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This chapter is updated by Wuxia.Blog
Translated by: ShawnSuh
Edited by: SootyOwl
“What’s so tough about it?” Coin asked, and Juho gave him one of the factors that made him hesitant.
“I don’t think I have talent when it comes to transcribing other people’s books,” he said as he remembered the time when he was busy with a transcription. His palate was simply too sensitive, and he couldn’t help but taste every little emotion in the book. Knowing that he wouldn’t have the option to stop in the middle, there was far too much at stake.
“So you have no experience translating, but you have transcribed a book before?” Coin asked, catching on to Juho immediately, and Juho gave him an affirmative answer.
“I don’t know if your memory of transcription is good or bad, but there’s nothing to worry about. Translation is entirely different.”
“How are they different?” Juho asked, knowing that Coin had experience translating.
“It’s the difference of what’s on the inside and the outside.”
“What does that mean?”
“So, transcriptions are all about rewriting the book word for word, in the same, exact shape, down to the last period. But translations? Not so. You’re rewriting the book in a different language, and giving words different shapes, which means you can’t avoid changes.”
Juho remembered one of Mr. Moon’s lectures. Just as the word itself suggested, transcription meant copying exactly what was in the book, translation was different.
“The challenge is making the least number of changes as possible from the original, the intent of the writer and purpose of certain sentences. There’s no way around it but to focus inwardly. Besides, it’s written by another author, so you have to respect his intentions.”
“So, in summary, transcription is copying what’s on the outside, whereas translation is copying what’s on the inside.”
“Simply put, yes,” Coin said, adding, “Transcription is done solely for your benefit, but with translation, you have to take readers into account as well. And that’s what makes it a pain in the ass. It doesn’t matter how easy it is to read to your eyes. You take what you’ve read and transfer that directly to the readers without deviating from the author’s intent.”
Juho felt exhausted from the thought alone.
“If you fail to do that, then you end up writing a whole different book, and I don’t consider translated versions like that as my own book.”
“Really?” Nam Kyung asked, putting pressure into his hands. The day had finally come for him to prove himself. He was quite envious of Dong Baek Publishing Company’s recent success with the offshoot volume of ‘Language of God.’ Then, he told the editor-in-chief in a whisper, “This is huge.”
The editor-in-chief had been sitting there with his eyes sparkling with interest as he witnessed Yun Woo’s language skill in person.
‘Translation takes more than speaking the language fluently. I don’t doubt Yun Woo and his skills, but on the off chance that his translations are less than average, we can always edit them on our end. I wouldn’t even bother with translators who take up their editors’ precious time, but the person sitting in front of me is Yun Woo himself, the best-selling author and youngest winner of the Dong Kyung Literary Award. On top of that, he’s Won Yi Young himself. Better yet, Kelley Coin chose him personally as his translator,’ the editor-in-chief thought as he quickly locked eyes with Nam Kyung.
‘As long as Yun Woo is up for it, this is an opportunity for us,’ Nam Kyung thought, and opened his mouth to say, “In fact, it’s common for authors to take on translation gigs, very much like Mr. Coin here. Mr. Uhm has recently decided to participate in translating the ‘World Literature Compilation.'”
“He says it helps him with writing,” the editor-in-chief chimed in.
“We have some manuscripts that need to be translated. As long as you’re willing, Mr. Woo, we’ll get in contact with the person in charge.”
Juho contemplated as everyone in the room waited for his answer.
‘I do have the time, but translating, huh.’
He replayed the words said by Coin in his head. Unlike transcription, translation wasn’t solely for his own good, and it was different from simply reading the original text. He would have to take the readers into account.
Then, he remembered the notebook that he used for the transcription. The transcription was being put on hold indefinitely. However, he couldn’t afford to treat translation in the same way. He would need to meet a deadline, and the readers would be waiting.
Growing impatient of Juho’s hesitation, Coin rushed him on, “I don’t got all day. Are you gonna do it or not? Are you not feeling confident?”
At that, Juho looked up and locked eyes with Coin.
‘If translation is really different from transcription, it might be doable,’ Juho thought, and the corner of his mouth turned up at Coin’s taunts.
It was an affirmative answer, and Coin chugged what was left in his thermos and said, “Just know that I won’t let you ruin my work.”
“I better start planning my escape just in case.”
“Why aren’t you more ambitious?”
“I wouldn’t want to be all talk.”
Juho looked down at his cup, which was filled with a brown liquid unlike Coin’s thermos. He would be translating a book written by an author who was distinctly different from him.
“Well, I better write a new contract,” Nam Kyung said.
“Thanks to you, we won’t have to worry about paying for a translation agency.”
“Let’s make sure to get the numbers straight with sales.”
With that, the meeting with Kelley Coin ended peacefully.
“Sigh,” Isabella let out a heavy sigh in her plane back home with Coin. It was a long day. Massaging her neck, she stopped a stewardess who was passing by and asked, “May I have a cup of orange juice, please?”
At her request, the stewardess put on a friendly smile and poured her a cup. With the cup in her hand, Isabella questioned Coin, who had his eyes closed.
“Do you need anything to drink?”
It was a rather insincere answer, and being familiar with his attitude, Isabella drank her orange juice quietly.
“Do you think he’ll be able to do it?” Coin asked, and his editor caught on immediately.
“I thought you chose him because you thought he had what it took?”
“No,” he said with a mischievous smile.
