This is the time of year when everything grinds to a halt in Niceland – from the end of June to the beginning of August. Standard holidays here are 24 days per year – nearly five weeks – and the vast majority of people make the greatest use of that in the summer. This means a marked lull in the translating/copyediting business, which in turn means that our YT has the luxury of doing things like sleeping in, dicking around on the computer all day, and catching up on long-overdue fun-filled projects like cleaning out the pantry [read: the room off our kitchen in which we stuff everything that has no fixed place in the universe].
BUT lest you think being a Nicelandic translator/copyeditor in the height of summer is all fun and games, think again! Take for instance the telephone call our YT got from DV, Iceland’s most notorious tabloid rag [actually, come to think of it, I don’t know if it’s tabloid now – it keeps changing hands – one minute it’s tabloid, the next minute it’s not, who can keep track?] a couple of days ago.
DV JOURNALIST: Hello, is this Alda Kalda the translator?
YT: Why, yes!
DVJ: This is sowanso, jounalist at DV, do you have time for a short interview?
DVJ: It’s about that book you translated, that’s just been published.
DVJ: Yes the one about [x].
YT: Oh! Hahaha – the one that was published ten years ago.
DVJ: No, the one that was just published now.
YT: No, ten years ago.
DVJ: No, now.
So it turns out that this book I translated ten years ago – and own the copyright on – has just been republished and nobody told me. How delightful.
So YT gets on the blower to the writers’ union. There it transpires that this is indeed an infringement of copyright laws, pending certain conditions. Question is, whether the certain conditions are in place.
YT gets on the blower to the publisher. Gets a new editor, never before encountered.
NEW EDITOR: Oh my. Oh. I never thought. Just that it was all done in such a big rush and everything. Must look into it. Check whether certain conditions are in place. Apologies, regrets, etc. Give me your email, I’ll send you mine.
I’m happy to give them the benefit of the doubt, but previous [and bitter] experience has taught me that publishers in this country are not to be trusted when it comes to the rights of translators. Consequently I’m extremely reluctant to work for publishers … not only is the standard rate for translations pitifully low, but annoying things like this are almost to be expected. Corporate work may not be as fulfilling – but at least it’s straightforward and trouble-free.
ANYWAY, WHILE I SIT INSIDE GRUMBLING, THE SUN BECKONS OUTSIDE…
And heading for the swimming pool has suddenly become an exceedingly attractive idea. It’s been an excellent June, they say, although the past couple of days were a bit too much on the windy side, with temps a bit lower than we’re used to at this time of year. Sort of like the summers used to be here before the onset of global warming. Ah, nostalgia! Current temps 12°C [52F] and sunrise was at 3 am, sunset due for 12.01 am tomorrow [the day getting shorter, argh!].