I decided to give it a go because a close friend of mine urged me to translate my novels to Spanish and given the XMAS season is coming I decided to release a translation of the first novel before getting the official copyright certificate which should be arriving shortly anyways.
It seems like I have at least some curious onlookers to say the least.
And why not? While more native English speakers grow up in countries that emphasize reading books from a young age or to say the least English is a language that is spoken all over the world it's still a double edged sword because most other writers like to write in this language. English language fantasy novels indeed abound.
However even though there are hundreds of millions of Spanish speakers out there very few of them like to write fiction novels even though Spanish translations of popular fantasy books like The Hunger Games, Harry Potter and Divergent sell well.
I do have however one small qualm with a lot of Spanish translations. For starters a lot of them are translated in the Spain Spanish way. Don't get me wrong, the overtly polite proverbs in a Tolkien novel are most suitable but overdoing vosotréis in novel written with a more colloquial English wants me to smash my head against a wall.
There is a reason why I gave up on reading the only copy of The Portrait of Dorian Grey in my university because I couldn't stand the awful translation.
However I can understand the conundrum of many monolingual authors that don't dip into the ocean of translating their novels. Not only would I have to fork a small fortune to find someone to translate my 100,000 page novel that will actually do a decent job and not steal the translation for him/herself but then you have the issue of what to do with royalties.
Would you hire a ghostwriter translator?
Even if you find someone willing to lose the glory and does an honest job of translating your work without stealing your ideas would you really publish it without crediting anyone? What if you are in the radio and a caller starts blabbering you in that translated tongue? Reading a foreign language is the easy part, it's expressing yourself that can be a pain in the butt and they will catch you in a jiff.
In the possible scenario you decide to translate your novel and find someone reliable that either demands a hefty translation fee and/or a huge royalty for a certain amount of years will they preserve the jokes of your novel? The feeling?
I disliked the translations of the first 3 Harry Potter novels, I just feel like something was missing. Later books had a better translation but even if someone hits the grammatical aspect of the text well it's far harder to grasp the slang. In a way I feel glad I took the huge annoyance of spending 3 weeks translating 99,000 words of my first novel and trying to retain my way of speaking in the process. The book feels like it was written by me even if it's in a different language.
I didn't retain word by word at 100% because some of the text would look silly and/or redundant but I still made an effort to keep both versions as close to each other as I could.
Will non Mexican Spanish speakers like it that I used Mexican slang?
In the least I hope they don't detest it. At any given case I'd rather write something I know well than trying to write English like a British speaker without having ever been to England and making a fool out of myself.
Is there even a Spanish speaking market out there?
With over 30% of the US population self-identifying as Hispanic and millions of Spanish speakers I hope some of them enjoy fantasy novels. Even though Mexicans don't seem to show any interest in reading books which is a shame I was surprised that in Santiago de Chile there are book lending stands in the subway. I was left utterly speechless.
Given I had some curious onlookers borrowing my 1st Spanish translated novel just a few hours after making it live means there's at least a certain degree of curiosity. I wasn't planning on translating more novels because it's really tedious work but I've decided to give it a chance and I'm translating Separation right now. I hope I'll have the draft ready in 10 days tops.