My books – PAPERBOY and COPYBOY – have been published in 15 languages, but there’s a new wrinkle that is intriguing.
PAPERBOY has just come out in a bilingual edition, Romanian and English. In the 366-page book, English is on the left and Romanian is on the right-hand facing page.
I’m discovering all manner of interesting tidbits.
The title of the book is Băiatul cu Zaire, which Google translates as “Boy With Newspaper.” The phonetic mark over the “a” is called a “breve.”
The Romanian language has Latin roots and when compared to all modern languages, it most resembles Italian.
I took a little spin through the book to check certain words. A “knife” is a “briceagul.” “Stutter” is translated as “balbai,” but it can also mean “babble.” I happen to be adept at both.
I was curious what the Romanian publisher would do with the corrupted spelling of “spaghetti” in Chapter 7. The paperboy called it “splishghetti.” The Romanian paperboy says “splasghete” for “spaghete.” So, whether you splish or splash, it works the same way.
My books seem to travel the world readily. I’ve lost count of the number of printings that the books have gone through in the Turkish language. I’ve been told that one reason for this might be that the books are being used in English as Second Language (ESL) courses. I can see this. The writing style is simple (not simplistic) without a lot of complex sentence structures and tongue twisters.
Also, the themes of PAPERBOY and COPYBOY are universal.
I’ll let the Romanian paperboy have the last word:
Cuvintele dispar din aer imediat ce le spui, dar pe harte raman pentru totdeauna.
Translation: Words in the air blow away as soon as you say them but words on paper last forever.