The Trials and Tribulations Of Translating a Guide to the Afterlife

The Spanish translation of Dirk Quigby the Afterlife Guide to is finished!  The Poor publisher Jesús Milrazones (ironic name to be publishing Dirk) Has had a hell of a job. It aint easy translating E.E.King!

I tried to follow explain some stuff  but I think I may have confused the issue. I quote from some letters:

Jesus: There are a few things I don’t understand properly and couldn’t find a clue, like:

p. 113 bosh

p. 116 They were presented a two-volume check I don’t get what “volume” and “check” mean in this context. More food after dessert? or the bill?
Me: I was saying the bill for the meal was as large as a II volume book.

Me: Aurick Canete is the Community Relations Manager @ Barnes & Nobel…A super guy! And smart and VERY bi-lingual, as well as a word smith. He came up with the following which I think is perfect! Hope it’s helpful! The book launch was wonderful!

the check in II volumes = “La cuenta llego en 3 volumenes”

Bosh = tonterias  (accent on the i}

Jesus:  Yes, that’s a good translation. There is a lot of variation with slang, I asked a friend of mine from Boston, in his twenties, and he had no idea about bosh. didn’t help this time, either. In Spanish tontería is quite good because it works for the full spectrum of speakers of Spanish (for once), tontería is a proper word. If you go into slang, things start to get complicated: chorradas, boludeces, chanchadas, pendejadas… are used in some countries only. On the other hand, I feel them better fitted to the book, because it doesn’t say “silly things” or “nonsense”, but “bosh”.

Jesus:  There are other things difficult to translate, even understanding. That’s the case with Heaven Schmeaven , for example.

Me: Heaven Schmeaven ……well… Jews use this rhyming slang… like cockney rhyming slang, very vaguely like cockney rhyming slang, where they take the some words and add a second nonsense word that makes it rhyme. It also gives the implied meaning “what’s so great about”….in this case…heaven. (there is even a word is some dictionaries for it a Schmeaven” or something… but I can’t remember it.) I do not see how you could translate that, but I will ask around.

Jesus: I had trouble understanding what you mean, not in translating once I know. Here’s another one from page 148             liver-coated canaries

Me: OK. I will try to explain it and then maybe you can get a better idea of translation.

The Audubon Society is for preservation of birds.

This is a saying “There are more ways to kill a cat than by chocking it with cream.”                                                                     A cat would love to eat a liver coated canary… so Dirk is toasting to an accepting God and etc. (There’s no quicker way to kill a joke than making it a novel:)

Jesus:  Thank you, Eve. I finished the translation; in some cases I changed a few names, including heaven schemeaven. I’m glad my friend from Boston gave me the good explanation, it fits perfectly with yours.

I didn’t know that saying it is a good one. We have a similar one: when someone or something is particularly stupid, “es más tonto que matar un cerdo a besos”.

I had a good time translating your book and am satisfied with the result, even knowing that there are a few jokes missing. I only fear I’ll start receiving bombs by the post, like Dirk. We have the same religious people over here, happy to kill in the name of god.                                                                                        By the way, I found a new religion, called kopinism. Control + C and Control + V are their holy sacraments. It’s real, not a joke, they’ve been recognized in Sweden and have branches in Canada and France. Thinking it over, they are not as crazy as many of the traditional religions




About E.E. King

Writing/Painting/Pilates/Scuba/Travel and animals...anything that won't pay the bills. I'm an unintentional nonprofit I've worked with children in Bosnia, crocodiles in Mexico, frogs in Puerto Rico, egrets in Bali, mushrooms in Montana, archaeologists in Spain and planted butterfly gardens in South Central Los Angeles. The butterflies wish I had chosen a different location. Check out my website and read a story, or better yet buy a book, painting or audio. UnfortunatelY, All of the profits go toward animal rescue.
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