As some of you may know, apart from blogging here and in my own blog , I am a writer and I translate books from English to Spanish and from Spanish to English. A few months back and as part of a book fair I was asked to talk about translations and I prepared a few notes. Although the full speech is a bit lengthy for a single post, I thought that in preparation for further interviews with author translating their books (and by the way, any authors who’ve had their books translated to Spanish, I’d be more than happy to share them in my blog after the summer. Just get in touch) I thought I’d share some of the thoughts I had on possible reasons to get one’s books translated.
Why would anybody want to have their books translated?
We all know how big a competition we face to try and sell books. Making it available to a wider audience is always a great idea. In the case of Spanish, it has 518 million speakers across the world, 427 as a native language. It is also one of the six official languages of the United Nations. It is also used as an official language by the European Union, the Organization of American States, and the Union of South American Nations, and by many other international organizations.
These new markets are also less crowded. Although the offer in Spanish is increasing, the number of e-books available in Spanish is much smaller than that in English. And of course there are retailers that will be more interested in Spanish books.
The same as is the case in English, there are blogs, Facebook pages, reviewers, reporters, critics, writers and readers looking for books in Spanish. I can say that with regards to other writers, I’ve found it easier to get in contact with writers who are best-selling authors, even across the whole of Amazon, in the Spanish language, than it is getting to know the big sellers in English. (Of course, some markets like Amazon Spain or Mexico are smaller, but still…)
One never knows when chance of pure luck might strike. I know a Spanish writer called Enrique Laso, whose books have been translated to many languages and who told me that although he has no idea why, his books translated to Greek have been great hits there. It’s impossible to know what might strike a chord with readers in a particular market.
I’ve read many posts by writers talking about how exciting it is to see your first book published and, in the case of paperback, have it in your hands. Well, I must confess seeing one of my books translated to Chinese made me feel equally excited. (Although you won’t be able to buy it in Amazon.Chn is also available in Amazon.com…) And I had to share it here.
I know of authors who are working on the idea of publishing their books in bilingual editions and indeed they might provide a good option for marketing as an aid to language learning.
Thanks to you all for reading, and if you’ve enjoyed the post, I might share some more bits of the full original, and please, share, like, comment and CLICK!
As you know, recently I’ve been bringing you interviews with some writers who publish mainly in Spanish, but who’ve had some of their books translated to English (and in some cases many other languages) as a way of sharing their journey and their experiences with you. Today I’m very pleased to bring one of the first Spanish authors I came into contact with a few years back. Frank is generous to a fault, always happy to help others, and as you’ll see, modest and very honest about his career and his creative process.
Frank Spoiler (real name: Francisco Javier Sánchez Mira) is a poetry writer born in Badajoz, Spain, in 1961. His parents moved to Catalonia in 1973. His father was a bricklayer and his mother a housewife. He started writing in his teens, thanks to one of his brother’s enthusiasm (he’s a great admirer of poet Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer, a romantic poet from Sevilla). He has published ten books so far: “Sucede a diario: micros de terror urbano,” “Puntas de lanza al corazón, poemas directos al alma”, “El Celador de tus Poemas”, “Poesías desde las entrañas,” “Soy un asesino… sin serie,” “Alas rotas, el muchacho que perdió su sonrisa,” “Poemas: Del amor, el dolor y otras pasiones,” “Irrealidades a doble espacio”, Buscando la luz. Poemas al alba, con alma” y “La marca de un iluso de la pluma: antología de relatos”. He has also published a book of fairy tales “Cuentos con sabor a chocolate” (PG) in collaboration with nineteen great writers. All his books have been published in digital and paperback versions. He has also collaborated in a number of anthologies, both of short-stories and poetry. Those include:
I concurso de microrrelatos nocturnos
I Concurso de microrrelatos de terror “Microterrores”
Versos desde el corazón I
I Concurso de microrrelatos épicos “Breves heroicidades”
I Concurso de microrrelatos solidarios diversidad literaria “Asociación Isekin” En ArtGerust
III Concurso de Terror ArtGerust
With the micros: “Almas inocentes”, “una muñeca rota” y “me nace de dentro”
Poemas. Homenaje a Pablo Neruda
agosto 25, 2014
and with Libros Mablaz
“III antología poética de libros Mablaz”, “POEMAS DE AMOR”
II Premio de Relatos, titulado
“Gritos contra la
violencia de género”
And also in Fans de Bad One “Los hijos de Allan Poe”.
All of them in 2014
How and when did you start writing?
I started writing when I was eleven or twelve, mainly poetry, because I saw my brother write. After writing his poems, he would read them to me, and that made me want to try to imitate him and follow his example. I also started reading the classics, like Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer, Antonio Machado, Juan Ramón Jiménez, among poets, and also fiction writers like Gabriel García Márquez, Jules Verne or John Le Carré (to give some examples).
Could you describe your experience as an independent writer?
