Italian Intrigue


The editors of the Quarterly Literary Review of Singapore emailed me a few days ago to say they had received a note from the Italian journal Buràn which said that they had published a translation of the excerpt from my novel-in-progress, Constellation of Scars, that QLRS had first published in 2006.

Neither QLRS nor I had been contacted for permission.

I am not upset (not even about the fact that they credit me to Malaysia, but hey who cares — never will that country be able to lay its claim to me again) but am certainly intrigued. Mailed it over to an Italian-speaking friend for an appraisal about the quality of translation. Any other Italian speakers/readers out there? What do you think?

The original is here.

6 responses »

  1. It’s a very very close, word-for-word translation, except for the title/first line, which they’ve translated as “This is how I know my father” (more graceful/idiomatic in Italian than “these are the ways”). Other than that I see no deviation at all from the original.

    It’s odd, though, that they only informed you and QLRS after the fact, because at the bottom it says “With the kind permission of QLRS magazine.” Most copyright laws cover translation — but it’s a good translation and good publicity for you, so you’re right not to make a fuss :-) .

  2. Preeta — This is a nice surprise (that you have an answer for this too). Thanks much. Yes, it’s strange that they not only thanked QLRS for permission but also sent them a mail to say it was published. But oh well. I have seen my work turn up in places where I never intended for them to be, with and without credit, with unapproved edits, published without consent and so on. Likewise with blog posts. This is alright. An Italian readership ain’t a bad thing ;) And this makes language number three in terms of what my work’s been or being translated into.

  3. Cool — it’s quite possible they thought they’d asked for permission and the request fell through the cracks on either side (in Italy or at QLRS). Their intentions were clearly honourable, which is more than one can say in so many cases :-) .

    BTW how is your search for a cover photo progressing?

  4. Hi, Sharanya
    My name is Flaviano, I’m one of the editor of the italian literary magazine Buràn.
    On january 2008 I wrote a email to QLRS, asking for the permission to translate and publish your story.
    We always ask for permission both to magazines and authors (if we know authors’s email address. I didn’t know your one, at that time)
    I didn’t receive any replay from QLRS. They didn’t answer neither when I informed them that our issue was online, but evidently they received my message, at least the last time.
    I beg your pardon, if we made a mistake. Your works were public, and we loved so much your writing. In the absence of both a permission or a prohibition, we decided to keep on translating and publishing.
    I’m going to write you a messagge (now I got your address) to explain what the Buràn project is.
    And we’ll change the country from Malaysia to India, if we are not wrong once again)
    Best wishes

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