From the Welcome to Reality Department

So I got an email last week, probably a couple hours before shattering my teeth, saying that a giant manuscript of Zaregoto 2, the last book I translated, is coming in the mail peppered with Japanese comments from the publisher of the original book, Kodansha. “Please address these comments thoroughly within a week, and while your at it, go shatter your teeth today,” they said.

Today that manuscript came.

First there was a cover letter. In it, a woman, Shiina, gave an overview of the major problems she had noticed. Apparently there is something of a debate between the American and Japanese publishers as to how “. . . .” should be translated. The answer, which nobody seems to be acknowledging, is that it depends on the context. You can’t always translate it as “. . . .” and you can’t always translate it with words. So anyway, she’s bitching about there being inconsistency in how I translated “. . . .” throughout the book.

The other major complaint is that there’s a giant, 1.5-page section in which the speakers are continually mistaken. It’s a whole scene where two guys are conversing, and all the quotation marks and tags are wrong. I read over the scene and immediately thought “Hey wait, I’d have to have been an idiot to think this guy said that.” I also had no recollection of writing the scene that way, so I checked my original Word file. Sure enough, the American editor had done it. Changed the whole fucking scene. Swapped quotation marks, added things like “said (insert name of wrong guy),” added paragraph breaks, et cetera.

So then I got to thinking–could it be that most of this person’s complaints are in regards to things that someone else changed? I started looking through her comments. The manuscript is peppered with things like “too concise” and “this word actually means (insert a word that means pretty much the same thing)”. I checked my original draft, and sure enough, like 80% of the shit she’s commenting on is stuff I didn’t write! She’s essentially asking me to change this edited version–which I’ve never seen before, mind you–back to what I had written!

And the worst part is, this is probably a pretty damn regular occurrence in this line of work. Anyway, I don’t know what to do. Kind of want to just blow it off. They did already pay me.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s