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Help Needed to Confirm A Translation


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Old March 27, 2016, 05:27 PM
Marita A. Hansen Marita A. Hansen is offline
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Help Needed to Confirm A Translation

I need help from anyone who is fluent in both Spanish and English. I've been approached by a translator who wants to translate my self-published mafia series My Masters' Nightmare into Spanish. She's given me a sample and I just want to know if it's a good/accurate translation or not. I'll pop both the English and Spanish versions below. Thanks in advance! I had heaps of people to confirm my Italian translations, but can't find any Spanish ones! So, I'd greatly appreciate your help.



I walked into the hotel bar knowing there was a strong chance that I would be drugged and kidnapped by the end of the night. Which was exactly why I was there. And why I’d slipped on the little black dress with two slits up the side, anything to encourage it to happen. I paused to look around the room, aware I was being watched by more than just the men in the bar. Four surveillance cameras were positioned at strategic points, my co-workers watching from outside of the New York hotel, where only the rich and infamous stayed.

A blond man pushed off a barstool and headed for me, his cream-colored Versace suit suggesting he was a cut above the rest of the patrons. He looked familiar, possibly a movie star from one of the many films I didn’t have time to see, my job as a FBI agent all-consuming, which was the way I preferred it, so I didn’t have time to think about my husband. I held up my hand before the man could get a word out, showing him the wedding ring I refused to remove, the diamond encrusted band lovingly designed by my husband, who’d been killed by the very people I was going to take down.
To my surprise the man bowed, then returned to his seat, allowing me to get back to my work. My gaze moved to the end of the bar, where I hoped Jagger D’Angelo was still sitting—my predator, my target, the bait for unsuspecting women. And he was the perfect bait, the man so beautiful he could’ve stepped right out of a Versace catalogue, the suit looking even better on him than the actor who’d approached me, the light material covering him a tease to the senses. The mob certainly had picked well, because Jagger was a work of art.

Spanish Translation


Cuando entré en el bar del hotel, ya sabía que tenía muchas posibilidades de acabar la noche drogada y secuestrada. Y eso era, exactamente, lo que quería. Y era también la razón por la que me había metido en ese minúsculo vestido negro con dos grandes aberturas en los laterales. Pondría todo de mi parte para que ocurriera. Hice una pausa y miré alrededor. Podía sentir un montón de miradas sobre mí. Desde el exterior del hotel New York, al que solo entraban ricos y famosos, mis compañeros de trabajo también podían verme, gracias a las cuatro cámaras de vigilancia colocadas en sitios estratégicos.

Al verme, un hombre rubio sacó un taburete y me lo ofreció. Su traje color crema de Versace indicaba un estatus posiblemente mayor al del resto de los clientes. Su aspecto me resultó familiar; puede que fuera un actor de alguna de las películas que no tenía tiempo para ver. Mi trabajo como agente del FBI ocupaba todo mi tiempo. Y era mejor así, porque no tenía que pensar en mi marido. Antes de que el hombre pudiera decir una palabra, alcé la mano y le enseñé mi anillo de casada. Me había negado a quitármelo. Lo había diseñado mi marido, y tenía diamantes incrustados. La gente con la que me había propuesto acabar era, precisamente, la responsable de su muerte.
Para mi sorpresa, el hombre me hizo una reverencia y volvió a su asiento. Mejor. Así podría centrarme en mi trabajo. Paseé la mirada hasta el fondo del bar, esperando ver a Jagger D'Angelo: mi depredador, mi objetivo, el cebo de las chicas desprevenidas. Y él, ciertamente, era el cebo perfecto. Un hombre tan guapo que parecía recién salido de un catálogo de Versace, con un traje impecable que le sentaba aún mejor que el del hombre que se me había acercado antes. La mafia le había elegido bien: Jagger era, sin duda, una obra de arte.
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Old March 27, 2016, 06:34 PM
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Rusty Rusty is offline
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The translation is good. There's one idea that didn't get translated, but it is certainly good work, otherwise.
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Old March 28, 2016, 02:57 AM
Marita A. Hansen Marita A. Hansen is offline
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Originally Posted by Rusty View Post
The translation is good. There's one idea that didn't get translated, but it is certainly good work, otherwise.
Thanks!! Which was the one thing/idea that wasn't quite right?
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Old March 28, 2016, 05:04 AM
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pjt33 pjt33 is offline
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The best way for you to get a sense of how good the translation is is to read a back-translation into English. I have read the original English once, but I'm deliberately not going to refer to it while translating the Spanish. My sense is that the translator is quite good - the confidence to restructure sentences speaks well - but possibly doesn't pick up on every nuance. If you want your work to be translated it would probably be worth your while to prepare notes for translators which highlight possible ambiguities in the English and details which are key to later plot.

