East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

Undisclosed Translation Project


It has nothing to do with my post - but I love this movie.

It has nothing to do with my post – but I love this movie.

Observant surfers will have noticed the new word-count picometer in the sidebar, tracking the progress of the Undisclosed Translation Project, or UTP.
How very mysterious!

Now, The Claws of the Purple Cat is currently on hold, as some details of the overall project are being revised by the publisher.
I will wait for the go-ahead from my editor before I start working again on The Claws, for the very simple reason that, as fun as the project is, spending time to complete something that might be cancelled would be a waste of unpaid-for time.
I am sure the project will start again, and I’ll be happy to resume my writing when it happens.

In the meantime, there’s this weird idea that’s been rattling around in my brain for over a decade now, and which goes more or less like this: considering the huge amount of great novels and short stories that lie in the public domain and were never translated in my country, why not…?

Project Alia, of which I was a member for over six years, started just like that – we said ourselves, let’s bring to the public those great, fun stories that big, traditional publishers are not interested in reviving.
In the end we did six anthologies of stories from all over the world – and it was great!*

So now this is my plan – I’m translating a public domain novel in Italian.
When the translation’s done and revised, I’ll publish it – say through Createspace – for as fair a retail price as I can.
And if it works (whatever that may mean), I’ve a long list of books waiting.

Incidentally, if starting this blog taught me anything, it’s that when you get a crazy idea for a project that you like, waiting too much weighting the pros and cons can freeze you completely.
If you feel it’s worth doing, then start it – kinks will be smoothed on the run.

So here we go.
I am not disclosing the title of my translation – part out of superstitious fear, part to avoid some smart-alek out there getting ideas and doing the same, maybe using Google Translate to get to the shops before me.
It happens.
It has happened.

There’s a number of other reasons behind my decision, which I think are worth mentioning.

The first is, in times of crisis – and God knows we are smack in the middle of it right now – having something to do is essential for survival; setting schedules and targets, doing the hard work, watching the project grow, is a cure for the inertia that can kill a good man when there’s no “proper” work to be done, no job to be had.
Secondly, it’s fun: I’m not translating some arid technical manual or what. This is a novel I love, and working on something I love lightens the burden, a lot, and makes the work smoother.
Third, I’m bringing some great stories to my fellow countrymen. I still think reading in English is indispensible, but this way, anyone lacking enough English to face the originals, will be able to enjoy books that have been too long neglected.
And fourth and final, what the heck, I may be making a buck – which, with the bleak outlook we all are facing right now, might not be a bad idea.

Wish me luck.

Wish me luck.

So here we go – one project frozen, another one starting up.

* BTW – the Alia crew rides the seas of publishing again, so there might be a seventh volume coming.
Watch this space for news.

Author: Davide Mana

Paleontologist. By day, researcher, teacher and ecological statistics guru. By night, pulp fantasy author-publisher, translator and blogger. In the spare time, Orientalist Anonymous, guerilla cook.

4 thoughts on “Undisclosed Translation Project

  1. you are AMAZING! 😀
    Really! Nothing can stop you!
    I hope this misterious novel will come very soon!I can’t wait to read it!
    “Happy working” 😛


  2. So you *are* doing it!
    Have fun – and break your leg.


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