So when do you go global? One might consider oneself already global, given the international nature of the world wide web. But are you global, or glocal? You can connect with people all over the world and with programs such as Google Translate and Babel Fish you can read foreign web pages, albeit with dodgy translations that can easily lose the plot and the intent of the content! Or you can stick to English s the new lingua franca of the internet.
Alternatively, you can translate your work into foreign languages. I have done the first title in my back list and now offer ‘Hilda Hopkins, El Asesinato que Ella Trejio’ to the Spanish reading world. In time it will be an eBook as well as the Lulu.com pocket size paperback it is now. It will also be released as a dual language reader, with English on the left page and Spanish text on the right. All those 50 something ladies looking to retire to Malaga, or Costa Rica, Panama or wherever will have something more interesting to read as they learn the local lingo than ‘see Spot run’ in Espaniol!
It is not overly expensive to crowd source your translation. I was lucky to find a superb translator in Maria Nalus of Bogota, Columbia. She made sure I could follow the Spanish text by leaving in the page numbers where they correspond to the English version. Made it easy to figure out and format for print. Not sure how it will go for .epub, I envisage issues! Maria might have someone who can help with that layout problem for a reasonable sum. Now I am extra fortunate in that Maria is also a marketing professional and she will help sell these Spanish editions in that neck of the woods. I hope to offer the books in Hindi for the Indian market also and have a top writer, Poormina, working on the same book as I write. That will be a challenge as the script is very different but it will be a good test for Russian, Arabic and Chinese (Mandarin) editions. If I get Portuguese, French and German editions happening that lot plus the original English editions will cover half the population of the world! Anyone else will be either able to read one of those languages or not in a position to buy books anyway.
The dual reader versions are the real jewel in the crown. So many people want to learn English and these books will help them. Not just the Hilda Hopkins series of tongue in cheek crime thrillers, but my own novels, short story collections and the work of the Rorschach School, four volumes worth already and counting. Plus we have a wealth of writing published on The Word Shop and I invite non-English speaking writers to contribute and share their work.
The beauty of this is that it is a doable project, in fact it is already being done! We are at a time and place in the history of mankind where we have far more capability than ever before. As electronic writers, we can do so much to bring the world together, make it a better place and share so much of the richness mankind has to offer. I don’t see it as an exaggeration to say that if we understood each other better, if we could communicate with each other more easily, then we would find more reasons to be friends than excuses to be enemies. All of us, as writers, have the ability to make such a difference and it behooves us to try. I’m just one 50 year old bloke in a garage office in a low socio-economic suburb in a far flung antipodean city, yet I can reach out and touch the world. I have true power because I believe I do. What do you believe you can do?