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Sunday, July 22, 2012

In His Own Words

As bloggers we glean bits and pieces of who we are by reading one anothers posts. Some bloggers are very open about themselves while others share very little of the intimate details of their lives. My friend Miroslav aka Dez The Hollywood Spy has a blog that provides exclusive information about movies and television. As a result, his 1.7 million readers know very little about the man behind the blog. In this series of interviews Miroslav will have a chance to do something he does not get to do on his own blog-tell us who he is, what he thinks and how he feels.


Miroslav resides in Serbia in the city of Subotica. Subotica is a multi-ethnic and multi-lingual city that combines the modern with the ancient.

While talking with Miroslav I discovered that he holds a degree in English with a minor in psychology. Professionally Miroslav is a professor of English and works as a translator of modern literature from English into Serbian. It was this last bit that intrigued me the most.

Anne: "Can you tell us a bit about the types of books you have translated" 

Miroslav:  In the three or four years of my career, I have translated around 30 books many of which are bestsellers.  This is quite an advantage for me because I have had the privilege of working on these books prior to their release in the U.S. and the U.K. 








Some of the books I have translated include popular bestsellers such as "Eragon", "True Blood", "Space Troopers",  and "Before I Go To Sleep."  Some of the historical novels I have worked on include "Gladiatrix", "Captain of Rome," "The Ship of Rome" and"Luminescent Life of Lilly Aphrodite",  I have also had the pleasure of working on some high quality literature such as Michaels Baigent's "Jesus Papers", Sarita Mandana's "Tiger Hills" and Jian Rong's "Wolf Totem" which won the Man's Award.

Anne: What do you find most gratifying and most challenging in your work as a translator"

Miroslav:  One of the most difficult qualities that one must posses is a wide base of general knowledge.  Without this I would be limited to working in a single genre.  A translator must be capable of conveying more than just the basic meaning of a text. You must also translate the hidden meanings, the poetical essence, the metaphors and the style of the book. This is particularly difficult as these are elements which go beyond the written word.

Creativity and imagination are the things I love most about this work.  It enables me to enter and explore different worlds with each new book. Thus I went from Roman ships to Mongolian steppes, from Elven forests to ancient arenas, from English castles to modern New York, from the exotic palaces of the sultan of Brunei to the luscious jungles of India, from vampire hideouts to Nai Germany and from pirate lairs to Sparta and Ithaca. Although it is long and difficult work, at times I shed a tear or two when the work is done and it is time to say goodbye to a particular book and the characters within it.

We'll continue our conversation with Miroslav next week with an exploration into his work as a bakery chef who is renowned for his specialty cakes and we will also discuss his policy regarding featuring films of an overly violent nature on his blog.  A topic that is most timely in light of the recent events in Colorado.  I look forward to seeing you here.

You may direct your comments and questions to myself and or to Miroslav as he will be in later today.

A bit of business:  Recently several new people have followed my blog. If I have not followed you back it is simply because your avi does not contain a link to your blog.  I would be most happy to return the follow if you leave a comment where I can go to your blog.

86 comments:

  1. Very nice post Anne. What an interesting occupation.

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    1. glad you find my occupation interesting, Rodger :)

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  2. I can't follow any more people because they won't let me, so I just subscribe to them on Google Reader and hope a comment is enough. Sometimes it is too :) I enjoyed this, and he has a good point. Being someone who translates books means that you get to see a lot of good literature. Like the person who adds subtitles to programs. I guess it has the downside of having to go through a lot of bad stuff as well.

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    1. yep, sometimes you have to translate bad books as well, which is not very fun :) Adding subtitles or translating movies and TV programmes is much less paid than translating books, which is why I don't do it :) although I'd like to.

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    2. Wouldn't it be nice to see some of the programs in advance dear. Like Pillars of the Earth for instance.

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    3. that would never happen here, darling, since our TV stations don't have fresh programmes :) but we do have fresh books :)

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    4. That is such a shame darling, but hardly surprising considering how the world works.

