Dr. Santas offers great tips on editing the translation of The Agony of Survival.

What are your daily writing habits?

I write every day, possibly morning and afternoon, but never exceed 3-4 hours total. I feel I must be at my best energy level to write well.

When you read the translation for the first time, did you think it was worth publishing it?

Yes, I thought it was excellent–well written, and very readable.

The Agony of Survival deals with philosophical issues. Do you think it will appeal to the general public?

Yes, because it is also a love story and a well written narrative with beautiful nature descriptions. The philosophical ideas are organically tied to the plot, so the reader finds it easier to follow the narrative.

What did you like/dislike about the translation?

I liked the professionalism of the translator and the exact reproduction of the original. The only negative comment I had was that, initially, the translated text needed to be brought up to speed with an American idiom–something that has been worked on successfully in the final version.

Do you have any advice for beginning translators?

A translator, obviously, must know both languages very well, and he/she must have good language skills to begin with. The translator must be an accomplished writer in the language into which he translates the original work. Beginners must hone their skills by first translating short pieces, and possibly show those to an instructor–or an accomplished translator for advice. Translating is a special skill and must be acquired by continuous practice.

Besides editing, you have also translated several works. What makes a good translation?

See the above answer. My own sense is that what I have translated must be worth reading. The reader must have the sense that he is reading something in his own language.

How can beginning translators have their work critiqued/edited by other professionals like your self?

Follow the advice above. For the most part I myself asked others to read my translated work, preferably by more than one reader.

How do you recognize good writing?

Simply by wanting to read it. Good writing always appeals, but it is a very hard thing to achieve. Good writing must have everything. Style, perfect grammar, and be “reader-friendly.” I do not like “egotistical” prose, the purpose of which is to show off. Keep the “I” away as much as possible, and speek/write as simply and clearly as possible.

What difficulties did you come across when editing the translation and how did you overcome them?

I had to pay attention to what the original wanted to say, and then tested the translated text by the values that I have already outlined. Editing a translation is hard, because the final text must be perfect.