Good news! Work has started on the Dutch translation of As Far As Souls Go.
The irony is that I’m doing it myself. Let me take you on a journey chronicling the events that led up to this point.
As I’m sure I’ve made clear often enough now, I wrote the story in English because I wanted to be able to reach as many people as possible without having to go back and translate a complete book after the fact. I figured English was easy enough for everybody to be able to read a book in, but as I spoke to more people, I learned that most of my Dutch potential fans were willing to read it, but not in English.
Alright then, let’s go and see what a translation costs. Turns out, you can get it as cheap as 8 cents per word. So a number just south of 8000 dollars will probably get me a beautiful translation at the hands of some asshat running it through Google Translate.
If I want a human being to translate the book, I’ll be looking at five figures, and all that tells us is that my mother will just have to start brushing up on her English.
That should have been that. There’s no room in my budget even for a translation that’ll butcher the story.
But it kept gnawing at me. I’m Dutch enough, I know what I meant to write, I should be able to do some kind of translation.
But it’s 98000 goddamn words, man. And not all of them are straightforward either. I do puns. A lot of jokes don’t translate well, but puns are the worst. Then there’s names. Do I Potter-ize them? Eddie Sterling should still kinda work in Dutch, but Rob Rooney is kind of an English name (yes, I know Rooney is an Irish name). And the town’s called Herringwood, do I dumb that down to something Dutch?
I shelved the idea. I wasn’t gonna waste anymore time on this translating nonsense while I could use that time on writing new stories, but I dropped a question at writingforums.org, and at some later time I was told about DeepL. That’s basically Google Translate, but with an understanding of context.
One off-day, I figured I’d give my first chapter a go as a test and it turned out pretty well. And here we are. I absolutely did not want to translate a complete book, so I wrote it in English, and now I have to translate a complete book because of it.
Why then, after all this wonderful news, is this the most useless post, I hear you ask.
I told you all of this in English. Nobody who would benefit from this information will be able to read it.