Tag: french

“The Shipmaker”/”La Mère des Nefs” in Orbs


Quite happy to announce that “La Mère des Nefs” (lit. “Mother of Ships”, except “nefs” has a grandeur to it that “ship” doesn’t quite have in French…), the French translation of “The Shipmaker” will be appearing in the inaugural edition of Orbs, L’Autre Planètea cross between a bound book and a magazine (“beau-livre magazine” as they say in French).

Many thanks to Maxence Layet and Nathalie Barneix and the rest of the Orbs team for the opportunity and the translation–it’s always fascinating to see the process of translation into another language you speak, and this was no exception. Also, I have seen the galleys, and it all looks quite gorgeous. Looking forward to it!

Linky linky


-E. Sedia on copyright law and intellectual property. Seriously stuff worth reading and mulling on.

-Edroxy (Roxanne) has a series on French Female Writers Through the Centuries: her latest review is of Marie NDiaye’s Three Strong Women, here. Whole series is worth reading, but this has some interesthing thoughts about NDiaye herself, and her sense of identity, or “truncated mixity” as she calls it, and handling what people expect her to write vs what she actually writes.

-Nancy Fulda on Readers, Feedback and Good Stories. One of the hardest lessons I learnt as a beginning writer is that you can’t please everyone (probably because by temperament and by upbringing, I tend to be nice to everyone)

Why I can’t translate my own books


So, tonight I was rereading the French translation of Harbinger and finishing up with a few troublesome notes. Here’s a sample scene from that endeavour: I’m sitting in the sofa with the French translation on my knees, and going through my own notes. From time to time, I’ll ask a question to my husband that goes something like this:

Me: “Here, listen to this. Do you think there’s something wrong with it?”
The H, frowning: “Er. No. Quite honestly no. It’s just you trying to apply English grammar to the text.”
Me: “What about this? Don’t you think it’s too modern for the time period?”
The H, still frowning: “Hum… Probably.”
Me: “What would you replace it with? I’m coming up blank…”
[The H rolls his eyes upwards, but agrees to brainstorm suggestions with me for a bit]

And this, right here, is why I would make such a bad translator from English to French…

(let me reassure you that it’s nowhere as catastrophic as it seems, and that I manage most of the edits on my own, especially the translations of technical terms my wonderful translator–Laurent Philibert-Caillat–wasn’t entirely sure on. But about a fourth to a fifth of my edits have to go through my husband, to make sure that I’m not inserting random anglicisms into the text…)

In other news, the H forcibly put me in front of my computer Saturday morning, and insisted that I write something and stop moping on the internet. Whad’ya know, it actually worked. I broke 20k on the novella today–hit the first climax scene and the start of the spiral towards the end.
(one of the many, many reasons I’m happy to be married to the H)

The weekend’s knotty problem…


You know modern English only has one set of second-person pronouns and basically no formal address that uses pronouns? And how French has “tu/vous”, informal/formal forms of address?

Well, I have the whole weekend to work out how characters in Obsidian and Blood should address one another in the French translation, whether by tutoiement or vouvoiement–in order to help out the translator.

(don’t get me wrong, I’m overjoyed I get that kind of control over the translation, but it’s just that I now have to mentally translate my characters interactions into French, and it’s a teensy little bit painful)

My first French translation!


A new French webzine has launched here: its inaugural issue has stories by Laurent Kloetzer and me (“Coeur Flétri”, the English-language translation of “Blighted Heart”). With extra texts by Xavier Mauméjean and Daryl Gregory, which you can get when you buy the whole issue (2.99 euros), or you can wait a bit for them to be posted.

Thanks to Seb Cevey, Florence Dolisi, and the whole Angle Mort team for the honour of opening up the shop 🙂

(and wow, it sure feels weird to be published in my native language…)

Also, for an encore, my second French translation will soon be published in Galaxies, courtesy of Pierre Gévart and Camille Thérion. It’s “Chute d’un Papillon au Point du Jour”, in which the astute will recognise the French version of the Xuya story “Butterfly Falling at Dawn”.

And for the encore of the encore, here’s the webpage of my French publisher, Eclipse.

French rights to Obsidian and Blood sold


Ok, this is the bit where I jump up and down (and possibly throw some squeeing, too). This was the news I was sitting on last week, which was killing me (I’ve known for a while, but the signed contracts arrived last week, which made it even harder to wait).

My awesome agents at Zeno Agency have sold French rights to all three Obsidian and Blood books to Mathieu Saintout of Bibliothèque Interdite (the aptly named “Forbidden Library”). Bibliothèque Interdite is currently publishing Games Workshop books, but is planning to launch their new imprint at the end of the year.

I’m going to be translated in French. For French bookshops. This is going to be so weird. But so great.

This clearly calls for leaping Bubble Bobble dinosaurs:

A small rant


And while we’re on the subject of writing in other cultures….

Dear Interwebs (and dear writers/editors/journalists),

If you’re going to be using or quoting French words, would you please try to get the accents right? It may not seem like much to you, but witness:

-“côte”=slope; “coté“=side
-“mat”=matte, Fool trump in tarot; “mât”=mast
-“pâte”=dough, “pâté“=spreadable paste made with meat, “pate”= a word that doesn’t exist in the dictionary (though “patte” does)

I can deal with no accents whatsoever, since I’ll assume they’ve all been stripped. But please pretty please with cherries on top, don’t just randomly add them and hope it looks good. It doesn’t. It just looks weird, unpronouncable, and written by someone who had no blasted idea of what accents were for.

And if you’re going to be making up French first names, could you please check the time period when your story is supposed to be taking place?

You might not know it, but before 1993, the civil servants at the town hall (where you go to register a birth), could reject anything that wasn’t on a pre-approved list (it’s here in French, if you’re interested. A shorter version in English is up on Wikipedia). The list was calendar saints, mythology (Greek/Roman), some foreign names (very limited, since the ones listed are James, Ivan or Nadine), some substantives, and acceptable variations on spelling of an authorised name (Marianne for Marie-Anne, Mathieu for Matthieu, Michèle/Michelle). And you actually had to justify why you weren’t giving a proper French name (as in, a calendar saint).

And before 1966, anything that wasn’t a calendar saint had very, very low chances of going through.

So, if you’re going to be creative with first names, please don’t set your story in 1945.