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"Casual Vacancy" Withheld from Foreign Publishers Because of Piracy Risks

J.K. Rowling
Posted by: Rosi
August 01, 2012, 04:34 AM

Foreign publishers will not receive a copy of the manuscript for The Casual Vacancy until the book is published in English on September 27th. France and Germany have received advanced copies but countries viewed at a high risk for piracy, including Finland, Italy and Slovenia, have not, meaning they will have to rush the translation, editorial and production process. This Guardian article has more insight on how the decision will affect the translation process around the world:

"We will most likely be forced to employ more than one translator and abnormally speed up the editorial and production process to publish in time for the Christmas season," said Ilc [Slovenian Editor].

In Finland, the process is moving even faster. "The translator has to agree, sight unseen, to turn in the finished copy in three weeks, by October 18, in time for release for Christmas sales. That's 23 pages of polished final text every day for 21 days – without time to read the book beforehand!" blogged Jill Timbers, a translator of Finnish books into English. Timbers said that discussion was "swirling" among Finnish literary translators about quality of translation, and "preserving true Finnish language versus slipping inadvertently into anglicisms under such time pressure".
"Some translators argue that it's good [that] bestsellers are translated into Finnish, even if time pressure means the level of the Finnish isn't top-quality," she said. But "there's a derogatory nickname in Finnish for translations that 'straighten all the curves', convey the storyline but skim past finer bits and nuances. Perhaps that wouldn't so diminish Rowling's new book? Who can say, since no one's seen it."
You can read the full article at this link.
What do you think? Is this unfair or is it the price to pay to protect the plot?

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18 Comments

Noavatar-thumb
33 Points

@Tarana: Exactly, and I know many people who think the way I do… The publishers just don’t see their own mistakes.
@CatrinJane: Yes at least in Finland we will have English copies, hopefully on the same day as you. Well of course people should know English but your first languge is always the one you understand the best, don’t you think? And it’s good to read books in your own language because it improves your first language, especially if the book is translated well. Translating also makes people more eager to read books, ‘cause reading in different language is harder… takes more time… and it’s annoying if you don’t understand everything… (Reading with dictionary is even more annoying.) Maybe you don’t understand if you’re born in English speaking country, but I’m just trying to say that translating books (in case it’s done well) is often very important. Not in this case though, not in Finland at least, I dare say…
@Ravenclaw78: That’s a really good idea, seriously…

Posted by Elisez on August 10, 2012, 02:09 PM report to moderator
Eeyorescrollsparky_thumb
444 Points

Really? Countries that have to wait should clean up their piracy issues so they are considered trustworthy. I don’t feel at all sorry for them, harsh as that may be.

Posted by Eeyore on August 12, 2012, 04:24 PM report to moderator
Ruin_thumb

I’m sorry but English is an international language, people should learn it and the others that don’t know it should wait…

I’m sorry, but that is an elitist attitude. Are you the sort that goes to another country and expect everyone to understand you because you speak English? Ever heard of the term ‘Ugly American’? It’s that sort of attitude that gave Americans the bad reputation we have as tourists. Even worse if you are British!

When I was growing up French was the ‘international language’, required in engineering and used by all pilots. Does that mean in the 60s all books should have been published in French?

As Elisez says, your first language is the one you understand best. You should be able to read in your own language. It is a pity that the book is being rushed in those countries. I feel sorry for them. Even the rushed translations will not have the innuendos for which Jo is famous in her writing.

Posted by nundu on August 13, 2012, 01:56 PM report to moderator
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