Writing in English.
“When are you translating your books into English?”.
This question has been pestering me since I wrote my first book. Nevertheless I decided to keep on writing my books and my posts in Italian and I got the bit between my teeth for many years. And for about 23 books.
Then a simple question reached my ears: “why”? Why am I persisting writing in a language that only an illiterate population of 60 million could potentially read?
The first answer that defended my Italian stronghold is among these lines: as somebody has certainly noticed English is not my mother language. I apologize for my mistakes.
The second answer was: I can’t help writing in the language of my ancestors, in the language of Dante, Rossini, Verdi. And Briatore.
As soon as I realized how weak these two reasons are, I suddenly discovered the good points of writing in English:
- You can reach everybody. Nowadays everybody – aside from most Italians – can speak and read English. My potential audience can pass from 60 millions to several billions. And even if I make mistakes you can understand what I want to express.
- English is a practical language. When you think and write in Italian you find yourself climbing mountains of poetry and beauty. But you never reach the point. Instead when you think and speak in the language of the merchants from England you may also use a lot of pleasantries, but you always reach your goal.
- You write only the essential. If have not studied at Eton or you have not grown up in Kensington Palace, but you were born in some galaxy far, far away, you won’t waste your time trying to find strange expressions you have never heard, and you will go straight to what you want to say. On internet this is a very good point.
So my intention is to start writing only (or mainly) in English from now on.
I apologize if you feel I just reinvented the wheel. But the wheel is still turning.
This text has not been edited. Please read it as it is. A special thanks to Maite Plimmer and Yaron Hubin-Plimmer for having shown me how fast this wheel can turn.
I have one English word to respond to your post, ‘indeed.’ My mother tongue is English, Canadian English. My second language is French. The happy bit about being ‘of the north’ is that we are an independent bunch, too cold for the AMERICANS to WAnt influence and TOO far for the Brits. Writers here don’t typically feel the weight of the old world, so they’re free to invent styles, forms and worlds previously uncharted. ENGLISH, or language for that MATter is PLIable like paint to canvas.
Thank you for your fresh point of view, Shirley! I should definitively follow the Canadian way!