience most book translations to Hebrew range from mere lousy to terrible. In book after book you can find sentences that make no sense whatsoever unless you translate them literally back to English to see where the translator went wrong (my favourite example being a case about three fourths into an SF book where the protagonist looked through a telescope on the moon, and saw the terminator. Which got translated as an exterminator, rather as the line between the bright and dark sides of the moon. And never mind that no such exterminator was mentioned in the book before, or after, that sentence.).
This isn't necessarily because all Israeli translators are inherently bad (except the one who translated fig ice-cream as pig ice-cream, a delicacy I'm still trying in vain to find), but because the pay is very low. Most people with good language skills are doing it temporarily, and without caring much, or are doing something else.

And that's before you add the general problem with translations, even into languages which are similar, which is the loss of the writer's style. Usually if a book is good, or an author is considered good, a large percentage of the reason is the style of the writer. But in translations you get the style of the translator, no matter how good the translator is, and how hard they try to stay close to the original.
But while writers are selected based on writing style, translators aren't.

Yaron | May 9, 2006 10:15 AM

Oh, sorry, that was pretty rude of me: Congratulations.

Getting your book translated into another language means both more sales, and that someone thought about it and decided it's probably good enough to warrant the investment.

John Scalzi | May 9, 2006 11:08 AM


"pig ice-cream, a delicacy I'm still trying in vain to find"

That's, like, ultra treyfe ice cream.

Naomi | May 9, 2006 02:48 PM

Mazel tov! I had a short story translated into Hebrew. My Hebrew language skills are not good enough that I have any clue at all whether the translation was done well, but I was able to parse out my own name and that was pretty exciting. There's something extra exciting about being translated into an entirely different alphabet.

emeraldcite | May 9, 2006 03:53 PM

Congrats! Maybe Old Man's War will bring peace and stability to the region.

John Scalzi | May 9, 2006 04:05 PM

It would be nice.

Yaron | May 10, 2006 12:03 PM

That's, like, ultra treyfe ice cream.
That's alright, I don't keep kosher.
Congrats! Maybe Old Man's War will bring peace and stability to the region.
Couldn't do any worse than any of the other attempts.
But that will require an additional translation into Arabic. Any in the works?

John Scalzi | May 10, 2006 12:17 PM

Not to date, although that would be cool.

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