Monday, February 28, 2005

100,000 Readers...

... is what I'm hoping for, when my short story "See" is now published in the Chinese magazine SCIENCE FICTION STORY (Ke Huan). I am now writing and preparing more stories for the Chinese market...

To write for translation from English to Chinese is a special challenge. You must eliminate ambiguities, wordplays and metaphors which won't translate well or might be misunderstood.

For example, take this quote by Philip Roth:
"Sheer Playfulness and Deadly Seriousness are my closest friends."
Translate it to Chinese and back, and with bad luck you might get something like:
"Sheer Spirit of Childishness and Mortal Seriousness are the friends standing closest to me."

So you must simplify:
"I strive to be both childish and serious."
Dull, but lucid.

Note how this exercise teaches you to write more clearly. Try it! Pick a random sentence from a book, and strip it of all ambiguity... until only its simplest, starkest meaning is left.

(The story "See" can be read in English, in issue #5 of the magazine SIMULACRUM.)


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