If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com.

Here are the upcoming WWK interviews for the month of July!

July 4th Christopher Huang, A Gentleman's Murder

July 11th V. M. Burns, The Plot Is Murder

July 18th Edith Maxwell (Maddie Day), Death Over Easy

July 25th Shari Randall, Against The Claw

Our July Saturday Guest Blogger Schedule: 7/7--Mary Feliz, 7/14--Annie Hogsett, 7/21--Margaret S. Hamilton, 7/28--Kait Carson.

Our special bloggers for the fifth Monday and Tuesday of July--Kaye George and Paula Gail Benson.

Please welcome two new members to WWK--Annette Dashofy, who will blog on alternative Sundays with Jim Jackson, and Nancy Eady, who will blog on every fourth Monday. Thanks for blogging with us Annette and Nancy!

Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Annette Dashofy's Uneasy Prey was released in March. It is the sixth Zoe Chambers Mystery. The seventh, Cry Wolf, will be released on September 18th. Look for E. B. Davis's interview with Annette on September 19th.

Carla Damron's quirky short story, "Subplot", was published in the Spring edition of The Offbeat Literary Journal. You can find it here: http://offbeat.msu.edu/volume-18-spring-2018/

Tina Whittle's sixth Tai Randolph mystery, Necessary Ends, debuts on April 3, 2018. Look for it here. Tina was nominated for a Derringer Award for her novelette, "Trouble Like A Freight Train Coming." We're all crossing our fingers for her.

James M. Jackson's Empty Promises, the next in the Seamus McCree mystery series (5th), was published on April 3, 2018. Purchase links are here. He's working on Seamus McCree #6 (False Bottom)

Dark Sister, a poetry collection, is Linda Rodriguez's tenth published book. It's available for sale here:

Shari Randall's "Pets" will be included in Chesapeake Crimes: Fur, Feathers, and Felonies anthology, which will be published in 2018. In the same anthology "Rasputin," KM Rockwood's short story, will also be published. Her short story "Goldie" will be published in the Busted anthology, which will be released by Level Best Books on April 25th.

Shari Randall's second Lobster Shack Mystery, Against the Claw, will be available in July 31, 2018.


Saturday, September 15, 2012

Lost in Translation

Our initial Salad Bowl Saturday guest blog comes from Patricia Winton, writing on August 10, 2011 for her blog Italian Intrigues. In it she has touched on one of my personal pet peeves. I'll be interested if it's one of yours as well.

~ Jim

Lost in Translation

Patricia Winton
My British friends and I talk about the common language that divides us. We consult each other for translations when we read. For example, when I read Joanna Harris’s Gentlemen and Players, I called up my friend Glenys. “What’s a conker?” I asked. Later when she was reading To Kill a Mockingbird, she had to know, “What are druthers?”

My first encounter with the disparity came many years ago during an early trip to England. I was staying with some people in Sussex and we were having a domestic discussion of some kind. The woman spoke about a paraffin heater. I was quite alarmed. “Isn’t that dangerous?” I said. She replied that it was normal. I persisted in voicing my concern until someone else explained to both of us that paraffin in the U.S. is wax while paraffin in Britain is kerosene.

I’ve been enjoying this diversity ever since. In teaching English as a second language, I often have to do three-way translations. Again, I first encountered this anomaly some years ago while teaching a class in Washington, D.C. At that school, American English ruled. A European student was shocked at a sentence in the lesson. “Isn’t it a ten dollar note?” “No, dear. It’s a ten pound note, but it’s a ten dollar bill.”

Now, all my students are European, but many want to visit the U.S. The textbooks I use are British, so when the word queue comes up and someone asks what it means, I translate into Italian, but explain that it means line in America. I try to limit myself to practical words that may cause trouble for the tourist, like elevator vs. lift and such like. Even this gets confusing. Italians use the word lifting to mean face lift, or general firming up of the body. It can be a bit complicated to get into how that all fits together.

To me the most shocking discovery has been that publishers translate from English to English on either side of the Atlantic. I first learned this while doing a lesson with a thirteen-year-old Italian girl. She loved Harry Potter. We each had a copy of HP and the Philosopher’s Stone, my copy published in the U.S., hers in Britain. In the scene where we first meet Professors Dumbledore and McGonagall, he offers her something. My young student read lemon sherbet and I stopped her. “That’s lemon drop.” We compared texts. Lemon sherbet in the U.S. is not a hard lemon sweet, er, candy.

And while I can understand the need to do this kind of translations for books marketed to children, I don’t think it’s necessary for adults. I’m not especially happy to see Faulkner’s practice changed to practise, but I can accept it since editors usually seek consistency. But it’s egregious when translation weakens the prose.

I reread Capote’s In Cold Blood a couple of years ago. When I got to page 87 of the British-printed edition I was reading, I stopped cold. In the passage describing how neighbors and the hired man cleaned up after the murders, I read:

They unloaded the truck and made a pyramid of Nancy’s pillows, the bedclothes, the mattresses, the playroom couch; Stoeklein sprinkled it with paraffin and struck a match.

I didn’t need to check the text to know that that last phrase should have read kerosene. The poetry of Capote’s prose with that interplay of s’s and k’s had been destroyed by a sloppy editor who, exactly 100 pages later, left in the phrase “scalding water and kerosene lamps.”

Would a British reader have been confused? Maybe. Maybe not. But a careful reader who takes joy in words would have delighted in the poetry and looked up the meaning.


Patricia Winton writes about two of Italy’s great works of art: food and crime. Her story, “Feeding Frenzy,” appears in Fish Tales, The Guppy Anthology. She is currently working on her second book featuring the sleuth introduced in that story. She blogs on alternate Thursdays at Italian Intrigues and Novel Adventurers and invites you to drop by for a visit.


James Montgomery Jackson said...

My preference is to read "English" however the author wrote it.

If the person is from the UK, I can translate any ambiguities and at the same time expand my horizons.

Similarly, if I write something, I suspect UK readers won't be confused by my American spelling and usage.

~ Jim

Patricia Winton said...

Jim, thanks for having me. Since most of the books I buy these days are printed in England, and I remain on the lookout for edits.

I did buy my first copy of Fish Tales from a distributor in England, but since it is POD, I don't think it got another edit.

Warren Bull said...

I had great fun in New Zealand with the use of English there. For example, when it got cod the weather man on television suggested "Rugging up" and wearing a "puffy" coat. I think your English friend were quoting George Bernard Shaw.