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Translating Chick Lit – Who, Me?

cat, translating
Me, translating chick lit?

Essays by Norman Spinrad, YA fantasy, YA urban fantasy, Kim Newman, Rick Hautala, that’s what I’ve translated so far. See the pattern? It’s the stuff I enjoy reading, too (although I do tend to read whatever I get my hands on).

Now, since finding work is not easy at all, it would be a bad idea to be picky, so, when I got the offer to translate a chick lit book, I immediately said yes. After all, it’s not that I hate chick lit; I’m just not all that interested in it. And frankly, when I think of chick lit, I think of Bridget Jones, a woman who works in the publishing industry but doesn’t mention books even once, and instead obsesses about the calories she gets into her body and whether she’s going to be with this guy or that. Yawn. Oops, sorry, that was rude of me.

However, I didn’t get to translate anything like Bridget Jones. I got Better Together by Sheila O’Flanagan.  The main character, Sheridan Grey, is a sports reporter who loves her job and is great at it. While I’m not interested in sports, I do like people who enjoy their jobs; and I also liked that Sheridan was doing something that’s usually seen as a girl’s job. And when she lost her job, her flatmate and her boyfriend in just two days, her feelings and self-doubt and her actions were very understandable, and something a strong person would do.

The other main character, Nina Fallon, is shaken after her husband’s infidelity – they’ve been together for over 20 years and have 2 grown-up kids – and is also worried because he threatens to take her house and her income (she runs a guesthouse) if she doesn’t take him back, but she fights the impulse telling her to forget her pride and her hurt (it wasn’t his first time), the impulse which is strong indeed because of the force of habit of living with him for so long.

The 2 women are different, but both strong in their own way, even though they doubt themselves, and I enjoyed reading about them, just like I enjoy translating that book now.

And so, it turned out to be yet another new thing I do, something I’ve never done before. Not quite getting out of my comfort zone, it’s not that different, nor do I loathe it, but still, it’s somewhat new.

And I like it.

How about you? Have you done something new lately, big or small, and how do you feel about it?

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Back to Work

I didn’t expect this…

I didn’t expect this.

What I expected was to go to Croatia and visit my family, and then to get back home, and back to work. But it turned out that SO got a vacation just when I got back, and since this time I didn’t have a deadline to finish the translation, it meant I could just relax with him. Which I, of course, did. And enjoyed it.

And now, I start working again, later than I expected. It feels a bit weird, both not working for so long, and then starting again. What also feels a bit weird is slipping into the old routine so easily (come to think of it, that’s what routines are for, you easily slip into them and get the work done without much fuss).

I’m not even sure what the point of this post is, other than me feeling slightly puzzled, and trying to figure it out. Does any of this – unexpectedness, not working for longer than you expected, and yet easily falling back into the routine – sounds familiar to you?

P.S. Hopefully, my next post will have more of a point – you’ll get to read some flash fiction. Stay tuned!

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Translating Untcigahunk by Rick Hautala

Translating Untcigahunk and enjoying it!

I’ve recently read, and am currently translating, Untcigahunk: The Complete Little Brothers by Rick Hautala. The book consists of the horror novel Little Brothers and of several stories set in the same world — which would be our own, except that the creatures from the American Indian mythology, such as the “little brothers”, truly exist there. And are quite nasty and hungry.

Here’s the description of the novel you can usually find on the Internet:
It has been five years since Kip Howard saw his mother killed horribly by a blur of “”little brown things”.” Five years of nightmares and a terror of dark places. Five years of struggling to overcome what must have been just his imagination…But the ‘untcigahumk’, the Indian word for “”little brothers”,” are no one’s imagination. hideous forest creatures who feed every five years on human flesh, the little brothers are about to emerge from underground once again.Only this time, there will be no escape for the young boy who witnessed their last feast.

And here’s what I think of the book, as a reader: I enjoyed it.

If I look at it as a horror novel, it works quite well, with the nasty little monsters trying to eat the protagonist and a few other people. It has a bunch of the usual horror elements, nasty monsters, teenagers who have sex and get killed after it, the kid who saw something but nobody believes him, the town drunk who can be so much more… What adds to the value of the novel is that it would’ve worked just fine even without the monsters. If the mother from the beginning of the description died by some more common accident while her seven-year-old son watched, if there were no hungry little creatures, the novel would have still worked as a compelling family drama and a coming-of-age story. The two boys who lost their mother, the man who lost his beloved wife and is trying to keep the family going, the older son who is becoming increasingly like the town teen bully while the younger one is seeing a psychotherapist on regular basis… The younger boy meets an unlikely friend who helps him overcome his troubles… It would be quite a compelling story even without the “little brothers” wishing to eat a bunch of people and perhaps some cattle, too. Although, it is more fun with the little buggers.

After the novel, you get to enjoy three “mythological” stories, about the creation of the untcigahunk, and then some other stories about human encounters with the “little brothers”, with the usual entertainment of the unreasonable, stubborn trouble-makers or the folks who stand and watch instead of running for their lives getting eaten by the monsters.

Now, I would’ve preferred a shorter novel, but that’s just me; I’ve seen people say they enjoyed the length, because that way they got to know the characters better, and they liked their company. What annoyed me a little bit was Kip occasionally turning from a likable boy whose fears and trauma we understood to a sulking little brat. However, it didn’t really spoil the book, it’s just a detail which could have been better.

What can I say, it was fun reading this book, and it’s quite fun translating it.