There will be follow-ups where I try to see what would happen if I were to try to create my own anthologies of the material, but so as not to burn myself out (nor any patient reader of this blog) on the impossible mystery genre - as if that could happen! - such follow-ups will have to wait.
So, what instead? Well, to begin with we'll go on a tangent from this project. During the course of my postings here you'll probably have seen that I am also in the process of translating the bulk of these stories. This translation project is entirely for myself - at this moment.
I've been doing this translating thing since at least the late 90s, when I began by translating all Agatha Christie short stories into Swedish. All her novels were already translated, and there were maybe 50 short stories or so that hadn't been translated. I just thought that they really should be, if for nothing else than just so I could read them in my own language.
This means that it is something done entirely for my own pleasure, and I try to make it as pleasurable for myself as well. After all, if it's something I'll probably never see any kind of remuneration from, I don't want it to get boring as well...
|Not that I'd mind if someone would give me some...|
My main problem as a translator is that I'm too faithful to the original English text, which means that some turns of phrase sound less idiomatic in Swedish than they would if they were originally spoken or written by a Swedish speaker. It's not a huge problem, because most Swedes speak English rather well and their speech and writing is quite influenced by English anyway. Still it's something I'd like to move away from more.
|Swedes are generally better at English than this|
I'll shamefacedly admit that sometimes I will actually skip translating a word if it hasn't been solved by the above measures. After all, some words have no importance in the big picture of telling the story, they just add colour to the whole thing. This is just a last resort though, and of course it doesn't apply when the word in question actually has an importance to the plot.
The hardest thing to translate are word clues, particularly riddles and clues for some kind of treasure hunt. Sometimes it's possible to make them into Swedish ones, but problems arise when a clue is supposed to be interpreted in more ways than one in order to create false leads. It has happened that I had to give up and just used the English clue as is.
|This was fairly hard to translate, for example.|
Translating a regular short story (say between 10 and 15 pages) takes me two-three days. Of course that's not eight work hours a day. The way I work with the translations - and the fact that I actually hold a real job as well - means that I'll just put in at the most a couple of hours translation work with a particular story a day. I might do four or five pages in one sitting before moving on to doing some real work or simply to another story or just some regular procrastination. And one such sitting will probably take between half an hour and one hour. And I don't do any translating during the weekends.
As I've been doing this translating thing for quite a long time now, any time I read a story in English I will invariably find myself translating everything in my head as I read it. It makes for a quite annoying reading habit...
What am I translating at the moment then? Well, I just finished James Yaffe's "Department of Impossible Crimes" yesterday. It was a fairly easy translation, where the only potential problem lay in the crossword puzzle clue. But since that was a very straightforward clue I didn't need to do any restructuring and could simply focus on translating it as is. I'm also in the middle of translating Joe Commings's "X Street Murders", which hade a few boring ballistic related terms that I shortened down, and as I've finished the Yaffe story I'll soon start on to Ed Hoch's "The Problem of the Pink Post Office".
Anyway, time to round off a fairly useless placeholder post. I hope you found it moderately interesting to consider what a translator has to go through, even if it's just a hobby.