Note that I'm deliberately being more literal in back-translation than the translator was, in order not to obscure errors and to try to avoid introducing any of my own; so the Spanish reads better than my back-translation.


When I entered the hotel bar, I knew that I was quite likely to end the night drugged and kidnapped. And that was exactly what I wanted. And it was also the reason that I had got into that tiny black dress with two long slits in the sides. I would do all I could to make it happen. I paused and looked around. I could feel a lot of gazes. From outside the hotel New York, where only the rich and famous entered, my colleagues could also see me, thanks to the four surveillance cameras placed in strategic locations.

When he saw me, a blond man pulled out a stool and offered it to me. His cream Versace suit suggested that a status that was possibly above the rest of the clients. He looked familiar to me; possibly he was an actor from one of the films that I didn't have time to watch. My work as an FBI agent took up all my time. And it was better like that, because I didn't have to think about my husband. Before the man could say a work, I raised my hand and showed him my wedding ring. I had refused to take it off. My husband had designed it, and it had diamonds embedded in it. The people that I intended to end up with* were precisely those who were responsible for his death. To my surprise, the man bowed to me and returned to his seat. Good**. That way I could focus on my work. I moved my gaze towards the far end of the bar, hoping to see Jagger D'Angelo: my predator, my target, the bait for unsuspecting girls. And he was certainly the perfect bait. A man so handsome that he seemed straight out of a Versace catalogue, with an impeccable suit which looked even better on him than that of the man who had approached me earlier. The mafia had chosen him well: Jagger was, without doubt, a work of art.

* Or "to bring to an end"
** Or "For the best".


Comparing now to the original English:

* I get the impression that your hotel is anonymous but in the city of New York; whereas the Spanish hotel is called New York and is in an unspecified city. (That's the kind of ambiguity which I referred to and which notes for translators could cover).
* Infamous has become famous
* I think the translator misunderstood "pushed off a barstool".
* The description of the wedding ring seems a bit unnatural to me
* "The actor who'd approached me" has become just a "man"
* The stream-of-consciousness style has become more structured, and in support of that one or two phrases have vanished completely. ("the light material covering him a tease to the senses" isn't in the Spanish at all).

Of course, it's easier to criticise than to do. The translation isn't perfect, but nor is it pedestrian: it reads well, apart from the bit about the wedding ring. I'm a native English speaker who's lived in Spain for eight years and been in a Spanish-language book club for about six and a half years. I've read translations of novels which have been professionally published but were worse translated than this. (Neuromancer, by William Gibson, sticks in my mind: there were some sentences which were such complete nonsense that I had to back-translate them word for word to English in order to work out what they were supposed to say).
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Old March 29, 2016, 11:24 PM
Marita A. Hansen Marita A. Hansen is offline
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Thank you very much! Your reply is extremely helpful. I noticed the first line of the second paragraph not quite matching, but I didn't catch the rest. I'll pass on this link to her. I also work with an Italian translator and we often go between, asking if certain things are direct translations or slight variations to make things flow better, so I'll see if I can do this with the Spanish translator. Cheers!
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