Journal
 

Monday, July 23, 2012

"Falling" and "The Guy Who Worked For Money" in German

[Kurzgefasst: zwei meiner Kurzgeschichten, "Falling" und "The Guy Who Worked For Money", sind jetzt als "Freier Fall" und "Der Mann, der für Geld arbeitet" auf deutsch (übersetzt durch Michael Drecker) aufs Kindle erhältlich.]

I've lived in German-speaking Europe on and off for twenty years. My day job language is German (sometimes Swiss-German, if there aren't any less-integrated expats in the room). My in-laws speak only a smattering of English. At home with my wife and kids, conversations meander between English and Swiss-German.

So far, despite the fact that I've been translated plenty, I've only ever had a a couple of stories appear in German: "Irrlicht" (with David Ackert) in the print magazine Pandora, and a couple of nodes in Ethan Ham's experimental translation-artwork-thingie Les Belles Infidèles. But it was pretty hard for most people to find copies of the former, and the latter, while a project I'm very proud of, is somewhat crazytown even for me.

So it's quite exciting to have two more stories now professionally translated into German, by the able Michael Drecker, and available online.

Currently they're for sale on the Kindle. I also haven't ventured very much into the whirling rapids of the Kindle. I mean, I am an online guy from way back and most of my stories can be read for free in good ol' HTML. But the Kindle (and its ilk -- Nook, iPad, and so on) seem to constitute now a whole new world of readers, and there seem to be some number of people who are happy to pay a buck or two to have something appear seamlessly on their e-reader, formatted and spiffy, even if they could get it for free in a browser. There are lots of things I don't like about the new ebook world -- Amazon's monopoly power, the flakiness of DRM and its suggestion that you are just a licensee-user, not an owner, of a book, at the mercy of ex post facto meddling by sellers, and so on. But there are also lots of things I do like about it, like the flexibility and ease of indie publishing in cases where that makes sense, and the hint of some kind of nascent etiquette or social practice by which authors (and, as in this case, translators -- we're splitting the take) continue to get paid per-copy-sold, as fiction distribution moves from atoms to bits.

It's also particularly cool that these two stories are coming out in German, because they are both set in Frankfurt in 2060. As I wrote much of the dialogue, I checked it mentally against what I imagined to be the "original version", the German the characters would actually be speaking. So it's surreal and delightful to now have it translated "back" from my English version into Derya and Nera and Malka and Sergei and Jouml:rg's actual idiom.

Many thanks to Michael, and to Emily Mah Tippetts, too, for pioneering this particular form of on-spec joint-venture indie straight-to-Kindle translation and introducing me to Michael.


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