Wednesday, August 1, 2012

JK Rowling's The Casual Vacancy Withheld from Foreign Publishers

JK Rowling

A sad news for all of J.K. Rowling's foreign readership as The Guardian reported the publishers' concerns over translation piracy of the author's first non-Harry Potter novel, The Casual Vacancy, which will come out to all English-reading community on September 27, 2012.

To prevent such sub-standard translations to be published illegally, foreign publishers, which usually do the translated versions of the book, will not receive a copy of the manuscript of the said novel until its English version publication date. This simply means foreign editions of the said book will be published much later than the official first publication.

Read on for some more insight from the The Guardian's article:

“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.

 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.”

If you haven't seen it yet, you can check the cover art for The Casual Vacancy here:

Luckily, we do get the English version of the novel here in the Philippines. This will surely be distressing for J.K. Rowling's fans in Finland, Italy, Slovenia and many others, since their countries are classified as high risk areas for piracy. Lucky for France and Germany because they will be receiving early copies of the manuscript, giving them a chance to simultaneously publish their translated versions as opposed to their other European counterparts.