Pulling back the curtain on the translation process

I've been fortunate enough to have my novels translated and published in more than 25 countries around the world. Just this week I heard from readers in Mexico, France, Brazil, and Australia, including two students who are reading Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend in school and one woman who strongly believes that Something Missing must be made into a film.

It was recently optioned again for film, so perhaps she will be proven correct.

But when it comes to the actual translations, I have almost no say over specifics, including the cover art. In the past ten years, I've spoken to translators two or three times in Germany and France when they had questions, but for the most part, I receive a check, and most of the time, I eventually receive the foreign edition of the novel. 

It's a process very much out of my hands.

This is why I enjoyed this video so much. It sort of pulled back the curtain a bit on the process of turning a book written in English into one that can be read by people in countries around the world..

While I have not sold quite as many books as JK Rowling, I'd like to think that translators are making just as many thoughtful decisions as the translators of her novels. 

They left their bookstores behind.

A new study has found that at various times the British have invaded almost 90 percent of the countries around the globe.


The analysis of the histories of the almost 200 countries found only 22 which have never experienced an invasion by the British.

And the Brits seemed so civilized.

As an author, I’ve noticed that even though the British relinquished control over most of their empire, they seem to have left their bookstores behind. When I sold the publication rights for MEMOIRS OF AN IMAGNARY FRIEND to Little Brown UK and agreed to use a pen name for the book, I was under the impression that my pseudonym, Matthew Green, would reside only on the British Isles, where the books were to be published.

But since it’s publication in March of this year, I have heard from readers of the UK edition in Australia, South Africa, Dubai, Turkey, India, Morocco and a number of countries in Europe and especially the Far East.

So much for staying put on the British Isles.  

It’s been both surprising and thrilling to hear from these readers around the world. The idea that a story I made up in my head has spread to the corners of the globe is one I would have never imagined. The book is even being adapted for the stage in South Africa. But when I agreed to the pen name, I had no idea that Matthew Green would be landing in as many books shops in as many places around the world as he has.

Clever of the British to remove their troops and infrastructure from these nations but leave their bookshops behind.

Win the hearts and minds, and what better way than through a book?