Translating foreign works is a tricky business, and not just because the magic of a foreign author’s work must be lovingly preserved. In part two of our interview with Anthea Bell, we learn more about how she works, the challenges she faces when language itself becomes a barrier, and which recently translated books she feels have the potential to become best sellers as they enter our markets.
Part 2: Interview with Anthea Bell
Q: How do you receive the text? What is your process?
A: When I have the whole text in its final version – and it is going to be a big, long book again, a really satisfying read – I’ll set aside time in my schedule to get straight down to it. I know I can ask Cornelia any questions as they arise, and in fact we’ve already been discussing names in English for some of the characters. Most have already appeared in Inkheart and Inkspell, but there are a few new ones. Then she and her agents and the publishers will all see it, and the publishers’ editors will comment too.
Q: Does much change after the agent, editor and publisher comments? Can you give us an example of what may pose a “sticking point” for them?