One of the most validating things that can happen to a writer is when their work gets picked up for translation. As much as we'd all like to believe our work is "universal," the only actual proof you have that that might be even a little true is when a publisher in another country is willing to invest in your writing-- believes that their audience will enjoy your stories and be able to relate to your characters enough to actually make their investment a reasonable business decision.
There are practical aspects to having your work translated, as well, of course. First off, we're all always seeking ways to expand our audience, Secondly, that passive income stream can occasionally be a lifesaver. Which is why I warn against blithely handing over your translation rights when you sign with a publisher. Just because no one is interesting in translating you now doesn't mean that will always be the case. The global market is booming. Which means so is the translation market.
My work's been translated into a number of languages at this point, and I still love seeing the translated covers and hearing from fans who've only (or mostly) read me in their native language. Their comments and questions are particularly interesting, framed as they are by cultural differences.
Anyway, my Japanese translations are some of my very favorites. Partly that has to do with how engaged the Japanese readership is, partly it has to do with the fact that (the publisher) Shinshokan has been really good to work with--I feel like over the years my translator has become a friend--and partly it has to do with the fact that these translations are illustrated. Because of the wonderful art, a surprising number of my readers who don't speak Japanese have gone ahead and bought the translations! (So...kind of genuis on the part of the publisher. ;-))
Because I'm asked so often about the translation process (by other writers, yes, but also by readers), I thought it would be interesting to "interview" translator Aki Fuyuto and artist Yooichi Kadono (who, among other works, does the illustrations on the Art of Murder series).
Hello to Josh and the readers of this blog! We are excited to get a chance to talk about ourselves here.
For those who wonder who we are, here is some information about ourselves.
Aki Fuyuto: a translator, mainly working on M/M romances with Monochrome Romance label, a sub label of Shinshokan. My first work as a translator was Josh's 'Icecapade.'
Yooichi Kadono: an illustrator. Worked in the film industry, which led to painting. With an offer from an editor in Shinshokan, started as an illustrator. My first work as an illustrator was Josh's 'The Case of Christmas.'
JL - Are you able to choose your own projects or are they assigned to you? If you're able to choose, what attracts you to a particular work? What do you look for? And if you're not able to choose, then what do you find especially satisfying in a work?
Aki Fuyuto: Yes, I can. I make a short list of M/M romance to translate for the publisher and decide with them which one is to be next.
What attracts me is difficult to put into words, but I like the intensity between two people and love to watch it turn their lives upside down, so savagely.
Yooichi Kadono: I don't choose the project. I'll do it if an offer comes, unless I have other things already scheduled. I love to experience the new and unknown. I don't know much about 'satisfaction' in a work, um.
JL- What advice do you have for others wishing to enter your fields?
Fuyuto: Love languages, dictionaries, and Google Search. Sometimes the latter two deceive you, so don't trust them, just be pals with them!
Kadono: Most crucial thing is staying healthy. Even in the busiest time, you have to take good care of yourself.
YK - Do you visit museums often? If so, can you tell me some encounters you remember well? What opinion do you have about the restoration of old artwork? (Kadono)