Wednesday, August 25, 2010

They say Brazil is a tough nut to crack ...

Who the heck is this?!
At the beginning of June, I came across a Brazilian website devoted to J.R.R. Tolkien called Dúvendor. It came to my attention through nothing more than idle ego-surfing. As it happens, my essay in Tolkien Studies 5 — “Three Rings for whom exactly? And why? Justifying the disposition of the Three Elven Rings” — has been translated into Portuguese and posted there without permission (one of seven articles from Tolkien Studies). It comes out as “Três Anéis para … quem exatamente? E por quê?” The subtitle evidently got lost in translation. ;)

This doesn’t bother me personally, especially since I have learned that the site administrator, Daniel De Boni, posts fans’ translations of certain articles because many readers in Brazil can’t read them otherwise. I should say that I haven’t yet studied the translation closely to assess its quality. Reading through the first few paragraphs (without the original in front of me), it seems pretty accurate. Anyway, the question of permissions is something for others to sort out. But I was quite amused when I saw my essay there. Why? Have a look for yourself by following this link. Anything look odd to you here?

Okay, I suppose you have to actually know me personally to see the problem. But here it is. The picture? That’s not me! It’s just some random dude! How I laughed when I saw this!

Some of the photos on the site are of the right people (e.g., Anne Petty, Tom Shippey), but others are not (e.g., Verlyn Flieger and me). Mark Hooker’s photo was also a purely random one, but when I told him about the site, he got in touch when them and had this corrected. I’ll probably do the same … eventually. In the meantime, I found this too funny not to share. (At the same time, it’s flattering that somebody out there felt my essay was one of the few — so far — worth translating for a Portuguese-speaking audience. Muito obrigado!)


  1. How do you know it is not you? Maybe it is you, and you just don't know it! ;)

  2. Sweet Lord of the Rings! Jason, you must be a metamorph or something. : )))

  3. The funny thing is that this picture is not so unlike me. Short, dark, somewhat tousled hair; brown eyes, glasses; goatee (sometimes a van dyke). This photo would answer for a very general description of me. :)

  4. Something is missing, though. Ah yes, the peppers. :)

  5. Ironically, my love of peppers — eating them, if not wearing them — probably brings me closer in spirit to South America than Daniel De Boni and friends would have expected. Of all the scholars they have translated, I also probably live the closest to South America. Uncanny! :)

  6. LOL! Nice photo. :)

    I was contacted a couple of years ago by someone with very bad English wanting to translate and publish my master's thesis on mystery writer Ellery Queen in Chinese. I was told Ellery was very popular in China and was promised free copies of any publication in which it appeared. (Copyright is an alien idea in China.) I immediately contacted the EQ authors' kids to see if any of the EQ books were in print in China. They are not -- or I should say, no legal copies are.

    Anyway, I was torn between being flattered and being horrified (esp at the thought of being translated by someone with terrible English, possibly whether I wanted to be or not). I keep a close eye on my Google Alerts for my own name, just in case.

  7. Keeping an eye out is always a good idea. I don’t tend to be quite so protective of contributions to the field for which I am not being paid on any recurring basis. In this case, I was paid a contributor’s copy of the issue, and that was, and is, the end of it. I’m usually just pleased that people are interested in reading my work. And if they’re interested enough to translate it, so much the better. Of course, one would hope the translation is a competent one.

    But I can see the other side too, and I respect everyone’s right to enforce protection of their copyrights. If WVUP requested that Dúvendor take down the content, they would be well within their rights.


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