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November 15, 2006

Hebrew OMW is Here

Here's Ghlaghgheee, getting into the whole "Im In Ur [noun], [present participle verb] Ur [noun]" thing all the IntarWeeb Catz seem to be doing these days, while she's checking the Hebrew version of Old Man's War for translation errors, a task which I can honestly say she is as competent to perform as I. I'm happy to say that so far she has not noticed any major problems. I shall make the kibble flow in appreciation today, I will.

The book itself looks pretty nifty, I have to say. I've caught myself holding it upside down a couple of times, on account that Hebrew books read from right to left, and then I feel pretty damn stupid when I catch myself. I also notice there are a couple of placed where footnotes have been added in -- from what I can tell the translator has put them in when there's some idiom that doesn't elegantly translate out of English, or there's some US reference that's not clear to anything but us USians (I noted one of the footnotes had the words "Semper Fi" in the Roman alphabet, the phrase being the motto of the US Marines). Fair enough.

Can't wait to get copies of the book in other languages, too. Call me a dork, but I think it's cool having versions of my words in languages I don't understand.

Posted by john at November 15, 2006 08:36 AM

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Comments

Jon Hansen | November 15, 2006 09:06 AM

Well, since you asked so nicely:

Dork! Dork! Dorkdorkdorkdork!

There.

rita | November 15, 2006 09:12 AM

Can we have it translated to pig latin?

John Scalzi | November 15, 2006 09:16 AM

Knock yourself out, Rita. Although I suspect there's not much of a market. Pigs hardly speak Latin anymore.

Skott Klebe | November 15, 2006 09:20 AM

I'll see your dorkiness, and raise you two more.
that's a _present_ participle, not the imperfect tense - imperfect indicates an activity that the cat was doing for a while but has now stopped:
I WUZ IN UR LIBRARY REEDIN UR BOOKS
I USED 2 BE IN UR LIBRARY REEDIN UR BOOKS

Nathan | November 15, 2006 09:21 AM

O.K. I'll admit that my Hebrew skilz are way out of date (I spoke it conversationally about 25 years ago and was never a top notch reader), but I'd love to take a stab at a footnote or two. Any chance you could post a close-up of a page or two? Or maybe email me a scan of a page or two?

I'm betting that in the text, there's something "transliterated" (i.e. spelled in Hebrew letters to approximate an English pronunciation) and then translated in the footnote? Maybe the other way around? Maybe the footnote means, "This is funny in English. Trust me."

Who knows?

John Scalzi | November 15, 2006 09:21 AM

Skott Klebe:

Dork. Also: fixed.

PeterP | November 15, 2006 09:39 AM

Is Ghlaghgheee still kosher, after the bacon incident?

John Scalzi | November 15, 2006 09:48 AM

Kosher as she ever was.

John H | November 15, 2006 09:58 AM

I wonder if the translated version retains any of your typos...

Steve Buchheit | November 15, 2006 10:22 AM

Hmm, I'd check those books when Ghlaghgheee is done because you might have bacon slabs as bookmarks.

Emily | November 15, 2006 10:24 AM

Your image was: fluffyhebrew.jpg

Is "Ghlaghgheee" too cumbersome for file names?

Ruth | November 15, 2006 10:29 AM

I originally read that as "Homebrew OMW is Here," and was then confused.

John Scalzi | November 15, 2006 10:35 AM

Emily:

No, the actual Hebrew is all soft and fuzzy.

Yaron | November 15, 2006 10:43 AM

Anything especially relevant in the beginning of chapter eight, or was it just a random page because you had to choose one?

From the time I still read translated books, I remember that footnotes were very rare, and usually were reserved either for Latin phrases (because, hey, people reading English don't need any Latin phrase explained to them, only those reading Hebrew), or indeed things with cultural references that were a lot more obvious to the original audience.
On the other hand, in an SF book, where a lot of the culture is unfamiliar anyway, I find it amusing.

Making a footnote on hard to translate phrases, or transliterations, while sounds like a good idea, is not something I recall ever seeing done. Maybe the assumption is that there will be so many of these that there's no point bothering...