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    5. and it is so poorly paid, I think it's like one dollar or euro per page which is a ridiculous sum, even though films and shows don't take that long to translate as books.

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  3. Very interesting !!!
    I was surprised with the curiosity he have, because he follow my blog and often give me comments!
    his blog is very interesting and full of informations!
    Thanks Anne for your very good idea! Great (and nice!) man!

    (now I must go to the last post: I've missed it and it seems that it is a great painting work!)

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    1. thanks for the compliments, Samwise!

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    2. I think it is nice when someone finds a blog that they enjoy through my blog Pascal. You and De share the same youthful enthusiasm for live and are both the kindest and sweetest of men.

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    3. I'm touched with so much nice words!
      thanks both of you!

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  4. The is amazing and a real skill which combines so many different aspects of live together. I think all books should be available to the native tongue of the reader and when a translator has the passion of the subject as this chap has I think then that it is for the betterment of both the original author and the reader. I hat goes off to the chap. Thanks for this rather enlightening post.

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    1. thanks for the nice words, Panzer! I can't say all of my colleagues give quality translations, and that is a problem in my profession since we have a lot of uneducated people doing the job for less money, but I personally always try to give my best and to fight both for the story I translate and for my own language.

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    2. The translation is so very important. When I first read War and Peace the translator did a marvelous job. The book was not the ponderous tome that I had heard about. It was alive and captivating drawing me into a world that was foreign to mine. Years later I read it again by a less gifted translator and it was flat and dull. The qualities of the translator are everything.

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    3. I had that people telling me about my work on TRUE BLOOD crap :) They say my translation is better than the one which appeared in our bookstores some five or six years ago :)

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    4. People who don't read foreign language books don't understand this concept. The Spawn reads quite a lot of Asian literature and if they get the translations wrong she goes ballistic!

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    5. oh, I did a number of Asian books, but in such cases I have to use the English translation, which means that if that one is bad, mine will be bad too :( Asian books often have something very special in them, similar to their movies.

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  5. Miroslav's job sounds incredible, even if it may be tedious, providing translations to books provides a valuable service for readers, he's doing his country an amazing service with this job.

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    1. it is not a tedious job at all, it's very interesting, creative, and brings lots of new knowledge with each new book while at the same time bringing fun and changes with each new world I discover with each new book.

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    2. Thank you Matthew. I hope you had a good time in Scotland and that the game went well.

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  6. I have read some of his interviews and have been amazed by his educational background and translation work. I agree that there is more to just translating a work, because you have also have to get the feel of the words and meanings which are sometimes embedded in the cultural heritage of the writer.

    Thanks for showcasing this gifted blogger ~

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    1. you know it best, Heaven, how words are important in conveying a message!

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    2. You're welcome Heaven. The syntax of your poetry is one of the things that lends it such beauty and to have work such as your translated by less than the best would be a tragedy. When dealing with poetry the translator must be very, very skilled.

      Thank you for coming by today!!

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  7. I panicked as I was reading your post..my brain told me he had 1.7 million followers!! I´ve done some translation and it´s not that easy so all the best to him
    Cheers
    paul

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    1. not so many followers :) (which is my own fault as well, since I don't run around seeking for followers) but I do enjoy the number of almost 1,8 million readers and thousands of them on a daily basis :)

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    2. No Paul the 1.7 million refers to his regular readers many of whom do not comment. He his well known in the field of entertainment I assure you as he also does exclusive interviews with actors from both film and television.
      There are those who say "If the Hollywood Spy has not confirmed it, then it isn't true"

      You are a man of many talents Paul and thank you for stopping by today.

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    3. darling, it's almost 1,8 million now :pppp
      Yes, if you haven't seen it at HOLLYWOOD SPY it didn't happen at all :)

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    4. You shall be hitting the 2 million mark before too much longer!

