English is a very wide-spoken and -read language.  Despite this, I know that the fact that I am to all intents and purposes a mono-linguist severely restricts the spread of my books outside the English speaking world.  So it was with some interest that I was informed that non-English publishers had bought the rights to translate my books into foreign languages.

To put it mildly, the fact that somebody believed my books were good enough to translate was a massive boost to the old ego.  However, I know that the process can take several years and so it was possible that I would see little output until possibly the early-2020s.

So you can imagine my surprise when a parcel arrived containing two translations of ‘Stilicho’.  So now you might think I’d be checking the odd page of the book to ensure that the translation is accurate.  If it was French or German I would stand a (small) chance – as part of my MA I used Hoffmann’s epic German work on the Roman army, so back then my German was not too bad.

Trouble is, the book is the Russian translation.

Never mind translating part of a page, I can’t even translate my own name!  I’d love to know how the Russian language/letters transliterate ‘Hughes’.  At the same time, I’d love to see the same process on ‘With a Foreword by Adrian Goldsworthy’.  I can see it, but don’t understand it!

Then again, the whole problem perfectly sums up my attitude to life in general:  I can see it, but don’t understand it!