And I don't know about that Kosher thing... After touching bacon I think you'd have to dip her in a "Mikve" (Not sure what the English term is).
Although... cats aren't kosher anyway, so all of the above probably won't help. People might as well worry if that bacon is still kosher after being taped to a cat.

John Scalzi | November 15, 2006 10:48 AM

Yaron:

"Anything especially relevant in the beginning of chapter eight, or was it just a random page because you had to choose one?"

You'd have to ask Ghlaghghee. She's the one reading it, after all.

(Also, no. Just a convenient place to prop open the book, and the chapter heading type is large enough to be seen in a relatively small picture.)

Steve Buchheit | November 15, 2006 10:55 AM

So has Ghlaghgheee developed telekinetic powers? Or has the dog been moonlighting as a photographer?

John Scalzi | November 15, 2006 10:56 AM

Wouldn't you like to know.

JD | November 15, 2006 11:15 AM

Forgive me if this has been covered before but what is the origin of Ghlaghgheee's name? I swear I have seen the name in a book before, but I have also had some blows to the head so take that with a strip of bacon.

Nathan | November 15, 2006 11:15 AM

Yaron,

On the theoretical possibility of restoring Ghlaghgheee's kosherness, the mikvah won't cut it.

As I remember it, Mom would take the dairy fork that had touched meat and then either drop it in boiling water for 10 minutes or bury it in the backyard for a week or so.

I'm pretty sure that Scalzi (and Ghlaghgheee, too), will be content to remain treyfe (unkosher).

John Scalzi | November 15, 2006 11:20 AM

JD:

"what is the origin of Ghlaghgheee's name?"

It's an alternative spelling of "fluffy."

Yaron | November 15, 2006 11:21 AM

Nathan, as far as I know the boiling, or burying in the ground for a long while, are used for things like meat and dairy, but not for more serious things. For that you need to cleanse it in an authorized/approved/whatever still body of water, or somesuch, which is the Mikve.
Though I think it depends on the material. A glass plate for example could probably just be washed. Metal, china, and so on, to the Mikve. Not sure about cats, but since the Mikve is as far as it goes, it's either it, or impossible.

So the poor cat will have to settle for not being kosher.

Ron | November 15, 2006 11:28 AM

I thought Ghlaghgheee meant "delicious."

Dr. Phil | November 15, 2006 11:36 AM

Ghlaghgheee means "delicious with bacon."

Dr. "You know, John, these just never get old" Phil

Annalee Flower Horne | November 15, 2006 11:39 AM

In case anyone's interested, the "I'm in your ___" meme started in a webcomic called MacHall, which is about geeks at the University of Maryland. It's a quote from their strip titled "Totally Aryn's Quote." The original was "IM IN UR BASE!!! IM KILLING UR MANS!!" It started getting spread around World of Warcraft, where it turned into "Im in ur base, killing ur doodz" --probably because 'doods' are mentioned in the same strip.

That, of course led to the infamous cat picture captioned "Im in ur fridge, eating ur foodz." And from there it spread like wildfire.

(I don't even play WoW; I just like tracking internet memes. Out-dork that. I dare you).

Annalee Flower Horne | November 15, 2006 11:42 AM

On an unrelated note, my roommate the socio-linguistics major informs me that the pronunciation of "ghlaghgheee" would actually more closely resemble "Flaf'fy." To rectify this, she suggests removing the second gh.

John Scalzi | November 15, 2006 11:43 AM

No, no. It's too late now.

Steve Buchheit | November 15, 2006 11:50 AM

Annalee Flower Horne, "Out-dork that. I dare you"

I'm in ur base. All ur base belong to us.

Steve Buchheit | November 15, 2006 11:51 AM

Opps, my dork-o meter must be off, that should be:
"all ur base are belong to us."

Brian | November 15, 2006 12:12 PM

Continuing in the dorkiness, I believe that it's actually the present progressive tense, not a participle, as the relevant clause reads: "Im ... reedin ur bookz." If it were in fact a present participle, it'd have to be something like "Im teh kat reedin ur bookz in ur libury."

This is what three years of Latin in high school will do to a person. Be ye fairly warned.

