The Last British President Is Now Available In Spanish
I published The Last British President on Amazon/KDP in Feb 2019 and I always hoped to get it translated into Spanish eventually, because the plot is mainly set in Buenos Aires, where I live.
I had considered Babelcube, but I wasn’t happy about the lack of face to face, not to mention the commission.
My first attempt to have it translated was through a bilingual friend in October 2019, but the standard of translation was very poor indeed (too literal), so we had to end that arrangement in March 2020 and put it down to experience.
Then in July 2021, a young lady was recommended to me because coincidentally she had translated some legal documents for us and I hadn’t put two and two together, mainly because a novel is a very different proposition compared to a marriage licence, for example.
Anyway, she enjoyed the book, sent me a translated first chapter, which was superb and we agreed terms at the end of July 2021.
She then sent me blocks of ten chapters (out of 53) and the whole process was proof read and finished by February 2022 – about six and a half months and 128,000 words (a little shorter than in English).
I am delighted with the final result because she was able to capture the nuances and the essence of the book and put it into the Spanish that’s spoken here – Rioplatense.
Although I speak passable Spanish and can understand the translation word for word, I’m clearly not native, so I passed the chapters to my Argentine wife as they came in and she was full of praise. That aspect was important to me for obvious reasons.
I also met up with the translator once a month for a coffee to iron out any issues which, again, was a vital part of the process.
For geographical and economic reasons, I chose an Argentine publisher/POD and received the first batch of 50 printed books last week. That was an exciting moment, just holding and smelling the new book in a different language and with a new cover.
The publisher also helps with marketing, so the Buenos Aires Book Fair which runs for the next couple of weeks is going to be an important launch pad and I have a book signing slot booked for the middle of the month.
What did I learn?
Making sure to choose the right translator and have someone native to sample read it, just to be sure. It’s also a long process and I was perfectly content with that, because it had to be just right. The previous effort in 2019 was being churned out like a production line and therein lies the difference.
I also hired a professional to design a new book cover and the result is quite remarkable- provocative and possibly controversial.