Mar62015

Anglicization: In Which We Revisit the Ladybird Problem

My dear Gentle Reader, this is not a topic I get asked about much anymore but just in case I’m hit with a number of the Very Curious after reading Prudence I am going to address a delicate subject here and now…

Anglicization

or should I say?

Anglicisation 

Right, so you may or may not be aware of the fact that British and American English languages are different ~ I mean not only spoken, but written as well.

All my books are written how I write (surprise surprise) which is a kind of pigeon British American pseudo-Victorian codswallop. It’s not too Victorian because that’s hard to read and a pain to write perfectly. Besides, I write steampunk, it’s confusing enough already without loading it down with an overabundance of poncey vocabulary. (OK, but I don’t have too much, I hope?)

My first book, Soulless, sold to Orbit in the USA years before it sold to the UK. Despite its European origins, Orbit US is an American publishing house. They applied house rules to my codswallop and made everything American: spelling, vocabulary, semantics, etc…

So ladybird is ladybug in these books.

*Coccinella  Franco Moschino, 1995  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

I know Coccinellidae are neither bird nor bug (they are beetle), but I’m with the Americans on this one, ladybug is closer. Also, if I put ladybird into a book for an American audience they (mostly) have no idea what I’m talking about, and are confused. Even those who do know, would be briefly thrown out of the reader’s immersion experience to remember and I work hard to avoid that as an author.

Miss Gail doesn’t like confused readers.

Because we started with American English, the rest of the Parasol Protectorate series followed in the same style (ebooks, omnibus, etc.) By the time England purchased the series to release in the UK (three other territories got there first, mind you, including the French) they were playing catch up and wanted to produce the books as quickly as possible. (Ever wondered why the first 2 appeared in the UK in Mass Market? Yeah, someone sneaked over the US editions and sold them with stickers over the $ price. To this day my UK publisher is confused as to why they had an uptick in sales on the 3rd book. Why? Because it was really the first one they put out before readers could get the book elsewhere. Globalization is very confusing to publishers.)

Right, so where was I?

All 5 Parasol Protectorate books are American language no mater what English language territory or edition (US/Canada/UK/Australia/New Zealand/eBook/omnibus/Mass Market/Trade).

See 2011…The outraged emails they cometh from the UK readership.

  • Miss Gail, why is it ladybug and not ladybird?
  • Miss Gail, theater is spelled theatre.
  • Miss Gail, you seem to have misplaced your “u” and changed all your “s” to “z.”

Etc…

In an effort to prevent this from happening again, said Miss Gail negotiates terms into her Finishing School contract. Given that there is more time (these books are produced once a year, as opposed to once every 6 months) could we anglicize? Theoretically, the UK house should have time to “translate.”

All is peace and harmony.

All 4 Finishing School books are American Language for US/Canada and associated territories, and then Anglicized for UK/Australia/New Zealand and associated territories. 

So there are, in fact, two different versions* of the Finishing School books. The American ones, and the UK ones which are anglicized.

Hooray hooray!

Miss Gail tries this tactic again with her new Orbit series, the Custard Protocol.

Confusion results.

Prudence is sent to a UK editor for the copy edit pass, sent back to Gail already anglicized, and then sent to print in that state for both markets. Which means the US is getting basically, the UK version.

Except…

Miss Gail freaks out about the ladybird problem.

There is a lot of that word in this book.

Stressed about confusing her readers (see above) Miss Gail panics and demands that at least some words be changed back to US language for the sake of clarity.

Result?

The Prudence books should mainly be UK in style, with some exceptions for specific words in the US versus UK editions.

For Miss Gail feels ladybird is one step too too far.

 So for the US release of Prudence, it should all be ladybug and in the UK ladybird.

But I’m not making any promises.

Confusion, thy name is publishing.

Addendum: it looks like people are finding spelling and formatting errors is in Prudence. Some of these may be the result of the above process of going through the UK copy editor and house. Some of the spelling mistakes may be because they are actually UK spelling. The first we are working hard to fix. The second we are not.

{Gail’s monthly read along for March is Valor’s Choice by Tanya Huff.}

* versions = substantial text content change; as opposed to editions = different cover, print run, etc but text is essentially unchanged

GAIL’S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .

1896-1903  The Victoria & Albert Museum

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

ladybug-earrings-$8.50

Your Tisane of Smart . . .
Top Ten Tips and Tricks for Terrific Tea

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  
3 Tips on How Not to Stink at Writing

PROJECT ROUND UP 

  • Manners & Mutiny ~ The Finishing School Book the Last. Releases Nov. 3, 2015. Available for pre-order! Awaiting proofs.
  • Prudence ~ Custard Protocol Book the First. Release date March 17, 2015. Available for pre-order!  
  • Imprudence ~ Custard Protocol Book the Second. Working rough draft, about 1/2 way.



The Books! 

 The Finishing School Series: 1 Etiquette & Espionage, 2 Curtsies & Conspiracies, 3
 The Custard Protocol Series: 1 Prudence (March 17, 2015), 2 Imprudence
The Parasol Protectorate Series: 1 Soulless, 2 Changeless, 3 Blameless, 4 Heartless, 5 Timeless
Parasol Protectorate Series manga graphic novels

Book News:
Best Feminist Books Younger Readers
Sneaking Around in YA: 6 Kickass Female Spies

Quote of the Day:

The Ladies’ Guide to True Politeness and Perfect Manners; or, Miss Leslie’s Behaviour Book, a Guide and Manual for Ladies, by Eliza Leslie, 1864
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Posted by Gail Carriger

 

No Responses

  1. Unknown said:

    As an avid devotee of you books, I appreciate your efforts on our behalf in dealing with the language challenges.

  2. Lauren Blanchard said:

    Maybe I was raised on an overly large amount of British children's programming because I remember calling them "ladybirds" as a child until someone corrected me. I didn't really think of it as un-American, but I have a strange way of talking.

  3. Alison Hamilton said:

    I'm sorry Miss Gail, but don't let whoever edited Prudence near any of your other manuscripts. Frequent clangers like "drones practicing seens from Shakespeare" threw my immersion experience far more than any momentary entomology semantic confusion.

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