It is both a very gratifying and also a very difficult experience. In my case it’s necessary to understand that my difficulty is multiplied by two or perhaps three, as I don’t have much formal education, and the little I’ve learned has been through hard work and spending many hours in front of a computer screen, making mistakes and learning precisely from those mistakes. It’s true though, that the results are excellent. I’m improving and learning a lot.
What’s the moment that you remember more fondly from your experience (up to now) as a writer?
The moment I saw my first book of poems (“Poemas para componer una vida” [Poems to Compose a Life] was its title) published in Amazon and when a few days later I had it in my hands. That fabulous sensation of finally truly believing in yourself as a writer because you have self-published your first book, it’s something you never forget.
What made you decide to have your work translated? And how did you go about finding a translator?
It was a writer friend of mine, Roberto López Herrero, who sent me a message letting me know that through the platform Babelcube.com he had found a translator for his book. He convinced me and I took his advice, I uploaded (following the instructions) some chapters of my novel “Soy un asesino… sin serie”, I added the data they required, the chosen language for the translation and voilà, six months later I got an offer from Rafael (the translator).
Tell us something about your book
Mi novel is the result of my experience as a carer for an elderly lady suffering from Alzheimer, my mother. I looked after her for three years… It was very hard, her heart-wrenching screams and her crying had me disturbed and anguished, although the doctors insisted it was normal, that patients suffering from Alzheimer sometimes might shout and cry, whilst others might laugh or sing. The fact was that I never got over it… (at night I have nightmares and I feel guilty still, thinking that I should have done more to improve her quality of life those last few years, but that’s another story). The desperation (or frustration) was what made me fantasize about an atypical murderer, a killer…that despite killing many cannot be classed as ‘serial’ because he’s such a ‘weirdo’
Andy advice for you fellow writers?
Oh no, no, never. Each person should try and live according to his or her own experience and learn for the successes and mistakes in his own personal way.
And the book:
I’m (not) a serial killer Frank Spoiler (Author), Rafael E. Martínez (Translator)
A twisted tale of murderous imagination.
Gabriel is a killer, but not the kind you’re familiar with. His story is one of unfathomable cruelty and senseless logic.
The story behind the book, as you’ve read, is fascinating, and Frank shared the book (the Spanish version) in Wattpad, with great success. Gabriel is a great character and the story has a very interesting twist. The book has just been published, so there are no reviews in English yet, but I thought I’d translate one of the five star reviews for you, to give you some idea.
‘I had the pleasure of reading it as it was being created. It is a book that gets you hooked from the beginning: the idea of seeing the events from the point of view of the murderer, that character between conceited and arrogant, the way he narrates, without any regrets, his activities, to the point of causing you revulsion at some points, and the twist at the end, suggesting that the murderer rather than being in control might have been just responding to events that go beyond his imagining…everything makes this a novel that you can’t stop reading once you’ve started, and you’ll read in one go until the end.’
As you well know, here in Lit World Interviews we love to bring you news and information about authors, particularly independent authors, and their work.
I have met many authors through the interviews, reviews, and features, and always enjoy the advice and tips on writing that a number of experts (I’m not one of them) offer us.
Some of you must know I’m originally from Barcelona, Spain, and I’ve always published my books both in English and Spanish (and have always done my own translations. More recently I have started translating other writers’ books too. See here if you want a bit more information). Thanks to that, and to the kindness of many of my colleagues in social media, I’ve met many writers. In some ways, knowing people who publish majoritarily in English, and others whose first language is Spanish, I feel I’m in the position to be a go-between, and introduce you all. I get to read great books in English that don’t exist in Spanish versions, and I feel bad that some of my friends and fellow authors might not get a chance to read them, and the opposite is true too. I’ve read fantastic books in Spanish, some of them great successes at an independent level, that are not available to the English reading public.
Some writers have been lucky to have their books picked up for translation, or have decided to get them translated at their own cost, and I thought I’d make use of my connections to bring you interviews with some of those authors.
I hope you’ll enjoy meeting some of my writer friends from the other side of the language divide.
“Amazing! These two authors did an amazing job by combing their talents to bring a wonderful story. The story was written so unbelievably well the characters fine tuned.”~Five Star Review
“Both styles come together to work in devastating fashion. James writes from the London base, making his character Archie Pope real, cocky, and likeable. Isabella is created from the Italian-American side, and it would be easy to say that Miss Kahele wrote all her lines.”~Five Star Review
“J. Kahele and James Duncan together, wrote this fantastic book!! I would describe it as adventurous, dangerous, funny and romantic. The book is a love story with a twist, with Archie an English gangster, and Isabella the daughter of an Italian Godfather type from New York. Both Archie and Isabella knew nothing else, because they had lived in this lifestyle from a very young age!!!! Both wanted more!! both wanted a way out. This adventure romance takes these two and their families back and forth to and from New York, London, and Hawaii, with a lot of action, gun fighting and hiding out!!!”~Five Star Review
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