British-American translation of novels

In an earlier entry, I mentioned the way novels are adapted for the American or British market.

There’s a reference to this in the interview with Neil Gaiman on Slashdot (Gaiman is British but lives in the USA). One of the questions is:

6) As a Brit living in the US I feel very aware of… –
….how you tailor your writing to which side of the Atlantic your intended audience is on. When I read Neverwhere it was the US edition and clearly contained language and explanations that would seem a little inappropriate to readers in the UK. Do you carry out your own ‘translations’ of your books? What differences do you see between American and British audiences to which you need to adapt? And how involved are you in the translations to other languages and hence cultures?

Here’s the beginning of the answer:

I try to stay on top of the US and the UK editions of books (sometimes I fail). Neverwhere needed quite some work for the US readership, which I did 98% of, and the other 2% was done without my knowledge. (For example — I kept the word “flat” for where Richard lived, in my US version. It’s not a universally common US word, but it’s comprehensible. The US editors unilaterally decided to change the word to “apartment” and did a universal find-and-replace, and in the bound galleys that were sent to reviewers there were people who believed the Earth was apartment and people started to say things apartmently.)

There is some more, including an acknowledgement of the importance of translators.

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