01 November 2008

Trick or treat

No trick-or-treaters rang my doorbell yesterday, but the doorbell did ring, and I did get a treat:

A big box full of books, all of them MY book! My translation, that is. It's a deeply satisfying feeling to see a row of them all ranged on the shelf, knowing that my name is on the cover, in letters just as big as the editor's.

It's not the first time I've seen it; I have had one copy since late July, I think. And I've been simultaneously excited and embarrassed about it all ever since I first held it in my hands and flipped through the pages.

Excited, because the book is beautiful, with a lovely painting of food on the cover, and a tasteful jacket design. I love the deep red endpapers, the font, and the layout. I was thrilled that it is a bilingual edition, Catalan and English on facing pages, so readers can themselves go to the original for the thornier aspects of the medieval language.

But also embarrassed, because some funky editing went on after I sent my round of proofs to the publisher. [Redacted: some guesses as to who is at fault, because on second thought, this is a job here, and blog lesson #1 is probably about not discussing work-related issues online.] The first problem is with inconsistencies (changed some but not all occurrences of a word). I wouldn't mind if they had changed them all but it makes me itch and practically break out in hives to see contradictory usage. Similarly, some but not all words were changed to British spelling. Finally, there are some errors that are probably typesetting issues, including many incorrect word breaks (as a former proofreader, this gets under my skin).

Yet all of this I could easily forgive if there did not exist, right in the middle of page 19, glaring at me reproachfully (there might as well be a blinking red light for all I can ignore it), this clunker: "When the recipes was copied, they was extensively reworked..."

The first time I thumbed through the book, I saw it, and it still makes me cringe every time I think about it (the "trick" in yesterday's "treat," if you will). I suppose the error resulted from the back-and-forth between the British and Catalan editors. Somebody changed something, somebody changed it back, but without correcting the verb. I don't know.

I have to reassure myself with the following line of reasoning: a) not a whole lot of people are going to buy this book, anyway--it's a niche audience--and b) of those who buy it, not many are going to share my obsession with grammar, and c) the clunker on page 19 does not go on my CV, so sheesh, just calm down already.

Anyway, today I am thankful for my very first, very own, shiny pretty book translation.

1 comment:

Nicole said...

Books are great and having your own must be great!

Yeah, spelling, typos and grammar.
just discussed this with a friend of mine (bookseller), because my skin crawled a few times while reading German translations. So many typos and sometimes wrong names...bbbrr....