Somebody actually took the time to translate my book into Japanese, it appears


I have no idea who they are (since I can't read Japanese), but hatena appears to be some sort of Japanese social bookmarking site, and I'll often find hits from them in my referrer logs. One of the members found a newly-issued Japanese translation of my book, which opens up a whole new audience to my obnoxious personality.

Stumbling across the Japanese edition was a bit of a surprise. I mean, yeah, the book contract has some paragraphs about translations, but seriously, who actually expects their book to be translated? That's just standard book contract boilerplate stuff.

What next, a movie deal?

Comments (29)
  1. Nathan says:

    But do you still get your royalties for translated books, residuals and all that ?

  2. Who.. says:

    ..plays you in the movie?

  3. ERock says:

    What next, a movie deal?

    Who would you want to play you in the movie?

  4. Stephen Jones says:

    —"Who would you want to play you in the movie?"—

    A nastier version of Cho Seung-hui

  5. John says:

    Johnny Legs can be pretty obnoxious; he’s my front runner at this point.  Of course he doesn’t have the smarts, but it’s Hollywood; what are you gonna do.

  6. AndyC says:

    It’s kind of cool to think you’ve written a book that you can’t read!

  7. Wang-Lo says:

    "Who plays you in the movie?"

    Moran Cho.

    -Wang-Lo.

  8. SvenGroot says:

    I find it impressive that it was apparently published yesterday and Amazon already has 2 "used & new" copies. :S

  9. alex.r. says:

    A movie would be awesome.

    I can already see the scene in which Raymond is doing some 3l337 hacks in ntsd with the glowing console reflecting on his face.

    And then it could turn into an action flick: (cue in low voice from hell)

    They’ve been nitpicking his blog to death…

    Now, he’s out to get revenge.

    "Take that you nitpicker!"

    (explosion)

    "How’s that for a typographical error!"

  10. N. Velope says:

      For a translation, it may have been a one price sale of rights to translate/sell in that country without any per-book royalties (that’s how it worked for one author I know (10-20k sales in English) whose book was translated into Japanese.)  The author then gets a cut of that amount.

  11. Oleg says:

    Recently I wrote a review of your book and published it (the review, not the book :-) on a popular Russian site. Quite possible, a translation inquiry might follow.

  12. EricLippert says:

    That happened to me too, four years ago. (http://blogs.msdn.com/ericlippert/archive/2003/10/13/53204.aspx)

    It is a bit of a surreal feeling, eh?

    > But do you still get your royalties for translated books, residuals and all that ?

    All of my book royalty contracts specify a mere pittance for sales of translated versions. I was not particularly interested in negotiating a better rate for sales of translated versions; it’s generally only a small fraction of the regular sales.  

    Then again, I didn’t write any of my books for the money either. If writing were my sole means of support I would be a lot more aggressive about negotiating that stuff.

    [As measly as the rates are for US sales, the overseas rates are lower, and the translation rates even lower still. That Japanese translation might pay for a tuna roll. -Raymond]
  13. Tom says:

    Congrats Raymond!  A whole new audience indeed.  Here’s a translation of the relevant part of the entry from hatena for anyone who is wondering just what was said:

    "Well, isn’t it the book version of Microsoft’s Raymond Chen’s blog The Old New Thing!!  I discovered it unexpectedly while strolling through the bookstore.  I was happy because I wanted to read it before, but couldn’t read it in English.  I saw many interesting looking stories while flipping through the pages so I ordered it express from Amazon."

  14. Damian says:

    Lol! welcome to the tubes! if an audience isn’t satisfied with a producer, someone will step up. Just look at the harry potter release and the french translation…

  15. mikeb says:

    Come on, people… you’re thinking too inside-the-box.

    It’s definitely Samuel Jackson:  "Enough is enough! I have had it with these @%*#! nitpickers  on this @%*#! blog!"

  16. Dean Harding says:

    Is "ASCII" the name of the Japanese version’s publisher? Otherwise, why does it say "ASCII" on the bottom?

