Well, as you can tell, I'm back from Poland, where the first ever foreign language edition of Empire in Black and Gold has been transliterated as Imperium Czerni i Zlota (1).
I had a whirlwind ride around Poland, or at least Warsaw and Krakow, with just enough time free to see the sights (Warsaw Old Town in the snow, the Krakow dragon and so on) between a mad round of interviews and recordings. Good old Polish hospitality courtesy of Rebis, my Polish publishers, and they treated me extremely well. One thing that struck me is how much more seriously they treat fantasy fiction — a lot of the interviews were for literary magazines, daily papers or radio stations that weren't in any way fantasy specialists, whereas over here I've only really interviewed for genre magazines and websites. I was also struck by how seriously they treat their history, and the concept of Poland as a nation. Over here, that kind of thinking seems to appeal only to the nationistic right (4) but then, whilst we've been under threat, we've not had the rough ride Poland has — having your country taken off you, partitioned, conquered and subjugated a few times in living memory is likely to make you value what you have.
Polish is a particularly intimidating language, but I had great fun searching through the book for character names, a task made harder by the fact that the names themselves change depending on where they turn up in a sentence, and Thalric had to become Thalryk because otherwise he'd be pronounced "Thalrees". I couldn't begin to vouch for the translation but I can see a fair amount of thought has gone into the map at the start — what to translate and what not to — and one of the bilingual interviewers reckoned that the book made it across the language gap in good shape.
Other translations due are German, Bulgarian, Czech and Russian so far, and of course there's the American editions early next year, which may or may not count as a translation.
There should be a new story up shortly. Other than that I'm off to Thought Bubble this weekend, and may be signing books off the Travelling Man stand (or if, accosted, elsewhere) at some point.
(1) Bizarrely, all three nouns in the title are words I could translate myself, given a decent run up, despite speaking next to no Polish (2). Imperium is simple enough, but Zlota is the same root as zloti/zlotych, the Polish currency, which refers to the gold. Czerni I've run into in Czernebog, the "Black God", a somewhat nasty old Slavic pagan god, recently given some decent lines in Gaiman's American Gods.
(2) It's amazing how far you can get with "hello", "goodbye", "thank you" and "non-carbonated mineral water, please." (3)
(3) They do like their carbonated mineral water over there.
(4) whose nod to actual history tends to be a cursory one.