<watches Steve's dork-o-meter spontaneously combust>

Scott Mactavish | November 15, 2006 12:28 PM

I think it's ghantastic that Ghlaghgheee can read a ghoreign language. One ghabulous gheline!

Diatryma | November 15, 2006 12:46 PM

Annalee, you have made me very happy with that explanation. I'm growing fond of the verbin ur noun pictures, mostly because the cats are hilarious and now I have history to back it up!
Favorite at the moment is, "I'm in ur house, stealin ur seatz."

Gina | November 15, 2006 01:23 PM

I love foreign translations of my books. The Serbian (!) translation of "Dogs For Dummies" had pictures and evaluations of eastern European breeds I've never seen. I am dying to know what I think of them!

Why do people think pets spell that way when they're on The Internets? I mean, if you pretend to believe a cat can write, why can't you pretend to believe a cat can spell?

Chang, who loves his J-Bass! | November 15, 2006 01:27 PM

Scott Mactavish | November 15, 2006 12:28 PM

I think it's ghantastic that Ghlaghgheee can read a ghoreign language. One ghabulous gheline!

Ah, Mactavish, you make a man pee his shorts with laffder.

Yaron | November 15, 2006 01:38 PM

Why do people think pets spell that way when they're on The Internets? I mean, if you pretend to believe a cat can write, why can't you pretend to believe a cat can spell?

Spelling is harder. Some cats may be talented, but there's a limit.
After all, there are very few people who can spell but can't write. But more than a few who can write but can't spell well.

Makes perfect sense.
As long as you're willing to believe cats can write, anyway.

Chang, who loves his J-Bass! | November 15, 2006 01:41 PM

George Foreman loves a good meme. Just like Phluphphy.

John Scalzi | November 15, 2006 01:47 PM

Gina:

"Why do people think pets spell that way when they're on The Internets? I mean, if you pretend to believe a cat can write, why can't you pretend to believe a cat can spell?"

No, no, Gina. Cats can spell just fine. They just do leet-speak for the fun of it.

Chang, who loves his J-Bass! | November 15, 2006 01:50 PM

Oh, and he loves a good book within the meme, too!

Karie | November 15, 2006 01:59 PM

That looks just like the my kitty Jasper I had for 10 years and someone stole him.

Jon | November 15, 2006 02:08 PM

So how do us normal mortals get foreign language copies? I don't want Hebrew. It would be interesting to look at, but the only word I recognize is shalom. German and/or Spanish might be quite interesting though. Or Russian.

John Scalzi | November 15, 2006 02:17 PM

You can probably order them online via online booksellers in those particular countries.

Steve Buchheit | November 15, 2006 02:20 PM

Gina, "Why do people think pets spell that way when they're on The Internets?"

It isn't the spelling, it's the touch typing with paws. "Ur," which can be quickly typed with two paw pad strokes, is easier than "your" which would require the use of fully separated fingers to do all three chatacters with the pads on one paw.

Jason M. Robertson | November 15, 2006 02:36 PM

Sadly, this promising image has yet to appear for me. I seem to recall this happening in some other cases for images where no other posters had difficulty. It feels suspiciously like there's some caching that isn't updating promptly between AOL and where I'm posting at UofC.

Anonymous | November 15, 2006 02:40 PM

Shouldn't it be "Im in Ur Bookz, proofreading Ur Wurdz"

Kristy | November 15, 2006 03:45 PM

Chang, your lens one is hilariously brilliant. (I laughed enough that I then had to explain the meme to a labmate. That never goes well.) It's just so....cat-like.

Rachel | November 15, 2006 03:55 PM

Haha, Brian. I agree. A participle would be more like:
I, REEDIN UR BOOKS, AM IN UR LIBARY.
Wouldn't it?
Wow. I actually translated that to latin in order to double check myself. I'm a nerd. Ego legens librum tuus, in (abl. library) sum. Right? I don't know. I'm only in Latin 2.

Ginny | November 15, 2006 04:05 PM

I kinda know how you feel.

A little more than 10 years ago I wrote a tiny little thing called "Who are the People with Multiple Sclerosis?" and sent it along an an e-mail list I was part of. People liked it, and asked if they could pass it along.

