The Taiwanese publication of Kindling (titled ‘Emerald Boy’…I really like that…) is now available and, though I’m sure the literary translator did a fine job, the Google translation back into English of the TW version is pure comedic gold. Here’s a taste of Chapter One, originally written in Australian English, translated into Complex Chinese, then re-translated back into Google’s own warped vortex of the Queen’s tongue:
I pulled the door hard. 門鎖住了。 The door was locked. 理智衝破混亂的思緒，向我發聲： Break through the confusion of thoughts sensible to me voice:
他不可能在屋裡。 He can not in the house.
「基倫！」我大喊，手伸進口袋笨拙地摸索。 “Kieren!” I shouted, reached into his pocket awkwardly groping.
他沒有鑰匙。 He did not key.
我開鎖、甩開門，手扒向電燈開關。 I lock, throw off the door, hand picking the light switch. 哪裡不對勁？ Wrong with you? 哪裡？ Where? 就算是再細微的變化也好──我在心裡祈禱。 Even subtle changes in re-Ye Hao ─ ─ I pray in my heart. 移動過的玩具？ Moved the toys? 扔在地上的抱枕？ On the floor of the pillow? 令他安心的小玩意兒有哪一樣不見了？ Make him feel at ease with which one small thing missing? 某樣東西、任何東西，只要能透露我兒子的蹤跡、移除哽在我喉頭的恐懼都好。 Something, anything, as long as my son said the trace, remove the fear of choking in my throat all good.
眼前的一切跟四個鐘頭前一模一樣。 In front of all with the same four hours ago. 我仔細搜索他的房間，我的房間，客房，洗手間，浴室，餐具室。 I carefully search his room, my room, room, toilet, bathroom, pantry.
他不在這裡。 He is not here.
他沒回家。 He did not go home.
我掏空儲藏櫃，挖開熱水管道室後方的空間，翻倒玩具箱。 I emptied cabinets, opening to the hot water pipe room behind the space, overturned toy box.
「基倫！回答我！」 “Killen! Answer me!”
我左右張望，蹣跚撞進起居室旁的凹室。 I looked around, stumble crashed into the living room next to the alcove. 這裡是屋內最後一處隱蔽所在，夾在鋼琴與房屋東側牆壁之間的舒適小洞穴。 Here is hidden inside the house where the last one, sandwiched between the piano and comfortable housing east of the small cave walls. 這裡曾是他的避難所。 Here was his refuge. 五年半以前，他棲身於此，躲避那場地獄般的烈火；而現在，一切都變了。 Five and a half ago, his refuge here to escape the flames of hell that field; and now, everything changed. 鋼琴不一樣了，牆壁不一樣了，連牆上的掛畫也不一樣了。 Piano is not the same, the wall is not the same, even the wall paintings are not the same.
男孩也不一樣了。 Boys were not the same.
現在他能與人溝通，也夠獨立了。 Now he can communicate with people, enough independent. 他更了解這個世界，知道要做正確的事。 He more about the world, know to do the right thing.
而且，他知道真相了。 And, he knows the truth.
我把視線扯離無人占據的小洞穴，固定在玻璃推門與屋後露臺上。 I pull away from the line of sight occupied no small cave, fixed on the glass door and the terrace behind the house. 巴西鐵木的樹葉與枝椏阻礙了我的視野，我瞇起眼睛、從葉隙間透視。 Brazilian ironwood leaves and branches blocked my vision, my eyes narrowed, from the perspective of leaves band to band. 潘達拉丘依舊火紅一片。 Pandalaqiu still red one. 眼前的景象與媒體語帶寬慰、再三保證的報導內容並不一致。 Sight words with the media bandwidth of comfort, reassuring the report content is not consistent. 午后時分，宛若橘紅緞帶的火焰仍張牙武爪、炙熱強勁地扭動著。 Afternoon hours, just like the flame of orange ribbon still Wu Zhang teeth claws, strong hot writhing.
儘管基倫跟以前不一樣了，但他仍是個跟別人不一樣的孩子。 While Killen was not the same as before, but he still is not the same as with the other children. 他的感知異於常人，他的思考方式跟一般人不一樣。 His perception is different from ordinary people, his way of thinking is different from ordinary people.
「噢，天哪！」我沙啞低喊，全身血液霎時凝固。 “Oh, my God!” I cried hoarse low systemic blood coagulation instant. 「基倫！不！」 “Killen! No!”
他的反應也不一樣。 His reaction is not the same.
「我的老天！不……」 “My God! Not … …”
I don’t know how you feel, but that alone was worth the two years it took to write the book…