In Which I Moonlight as a Translator
Like y’all, I write mysteries, but lately, I’ve developed a sideline. It’s more of a hobby right now, but I’m thinking I could maybe turn it into a money-maker if I set my mind to it. And what with the economy being in such turmoil, who couldn’t use a little extra cash?
What is it I’ve been doing? Translations. No, I don’t speak French, Spanish, Russian, or German. Now, I did take French in college, but that has been a while. I occasionally fake a little French for entertainment purposes, if you know what I mean. Heaven only knows what I’m really saying, so let’s say no more about that. I know enough Spanish to order in most Mexican restaurants, but that’s the extent of that.
No, lately I’ve been getting calls from other writers who need help translating their characters’ dialogue into my native language—Southernese.
Why just yesterday, I got an emergency call from a writer friend out west who needed to know how her character, a Southerner, would say, “Why would you go out with such a bad man?” Now, as her character is a lady, I told her the proper usage would be, “Why on God’s green earth would you even consider going out with that no-good scoundrel?” There are other acceptable variations, of course, and had her character not been a lady, “scoundrel” would have been replaced with a more colorful noun and a few more adjectives. And, of course, “in this wide world” is always interchangeable with “on God’s green earth.”
So far, only my friends have asked me to translate into Southernese, and of course, friends don’t charge friends. But I was thinking I could put up a website and offer my services on a per-word basis. I could also translate from Southernese for those who have the need to know things like what to expect when his wife is fixin’ to pitch a hissy fit, what to do when his wife has a hankering for something, or the proper form of y’all to use in any given situation—you, y’all, all y’all, y’all’s, or all y’all’s.
Then there are the more practical aspects of Sothern living that could be useful to the Nouveau Southern—things like what constitutes proper funeral food, how to season cast iron frying pans, or how to make red eye gravy.
It’s just a thought. Right now I have my hands full telling folks about my new book. LOWCOUNTRY BOIL releases tomorrow! It’s the first in the Liz Talbot series. Liz is a private detective—I hope y’all are going to like her! She has a Golden Retriever named Rhett that must look a lot like one of Cassy’s.
Thanks again for having me over! Y’all come see me on the web any time. I hang out in all the usual places:
Susan M. Boyer has been making up stories her whole life. She tags along with her husband on business trips whenever she can because hotels are great places to write: fresh coffee all day and cookies at 4 p.m. They have a home in Greenville, SC, which they occasionally visit. Susan’s short fiction has appeared in moonShine Review, Spinetingler Magazine, Relief Journal, The Petigru Review, and Catfish Stew. Her debut novel, Lowcountry Boil, is a 2012 Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense recipient and an RWA Golden Heart® finalist.