Over the past decade or so it has been translated (that I know of) into Hebrew, Spanish,French and Italian, and been used by local support chapters in at least 5 countries.

Some day, I'd like to have similar success with writing that I get paid to do...but still, it's a cool feeling to know I wrote something that people identify with and want to pass along.

Andrew Lambdin-Abraham | November 15, 2006 04:05 PM

Oops,
"Im in Ur Bookz, proofreading Ur Wurdz"
was me.

Gina | November 15, 2006 04:24 PM

John, I think you're right. Cats are doing it on purpose, perhaps to annoy us, perhaps to mislead us. But there's no way a cat can't spell or use correct grammar. That's just the kind of people they are.

Sarah | November 15, 2006 04:32 PM

My cat, a Ghlaghghee look alike, occasionally posts on my blog. But his spelling is always impeccable. He has seven toes on each front paw, you see. That MUST be the explanation.

Scott Mactavish | November 15, 2006 04:55 PM

Seven toes? I know a Vietnamese Restaurant just off of Canal that will pay a premium.

Dane | November 15, 2006 05:16 PM

We have a cat named Toad that has seven toes on each foot...a grand total of 28 toes. What can I get for that (he's otherwise worthless)?.

Nathan | November 15, 2006 05:24 PM

Scott,

You're just lying and trying to get the tourists' hopes up. You know damned well those guys breed their livestock in the basement and wouldn't pay a dime. Don't matter how many freakin' toes.

Scott Mactavish | November 15, 2006 06:32 PM

Nathan:

Dude! Keep it on the down-low!

I've been hocking Subway Puppies to tourists for months now, and making a bloody fortune.

Buchheit's cashing in his 401 and coming to the city to pick up a half dozen 'pure breds' from the 'C' tunnel. Keep it under your hat and I'll cut you in on the nut.

Chang, who loves his J-Bass! | November 15, 2006 07:12 PM

"Subway Puppies"

That's funny. I used to get loaded and chase subway puppies around Washington Square Park. While pretending to be Scottish.

It was '87, whaddya want?

Scott Mactavish | November 15, 2006 07:33 PM

When I was at NYU back in the early '90s, there was a kid that did stand-up in one of those empty fountain basins in Washington Square Park. He would draw hundreds of on-lookers, several times a day, and absolutely kill. He was a no-name then.
He was/is:

Dave Chappelle, recently of Ohio.

[Chang: Did you do the Groundskeeper Willie accent? We of the clan love that guy.]

Chang, who loves his J-Bass! | November 15, 2006 08:03 PM

Chappelle?! Shoot, I wish I'd seen that.

Nah, my accent was more Michael Palin's from Monty Python. Wicked bad. But it got me a free bottle of Cisco once. That was some special hangover!

Nathan | November 15, 2006 08:39 PM

Ohhh, Riiight. THOSE puppies.

Sure, Steve, Comen' gettum. These guys fetch top dollar. Sure to win best of breed at every show.

(Wink, Wink)

(How'd I do Scott?)

(Did I say that out loud) D'oh!

Steve Buchheit | November 15, 2006 08:45 PM

Cashing in my 401, I thought you meant for me to bring my Formula 401 bottle and we'd "C" and clean them?

Gwen | November 15, 2006 10:42 PM

No, no, no. The cats spell perfectly on the Internet; it's the *humans* who get it wrong. Haven't you guys ever been owned by a cat?

Paul | November 15, 2006 11:56 PM

Yaron and Nathan can debate the issue of restoring Ghlaghghee's "kosherness" as long as they like. It doesn't change the basic truth of John's statement that she remains as "Kosher as she ever was."

Nsh | November 16, 2006 02:04 AM

How did Ghlaghghee got the book ?
It aint growing on trees and Hebrew translations are not common.

"(I noted one of the footnotes had the words "Semper Fi" in the Roman alphabet, the phrase being the motto of the US Marines). Fair enough."

Yes, it was a good informative footnote. I haven't seen a Marine soldier up close and I'm not planning to do so in the near future.

In a serious note: Has the Hebrew publisher contacted you regarding TAD ?

John Scalzi | November 16, 2006 04:35 AM

Nsh:

"Has the Hebrew publisher contacted you regarding TAD ?"

