Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Chinese Edition...

I've been having so much fun these past few days translating the WIP to Chinese. I think I've got the translation bug.

Last night I stayed up until about 2 in the morning translating the first chapter. Google Translate was a great start, even though their translations were full of laughable errors, but at least they filled 80% of the words I needed. The rest of the effort was to rearrange or edit, add and subtract. It's not unlike the editing/rewrite process.

The interesting thing is, through the process of translating between the two vastly different languages (everything from vocabulary to grammar are different), I've gained a better sense of my writing. Obviously, the way I write in English may not translate well into Chinese (or vice versa), and that's fine. But through the process of trying to get the meanings across, I've gained so much insight into the writing and rewriting process -- it's the darnest thing!  I also found that I had to unhinge myself from thinking in English, but think in Chinese instead (and vice versa).  And through that process, I realized there were better ways to write in English, too -- better phrases, or better ways to express the idea, to describe something, to narrate the scene. What worked before suddenly looks painfully dull or tedious. I started to ask myself, "Do I need all that detail? Can I just summarize? There seems to be a lot of unnecessary staging here..." Etc. Etc.   The process was extremely illuminating.

Now, I don't think I can or will translate the whole book to Chinese. It's going to take me another 5 years at this pace. I'd rather get a nice, big contract, sell the Chinese rights, and let the PROFESSIONAL translators have at it. Right now, I'm doing it for fun (and to show some of my work to my Dad, who can't really read English).

It's cool to be bilingual. And I'm loving it.

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