It has been more than a month since my last blog. The reason? I underestimated the amount of work that would be required to get my book, Out of Prague: A Memoir of Survival, Denial, and Triumph, translated into Czech. The publisher, Mlada Fronta, asked me to make a few changes so that the book would be more suitable for the Czech reader. My original estimate was that it would take me perhaps three weeks to make these changes, before sending them to my translator in Prague.
The process has turned out to be considerably more difficult and time-consuming. First, I modify each chapter and perform several edits. Then, I e-mail it to Prague. Perhpas a week later, I receive the translated chapter, at which time I edit this Czech version. The latter is the tough part. It is very unusual for an author to know the foreign language into which his book is being translated. Czech is my native language. I know it quite well — not well enough to do my own translation, but well enough to understand every word. Therein lies the problem. Occasionally, there are nuances and subtle meanings which get lost in translation, and my Czech collaborator and I must work through these. My knowledge of Czech turns out to be both a blessing and a curse.
The good news is that we’re making progress. So far, we’ve completed the Preface and seven of 18 chapters. We’re on schedule to meet our target completion date. As I mentioned in a previous blog, the Czech book will launch the first week of May 2011, at the Prague Book Fair, with a book tour to follow.
In the meantime, the search for a U.S. publisher for the English version goes on…