Blank Slate Books

Translating Slaapkoppen

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SlaapTrans-714474Randall C’s mesmerising Slaapkoppen – which will be called Sleepyheads – is making it’s way through the translation stage. I thought you might like to see the low-tech and probably completely wrong way I go about this. First we have the translation, which has been done by Wim Lockfeer of Ephemerist fame. Wim luckily also writes for the Forbidden Planet blog regularly – so we know him and he knows us – which is handy as it allows an interaction between us that I don’t think we would necessarily get with an unknown translator. He works on translations for a living so he was always the man for the job.

Once I have Wim’s words I need to be able to read them with a visual context as I find it almost impossible to get a true feel for how the words and pictures work together unless they are being read as a real comic. Given that we aren’t doing the actual lettering on the book – because author Randall C. is doing it himself – we don’t have digital files where we can make continual running changes, I’ve had to make my own ‘comic’ version in true Blue Peter fashion. It entails many bottles of Tipex and a copy of the original language book. I’ve gone through the book removing all the non english text and handwriting the translated text in its place. Now I’ve got something close to what the finished book would be like if there were no more changes to the text, which I then scan to see if some of the wording should perhaps have a different way of saying things, perhaps a more casual english. Once I’ve stopped fiddling with it with Wim then Randall will have the final say on how the words are presented. It’s all actually quite fun, except when you get up still holding a Tipex bottle you’ve forgotten to put the lid back on and splash it all over yourself, and having the book reveal itself as you write the words into blank bubbles is a fascinating thing. No doubt at some point someone will give me a clip round the ear and show me the proper way to do something like this but, for now, back to the whiteout.

By the way, the book is wonderful, it has a lovely, lazy, dreamlike feel which draws you into the majesty of the art. I’m sure a good number of english speakers are going to adore this when we publish it, well, I hope so.

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