“The most important thing as a translator is to stay hidden in their work. The original belongs to the author, so overshadowing the original means that the translator failed in their job, no matter how impressive the translation is. It’ll be a nightmare for a punk like Yun Woo, although I didn’t say anything on purpose.”
“You’re such an evil person.”
Although Yun Woo’s success as a translator would reflect positively on his career, Coin seemed entirely uninterested in working together with another author. He was a person quite distant from the notion of unity. With that, Isabella looked away from him and out the window. A punk like Yun Woo. In her eyes, Yun Woo had a lot in common with the clouds that floated around freely.
Known widely in the US, UK, and across Europe, Yun Woo was a young, anonymous author who had written two astounding books. Also known by his other alias, “Won Yi Young,” he’d written yet another book in an entirely different genre, which was also exported overseas. Despite the controversy surrounding the author’s identity, the book was received as a sensational success, and it was selling at an incredible rate.
The dispute between Yun Woo and Won Yi Young in Korea became worldwide news. However, it was soon discovered that there had only been one author at the center of it.
After meeting him in person, Isabella felt that he had what it took to drop a bomb of that scale. Having worked as Coin’s editor for years, she immediately recognized that Yun Woo was different from him. They were like water and fire. They couldn’t mix, otherwise one would overpower the other. However, the two authors were able to carry a conversation somehow. Yun Woo was a rather eloquent in his speech, and he understood everything Coin was saying. On top of that, he took up on Coin’s offer to translate his works. ‘A junior in high school. Eighteen, was it?’ Having met the young author in person, those numbers felt all the more foreign.
The fact that such a unique author would be translating Kelley Coin’s works was bound to draw a massive amount of attention, which worked to Coin’s advantage in reaching the international market.
One was hot, while the other cold. However, they both shared a similarity in that they tended to draw attention, whether desirable one or not. People had strong feelings toward them, and they were moved in different ways, whether positively or negatively. Such dynamic had also carried over to the two authors’ works. Some hated them while others loved them, and it was for that reason that Isabella was still working with Coin. She was in love with his writing.
“I’m sure Yun Woo has people like that around him.”
“What are you talking about?” Coin asked with his eyes half open, and Isabella asked a question instead of giving him an answer.
“You were moved by Yun Woo’s writing too, weren’t you?”
Without giving an answer, Coin closed his eyes, and Isabella snickered as the author didn’t even bother to come up with an excuse. There had been plenty of other books that had outsold Coin’s, but he hadn’t been as gentle. After cursing up a storm, he had simply gone back to writing.
However, he was different with Yun Woo. Yun Woo’s book had dug deep into his heart and moved him from within, making him lost, angry, and then eventually fly to Korea. After all, Coin was less than pleasant to work with, to say the least. He was stubborn and believed nothing until he had interacted with the author firsthand. While there were authors who tended to be tiresome at times, there were also authors who were interesting.
“As soon as we get back, I need you to get started with the manuscript. This time, please be mindful of the deadline.”
“Yeah, yeah,” Coin answered irritably, just as Isabella had expected. After staring at him for a little while, she too closed her eyes. Now that Coin was about to write another book, her days were about to get much busier.
Later, he would publish a book with an old man who contemplated on what made a book great.
After his meeting with Kelley Coin, Juho received the manuscripts for translation. The book that he would be translating was the same one mentioned in his conversation with Coin: ‘Belongings.’ Juho brushed his hand down the rigid cover with the title in English and opened the book. It was about two hundred and fifty-six pages long, and translating it would not be an easy task by any stretch of the imagination.
In order to protect Yun Woo’s identity and minimize his exposure, the publishing company discussed all details regarding the book through Nam Kyung, the editor, rather than the person in charge. Although Juho didn’t have a preference, he didn’t go out of his way to turn down the company’s consideration toward protecting his identity.
“OK. As for time, let’s say… three months. That should be plenty of time since it’s your first time and all.”
“Is that really plenty?”
“Of course. There are even people who finish within a month and a half.”
“Well, like I said, this is your first time, so don’t stretch yourself thin.”
Then, Nam Kyung looked at Juho with a comforting look on his face.
“Why are you looking at me like that?”
“Nothing. It’s just that I don’t have to worry about you going off the grid.”
“Off the grid?!”
Then, Nam Kyung looked into the distance and moaned as if he was reminiscing about something.
“There are translators who disappear on the deadline. That’s when all hell breaks loose.”
As a puzzled look appeared on Juho’s face, Nam Kyung added that he was telling the truth.
“It happens pretty often actually. The schedule goes all haywire, so we have set the dates all over again, and then we start going over budget. Like I said, all hell breaks loose.”
Translating a book was a long-term process that required strict self-management. Typically given two to three months, translators were expected to work autonomously, and the fact that there were translators who struggled with the self-management aspect was not an oddity.
Then, Nam Kyung placed his hand on Juho’s shoulder and said, “I’m not going to pressure you or anything, but I have to ask you to be mindful of the deadline. If you feel like you’re gonna need more time, just call me right at that moment instead of on the date or the day before the deadline. I’ll be able to do something about it at least.”
“I promise,” Juho gave an positive answer as he saw the desperation on Nam Kyung’s face. As Juho opened the book, he saw that the sentences were all within his level of understanding. Then, Nam Kyung thought for a moment and suggested, “It’s also not a bad idea to seek advice. I heard you’re close with Dong Gil Uhm. Is that right? Try talking to him.”
‘It might be better than nothing,’ Juho thought as he nodded affirmingly.
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