    As for who’d play Raymond in the movie, obviously[1] it’d be Masi Oka. He has the added benefit of begin a bit of a computer geek already :-)

    [1] http://blogs.msdn.com/danielfe/archive/2007/02/26/microsoft-bloggers-the-movie.aspx

  17. Chow Yun-Fat says:

    I’ll do it.

  18. Brodie says:

    Amazon entry…

    http://www.amazon.co.jp/exec/obidos/ASIN/4756150004

    Translation company (with an old and out of date website):

    http://www.quipu.co.jp/translation.html

    ASCII is one of the big publishers of computer related software, magazines and books in Japan. See wikipedia for more.

    Their magazine (named ASCII) appears to be quite popular. I doubt that it has anything to do with its popularity, but apropos of nothing they nearly always feature a cute girl on the cover.

    http://www.ascii.co.jp/books/magazines/wascii.shtml

  19. FYI from Japan says:

    Publisher: ASCII.

    Translator: QUIP (company)

    Release: 2007/8/29

    Title: "Windows puroguramingu no gokui, rekishi kara manabu jissenteki Windows puroguraming!" [Windows Programming Secrets, Practical Windows Programming learned from History!]

    Price: 3990 yen

  20. bd_ says:

    Kind of a bland title – it translates to, roughly, "Essential points of windows programming" – subtitle "Learn practical lessons for Windows programming from history!"

    Personally I find "The Old New Thing" a much more interesting title :)

  21. Matt says:

    Yes, it’s not like it’s not untranslatable with some imagination.  Five seconds gives you 古代斬新 (well, that’s more like "ancient novelty" … eh, it’s five seconds of work).

    Sites like hatena are great, though.  Ever wanted to know how to say a particular odd phrase, or come across some slang reference you didn’t get?  Sites like this will tell you all you want to know.  (Well, hatena is kind of like a social bookmarking site crossed with Urban Dictionary, except not as … well, pedestrian.)

  22. Name required says:

    That Japanese translation might pay for a tuna roll.

    How do you make a tuna roll?

    You push it off a mountain.

    Okay, the joke is better with a swiss roll.

  23. Vorn says:

    Withered Hand Attack!

    Vorn

  24. John Anthony Kazos Jr. says:

    "Translation" isn’t really an appropriate word. "Localization" (or L10n) might be more the thing. The point is, a Japanese version of the title is much more than just a translation, maintaining irony or not. US English is full of ironic phrases, titles, and what-not like "The Old New Thing", but Japanese culture is different than ours, and it wouldn’t necessarily have the same effect. Take a good long look at the great majority of book titles (and other titles, for that matter) in Japan and you’ll see that they do seem to follow a theme that appeals to a Japanese audience, whereas to us, it seems long and drawn-out or even clunky. So I think their choice of title is quite good for a Japanese publication.

  25. Jeremy says:

    Well, they could either make a movie about a programmer and dramatize it Hollywood style where someone demands that the programmer write a program that decrypts alien messages in five minutes typing as fast as they can with a gun to their head with no testing and it works the first time. Or, it could be a little closer to reality where they show a guy staring at his screen for two hours with no sound other than the occasional grunt of frustration with the final shot of of the movie being a pumped fist in the air with the exclamation "Yeah! It finally blinks correctly!!!"

  26. Neo says:

    Don’t forget that the movie Raymond has to use a flashy 3d interface with VR gloves to program with bugs being represented as CGI samurai. Tim Robbins can reprise his role in Antitrust as Bill Gates and Philip Seymour Hoffman can play Balmer.

  27. stosb says:

    If they made a movie of The Old New Thing, it would be made available on Betamax, VHS and Super 8.

    It would also put the blue screens to good use, but then it would be quite suprising to see something good coming out of Windows Movie Maker ;*)

  28. Sarath says:

    Raymond. I too dont know who are these guy and having the same problem you have. Dont know to read Japanese.

    but from my experience in Japan. They’re really enthusiastic towards the best know technical books. Also load of Microsoft Press books are available in Japanese here. But still they wanted to stick with their language and culture. They never want leave them. I saw many guys who hates English. But they need English Books and entertainment stuffs in Japanese

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