The Indubitable Dweeb
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August 30, 2011

The Only Ones: Foreign Language Editions

Hey gang! Here’s the word on the street—the street being Broadway, where the Random House offices are located. The Only Ones will be coming out in some foreign language editions! Children around the world will soon be able to share in the adventures of Martin (or Maarten, in Brussels), Henry (or Enrique, in Costa Rica), Darla (or Sheila #2, in Australia), and Nigel (or Dragon Warrior with a Tiger, in Japan).

For now, the kind folks at Dogan Egmont in Turkey and at Rai Editora in Brazil have signed on to publish their own editions. I haven’t been told what the titles will be for these versions, but I have a sneaking suspicion that the Turkish one will be called Ben Senin Çeviri Yazılımını Severim and the Brazilian version will carry a title sure to excite the Sao Paulinos, something like 0-0 Draw.

Of course, I’d like to see the book appear in all countries, in all languages, so I’m calling on the following nations to jump on the bandwagon.

Papua New Guinea: Home to over 850 indigenous languages, this nation formerly known for its headhunters (no, not the corporate variety) is an untapped market for publishers. But it’s not just the people. They’re still discovering species out there in the jungle. Who’s to say there isn’t some tree kangaroo with an insatiable appetite for kidlit, but with absolutely nothing to read? Learn their language and let’s turn me into the Rick Riordan for arboreal marsupials.

New Zealand: We were all supposed to be speaking Esperanto by now. Fact is, the world will probably never adopt what was once hoped to be the world’s universal language. However, if Peter Jackson’s new Hobbit films hit even bigger than The Lord of the Rings, then there’s a good chance that most Kiwis will know a bit of Elrond’s tongue. Yes, and that Elvish language craze will spread and be adopted by the meek. And as the old adage goes “The meek shall inherit the earth and try to impress Liv Tyler and Cate Blanchett by invoking Tolkien.” The Only Ones, now in Elvish. Gotta get on that train before it leaves.

The Vatican: It would mean a lot to me if The Only Ones was translated into Latin. I was a member of the Junior Classical League in high school, which is responsible for all my success. The JCL is like the Skull and Bones, but with toga parties and Argonaut dioramas. These days, I translate The Aeneid from the original Latin at least once every two months. However, I would place Pope Benedict in charge of the Latin translation of The Only Ones, so long as he makes it mandatory reading at all Easter masses. We can even add the line agricola est in ager, to encourage the magister to require it in all “Intro to Latin” classes as well. Catholics and preppy kids worldwide are sure to dig it almost as much as First Thessalonians or the Philippicae of Cicero.

That Oil Rig Thing Where the Libertarians are Going to Live: Read about the place here. Tax dodgers who want to live in a lawless Waterworld-esque land will need a lot of paper to burn once all their stocks go belly up. Now, I’m not for burning books per se, but if someone needs 25 face cords of kindling to make it through an Atlantic Ocean winter, I’d rather it be 25 face cords of The Only Ones then, say, Murakami’s Norwegian Wood, which admittedly burns better, due to the title.

Canada: No, I won’t make any jokes about how every sentence will end in “eh.” Or that there will be a button on the cover that you can press, causing all abouts to be pronounced aboot. That’s just cheap Canuck-baiting. I honestly want to be able to stop by a bookstore in Nunavut and see The Only Ones on the shelf next to 101 Things to Do With Walrus Meat Before You Freeze to Death. I would also like it to be adapted into a film starring the original cast of You Can’t Do That On Television. There will of course be some sliming, but I’m more interested in seeing the climactic scenes played out in a hallway full of lockers, with a lot of “Hey Moose!” and “Hey Alasdair!” to add to the third act’s tension. That’s not too much to ask, eh?

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