Nope. They'd deal with my agent, anyway. But it's a little early for that; they'll probably want to see if the book performs well first.

Yaron | November 16, 2006 10:10 AM

Yaron and Nathan can debate the issue of restoring Ghlaghghee's "kosherness" as long as they like. It doesn't change the basic truth of John's statement that she remains as "Kosher as she ever was."

No, John was perfectly correct there. She wasn't kosher to begin with, and so isn't kosher now.
I don't think there's a difference between being not kosher because you're a cat, and being not kosher because you're a cat who had bacon plastered to you. But I could be wrong.

and Hebrew translations are not common.

I haven't been to a local new books store recently, so I can't say how visible is the translated OMW on the shelves. But I think usually when they go through the effort of publishing a translated book they try to make sure it gets some visibility. I'd be surprised if they won't show up on almost all Steimatzki and Sifri stores, and that's about where people who want new Hebrew books go to.

Assuming the book came through Israel that is, and it isn't some odd Hebrew publication in the US.

Yes, it was a good informative footnote. I haven't seen a Marine soldier up close and I'm not planning to do so in the near future.

I don't know about that. I've seen very few US Marines myself, them being rather scarce in Israel. But I still know it's their way of saying they'll stay loyal forever, just as long as they're allowed to be lazy and not say long complicated words like "Fidelis". ;-)
I expect most people here, especially the crowd who are potential readers of books like OMW, would know that as well.

Ori | November 16, 2006 02:26 PM

The book is already in stores. AFAIR, Stimatzki, the largest book store chain in the country, usually doesn't have translated sci-fi books facing forward, so you can only see their spine.

Here's a link to the book's page where you can see the cover:
http://www.ibooks.co.il/NS_GetProdInfo.asp?prodid=10072569

Last month around the 10th there was a sci-fi / fantasy / horror geek convention in Israel (http://promo.icon.org.il/eng/). While waiting for Neil Gaiman to come on stage, I noticed someone sitting in front of me was reading the translated novel, so I guess people know it's out :)

Nsh | November 19, 2006 03:13 AM

Yaron

"I expect most people here, especially the crowd who are potential readers of books like OMW, would know that as well."

Please expect the "unexpected" OMW sold quite well on the Israeli market (as I as told by the Israeli publisher).
I loaned it from our locaal library, and saw a whole pile of OMW books 'vanish' at the last Icon.

OMW is certainly an inetnational success.
BTW - note that most OMW reader are not US citezens. (Assuming that the Russian & Chinese translations are out) therefor dont expect them to know how marines tatooing themeselves.

Perhaps John knows if total books sold outside US is larger then the US market ?

John Scalzi | November 19, 2006 09:56 AM

It's only been released in Russian and Hebrew so far, and I don't know what the print runs have been for either edition. I suspect to date the US edition has sold more. When the book is fully distributed this might change. We'll just have to see.

Yaron | November 21, 2006 11:19 AM

Nsh, I'd also not expect most people outside the US to know how marines tatoo themselves. But to be honest, I wouldn't expect most US citizens to know how marines tatoo themselves.

The "Sempfer Fi" motto, though, is much less esoteric than tattoos. And was probably mentioned in almost all and any American movie, or TV series, involving marines, multiple time.
Yes, someone from the US will have a bigger chance of recognizing it. But it doesn't seem like something that requires explicit explanation for anyone else.

As for the book succeeding in Israel, and the pile vanishing at icon, that's not exactly unexpected. I haven't said that I think the buyers would be just those wearing tinfoil hats...

But do you expect most people at icon really never read, or saw, anything with "Semper Fi" in it?
SF readers very likely came across a few "future iterations" of US marines in their reading. Non SF readers, who still chose to buy OMW over other available titles, probably have at least some vague interest in military, SF-ish things, war/politics/etc, or something that gave them a good chance to hear about the marines as well.

Yochanan Horwitz | March 7, 2007 04:36 AM

I am looking for a religious book title:
Kiddush rejoycing in Shabbat and Holidays.
MOD Publishing House
ISBN 9650512160
Can you help?
How much would it be in $ or £ and what shipping costs to the UK.

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