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  8. Pfft the cat was sooo hoping you forgot all about this. Penguin Man already has 1.7 million hits, in which is arm of penguins go on different computers and just keep going back to his page 1,699,994 times and the other 6 was him. See he is so tricky, with his little Freud complex and trying to make all believe in such big stats. But one can never fool the cat. Translating books sounds like a great job though, that the cat will give him, as it can be done on your own time and you have time to get those 6 clicks in on your blog to get to 1.7 million hahaha. At least it wasn't as long winded as the cat thought it was going to be, you must have learned from old one eyed Elsie's yapping and Blabber as well. I guess the alliance is good for something after all. Now the cat is done with his fun, although you've translated that vampire crap? Ummm ewwww. You deserve a pringle can of poo for such despicable fluff.

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    1. yep, it's true, my penguins don't spend their time fighting the ebil cat, but sitting in front of thousands of computer units (for this we use a separate Borg cube) and hitting visits at my site :)

      I didn't have a choice with the vampire crap, cat, it's the sadness of my life :)

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    2. Well at least you can admit the truth now that the cat outed you. And I suppose if you want the dough you have to do the likes of the vampire fluff also.

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    3. yep, I got some real nice dough for the vampire trash. Did four books of the craptastic saga in two months, broke national translating records and took money for all my sweaty toil :)

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    5. Cat you are just jealous that he is adored by so many women who come by daily to visit his site. My own daughter and her friends knew of him and were shocked that I spoke with him. Let me tell you I went up in their estimation after that bit of business.

      I've grown as ill of the vampire crap as the two of you. I hope one day there is a backlash against it and it goes away for eternity.

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    6. LOL that story about your daughter always makes me laugh, Annzie :)

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    7. LOL so if you know about Dez you are hip? Hmm Americans really have lost their minds hahaha and yeah lets hope the vampire crap goes into the abyss.

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    8. Really, cat, really? I'm away on vacation and you think it's okay to trash talk me? Pfft!!! So rude! =PPP

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    9. ...I still like vampire stuff..or good vampire stuff anyways.

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  9. A man on purpose....nice story. A man of example.
    Nice post Anne, thanks for sharing. :-)

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    1. thanks for the nice words, Thanos :)

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    2. Thank your for taking the time to stop by Thanos. How is the work on your own book coming along. I hope your muse has arrived to give you inspiration.

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  10. Wonderful interview, Anne; Miroslav is a tireless and talented man. His home town looks beautiful and full of character. Best, Dean

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    1. glad you like my city, Dean, we did try to pick a lovely picture of it for the post :)

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    2. It was him that I went to when I was overwhelmed with blogging and juggling my personal life. He gave me good advice and that is to be very businesslike with my time. This is the key he said for managing so many things at once.

      There are so many beautiful sights in Serbia, from the rurals to the cities.

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    3. I was glad to give you the advice, Annzie!

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    4. If you remember I was so overwhelmed at the time I was thinking about quitting blogging altogether. I'm glad I listened to you and stuck around.

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    5. yes, I was very much afraid you could leave us forever like Blue did recently :(

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  11. Translation is so much more than providing simple word-by-word equivalence -- a good translator is an artist as much as the original author. I have occasionally read the same book or poem translated by different people -- one version may sing and the other be leaden. I have no doubt but that Dezz's translations sing!

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    1. it's true, Debs, you have to be a writer yourself in order to be a good translator.
      I'm sure my translations would sing in your ears, dear Canadian sister :)

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    2. I've had the same experience Debra and if it is an author I am familiar with and know how his work should sound I look for a translation that I know captures the nuances. Octovio Pa is one of my favorite poems and it took time but finally I did find some excellent translations of his work.

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  12. Miroslav is so clever it hurts! I love reading his tweets! Very interesting interview thank you!
    Regards
    May

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    1. sorry for causing you hurt, May :PP Thanks for dropping by!

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    2. It was my pleasure to do it and to share him with you all, especially with his readers. Thank you for stopping by!

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  13. Great interview. Very interesting. A translator is definitely an artist, having to ensure the message of the work translates as faithfully as possible, but when you encounter things like idiomatic phrases, it's up to the translator to best artistically convey the meaning without losing the art. I totally agree with you maintaining the "poetic essence." I look forward to part 2.

