Friday, May 16, 2008

When is a book tweaked for OS market and when does it start being a different book?

Chasing Boys has been picked up by a US publisher and initial consultations suggested there were 3 issues that needed addressing before it was published. These were minor and I was happy to go along with them. I received the full proofs yesterday and was slightly alarmed by the amount of editing marks on the page. A lot of these marks referred to spaced em dashes and double quotes and Mom instead of Mum. Others were colloquial Australian words or even just words from the English language that have not translated from Australian English to American English (school bursar became vice principal, quadrangle became running track, bowling club became mini golf) where the intent of the words was changed. I have grown up on a diet of American culture through TV, Film and Music. It was therefore a surprise when I realised the level of difference that exists between our two cultures. I wonder if anyone else has come across this phenomenon? Do Australian publishers radically change text when buying in overseas titles? (I've used Vegemite as an Aussie icon but of course we don't own it anymore...)