Thursday, April 12, 2012

Unzip the monkey and mountain top: 'Servicio de alta mar'

I have been translated. Just one short story (which happens to be the most recent story I published), but it's still one of those Writer's Milestones.

If you speak Spanish, or fancy your Traveller's Spanish, you can read 'Servicio de alta mar' at

Many thanks to Canberra-based Jorge Salavert who translated the story. He's already blogged about his translation here.

The original version was published as 'Offshore Service' in Griffith Review 34 late last year. Good news: you can read this English version online, too.

And while I'm at it, here's the interview I did with the Griffith Review about this particular story.

I would not, however, recommend you rely on Google Translate to assess the quality of Jorge's translation. But if you're after a laugh or two...

Heck, I'll save you the Compare and Contrast exercise. Here are my favourite machine mistranslations:

I had the feeling of spending my midlife dark. 
They wore helmets aside, or climbed the slaughterhouses of the pants to the knees
She was looking out the window, entranced by the sea, the only way that a novice may be pregnant. 
I still had an uneasy conscience about leaving aboard the June Tong III , in particular because it was a ship of nine wineries, a mastodon. 
"Raisins?" (A mistranslation of "¿Las pasas?" which was "Hang out?" in the original) 
He had prepared a complete repertoire on my "pigeon" about how New Zealanders put their noses where they should stick his cock. 
"Help me, pussy" (Original: Fucking help me) 
... the room where I always imagined Yanna, waiting for the next crew will unzip the monkey and mountain top.

I've been frustrated lately by how long THE NOVEL is taking me. I want so dearly to be productive, if not prolific (part of my middle class white dude guilt, I suspect; if it's a part-time job, why aren't you f-ing working? etc). Taking time out to write 'Offshore Service' and another story called 'The Cuddies' (to be published in the UK later this year) are contributing factors. But days like today remind me why I write anything: to tell stories, to be published, to reach new readers.

Okay, back to THE NOVEL.

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