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    1. the things that makes it all easier today is that most modern bestsellers don't really have a message :))) Poetic essence, yes, and translating poems with rhymes, hidden meanings, emotions and all that stuff is also very difficult especially when there are ambiguous parts and metaphors in it too.

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    2. Thank you for taking the time to come in on your day off Pickle. As a word-smith yourself you would understand how important the abilities of the translator are. With your work in particular I can only imagine what the wrong translator would come up with. It could be quite funny!!!

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  14. I've been in the position where I've had to read a translated book, from a language that I already know, and I realize when they take something too literal and loose the essence of what was being said. I'm always iffy when I go for a translated book because of that. Because not enough translators treat it like Dez does.

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    1. yep, but when English is not your mother tongue, most of the books you read are translated. I'm sad that we have a lot of bad translators in my profession, especially today in the current age of social and financial and moral crises when quality isn't really valued. I try to fight as much as I can...

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    2. Society has unfortunately decided to place value on the lowest order of things. The dumbing down of our children is one of the greatest crimes of the century and one that we will pay for over many, many decades

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    3. it's true, Annzie, it will lead to some terrible things as we've already seen it many times....

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  15. Respect. That's a pretty cool job. I've done a few translations of subtitles for films before and it's not easy to do, but books are on a whole other level.

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    1. thanks for popping over, Bonjour! I thought of you this weekend when Jean Marc Bar received a lifetime achievement award at my city's Palic Film Festival. It's a festival of European film and I know how much you enjoy those.

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    2. It's lovely of you to have stopped by Bonjour. Many thanks!

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  16. interesting job...i wonder how hard it is to capture the essence of what the writer was tying to acomplish...is it hard as a translator to capture the subtle nuances a write builds into a story?

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    1. It can't be easy Brian and it takes a particular talent to do it right.

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    2. sometimes it's very hard, sometimes it isn't, but this is why you need the translator to also be a writer himself.

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  17. An interesting man so far, good answers and nice work Anne!

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    1. Thank you Angry. You may have to stop back by later as Ray is going to be roasted here in a few minutes.

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  18. Dezzy's translaqtion work is so wonderful and so important because stories, I believe, are so important. It must be wonderfully satisfying work.
    I'd love to visit Serbia one day. It looks gorgeous.

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    1. He's sent me so many pictures and I had no idea just how varied the landscape is nor how modern the cities. Those ancient buildings juxtaposed with the modern make a stunning effect. And then there's the food.

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    2. hope the people will see some of the other pics on next parts :)

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  19. Awesome interview! Miroslav, my dear Dez, is one of the brightest and best out there. He really lights ups the blogosphere.

    Subotica sounds just gorgeous and what a fascinating job. I can't wait to hear more about the cakes. :)

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  20. Great interview, Anne! I was amazed when I found out Dezz had so many credentials - translations, psychology and did his blog as a way of bring light and happiness into our world. Dezz is truly impressive and has impacted my own life greatly, as he knows. I look forward to the next interview =)

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    1. thanks for the kind words, Elsie dearest :) And those are just a few of the things I do :) there are many others....

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  21. That Dez guy again? Oh lord! He is nice but he can't be that nice! lol

    Kidding aside, it seems like an intelligent and fascinating individual! And well educated!

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    1. definitely not that nice, I hear he paid some PR agencies to build him that image and he bribed Annzie with some whiskey to post these odes to him....

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  22. What a lovely interview. One thing I've discovered from my months knowing Dezzy is that he is a man of many talents. Can't wait to read the next one.

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  23. Awwww...I missed this because I was gone, but I am so glad I came back to it...it made me smile. Thank you both for sharing!! <3

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  24. Didnt know all these about Dezmond. Miroslav, you are Leonard-da-vinci of 21st century man. You are not jack-of-all-trades, you are master of all trades. My jaw dropped - wowwwwwwwwww

    Can I get little bit of your brain, purely for academic research purpose?

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    1. LOL, which slice you want? Frontal? Left? Right?

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