Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Lost in Translation? Or Discovered?

by Deb Baker/Hannah Reed

In 2011, I was overjoyed when Japanese translation rights for Buzz Offand Mind Your Own Beeswaxwere sold. Then, for a full year, I heard nothing. Until last week when the translator contacted me with a few questions about specific scenes, mainly attempting to understand some of the interactions between Story and her sister.

She was extremely polite, lavishing praise on my work and actually apologetic for having to ask me for assistance. I could picture her bowing. She seemed afraid of offending me, so her words reflected modesty and humility. I sensed an underlying embarrassment for what she defined as her ‘mistake’ when I explained those scenes.

I’m not used to such kindness, but from what I’ve heard, the Japanese culture is based on respect.

Respect. It’s so important. Self-respect, respect for our children’s hopes and dreams and for our aging parents' needs, for our friends, for the strangers we meet as we go about our day.

Maybe some parts of my stories will be lost in translation from English to Japanese. I’ll never know. But I’ve found that, while each of us is unique, at the core we aren’t so different after all.

Respect is easiest when we all agree. It gets harder when some of us have differing opinions.

So the challenge for today is to show a little respect. It will come back to us ten-fold.



Ann Philipp said...

What a nice post. Thanks for sharing. And congratulations on your success! How exciting, you're going to have a whole new audience.

Deb said...

Thanks Ann!

Aurian said...

Wow, translated into Japanese! That is so cool! But yes, reading Harry Potter for instance in English and in Dutch are two different books. For instance, you cannot translate wordjokes.

Deb said...

Dutch! Oh, my, you are talented!

Liz said...

Wonderful sentiments!!

Nancy said...

You're so right, we could use more respect in this world. How exciting to have your book translated into Japanese.