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Bad Boys in Blue Vests

Oct 10,2012
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So, as I mentioned in the last post, 'Shadows' will be released in the United Kingdom in January by Indigo (Orion Books).

Even though that’s an English-speaking market (the original English-speaking market in fact), there'll be a few minor wording changes to make the text meaningful for UK readers.

For example:
-    doona becomes duvet
-    eggflip becomes spatula
-    seedy becomes hung-over
-    singlet becomes vest
-    pants become trousers.

And I’m fine with these edits – my lovely UK editor knows what has meaning for her market better than I do.
I imagine there’ll be similar types of changes when Shadows is released in the US and Canada (with Tundra Books) later next year.

But it’s got me thinking about how important it is for Australian readers having access to Australian versions of our books rather than something adapted for another market.

For example, 'Shadows' has a couple of colourful secondary characters – Mick and Rusty Butler. They’re rough and tumble lads with a penchant for tattoos and shotguns, and whose agricultural activities are not strictly legal.

Their staple wardrobe is blue singlets and jeans. But in the UK version, they’ll be wearing blue vests – which in my mind have buttons (in the UK, vests are called waistcoats). So having these rough nuts in blue vests will work for UK readers, but makes the boys sound slightly overdressed to Australian readers.

What I picture when I think blue 'singlet' (a 'vest' in the UK):

File 11316






What I picture when I think blue 'vest' (a 'waistcoat' in the UK):

File 11319









In today’s world of Amazon and ebooks, there’s always a chance Aussie readers will come across another edition and wonder what the hell I was thinking when I put those boys in formal wear...

So, today's question: Has anyone read an overseas version of an Australian novel and wondered about certain non-Australian terms being used? Would it matter to you if you did?

Oct 18,2012
Fair point. And I think that concept works best when you know you are reading an international version of a local book. Thanks for the comment. :)
Oct 16,2012
anonymous's picture
I have not but I have read books written by people from other countries and I personaly dont think it really matters because the readers know what the author is talking about and it is a chance to learn more vocabulary that other countries may use.

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