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The Writer's Mailbag: Installment One-Hundred and Thirty-Five

Updated on January 30, 2017

An Anniversary Passed

I just noticed we passed two years last month….two years? What’s the longest-running Hub series? I’m calling Guinness World Records and asking them. LOL… Is there some award one gets for that? I want a trophy!!!!! I want Nicole Kidman to give me my writing Oscar.

And I have all of you to thank for it.

Winter is still here. Shockeroo, right?

I’m tired of winter.

Now I’m getting melancholy.

Let’s get started!

Welcome to the Mail Room
Welcome to the Mail Room | Source

My Process

From Brian: “Bill, some follow-up questions to the one you answered this time: Does your schedule of writing from 7 AM to 1 PM daily mean that you finish your breakfast and give pets and farm animals their breakfast before 7 AM and that you break for lunch at 1 PM? Do you turn off your phone, email notifications, and other sources of interruptions during your writing time? Do the following tasks fit into your writing time, marketing time, socializing time, or other: Writing articles to post to HubPages or Niume? Writing HubPages or Niume comments or replies to comments? Waiting for hire? You only mentioned writing fiction between 7 and 11”

Sheez, Brian, how much time do you have for this answer? LOL

Without going into specifics….because we don’t want this entire article all about your question….I actually start in at 6:30 each morning. I do whatever my assigned task is for that day, but during that task-completing, I’ll take thirty second breaks to reply to comments on my hubs….or read a friend’s hub….I can’t write continually on one thing, for whatever reason, so when I take little five minute detours, my muse is at her best. I can then return to my story and my muse is all ready to go. It sounds complicated but it’s really not.

Mondays are for HubPages and Niume, if I have anything for Niume…they are also for my blogs.

Tuesdays are for customers.

Wednesdays and Thursdays are strictly for novel-writing.

Fridays are free days to do odds and ends, or they may just be for more novel writing.

I don’t write on the weekends.

The marketing happens in the afternoon after the writing chore is done for the day.

I could get more detailed, but that should give you an idea.

Translation is more than just swapping languages
Translation is more than just swapping languages | Source

Great Question About Translation

From Rasma: “With that comes another questions. For a long time I have wanted to translate some of dad's poetry and I believe that I would definitely post to CE. Anyway even though you and poetry are not the best of friends let's include novels and stories in this question too. What is the best way to translate novels, stories and poetry from one language to another? Do you really have to know the person and his actual thoughts? I believe I could translate dad's poems quite well but I guess I am a bit scared to try.”

Rasma, I can safely say I’ve never had this question before. There seems to be two questions here. Are you really asking about the process of translating from one language to another, or are you asking about the nuances and trying to understand what a person is trying to say with their writing in another language?

“Google Translates” is as good a program as any for the nuts and bolts of actual translation. Microsoft Word actually has a translate feature as well, under “file” on their menu board up above the document. Those two programs should be all you need for the actual translation.

If we’re talking about trying to understand your dad’s meanings in his writing, I agree, you would be able to do that as well as anyone, and you certainly shouldn’t let fear hold you back. Your father’s writings should be preserved for posterity, and who better to oversee that process than his daughter? A poet’s heart and soul are in his words, and I’m sure you know his heart and soul as well as anyone on this planet.

Go for it! God hates a coward, Rasma. J

When should I end my Shadow series?
When should I end my Shadow series? | Source

The Length of a Series

From Robert: “I know you have a series going right now, the Shadow Series, and I was wondering how many books are enough for a series?”

Wonderful question for which there is no definitive answer, Robert. I just finished the Lucas Davenport “Prey” series, and that series has been going on for a long, long time, with no end in sight. Robert Parker must have written over thirty “Spenser” books…John D. MacDonald wrote how many Travis McGee novels?

For me, the end will come when I’m no longer inspired by my characters, and not a moment before. I’m working on #4 now, but I have a lot of other books I want to write, so I suspect I’ll finish #4 and then do something different before starting in on #5. Since very few people actually buy my novels, I guess I’m free to do whatever I feel like, right? I have no publisher breathing down my neck demanding the next in the series. LOL

Short One This Week

Hey, I can only answer what I receive, so we’ll stop right here. We didn’t make it to HP’s suggested 1250 words and I couldn't care less.

Thanks for stopping by and I’ll see you next week when the Mail will once again arrive at your doorstep.

2017 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

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    • Janine Huldie profile image

      Janine Huldie 7 weeks ago from New York, New York

      I love that this series has been running for as long as it has. Seriously keep up the awesome advice and Happy Monday now, Bill!! :)

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 7 weeks ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Here is an official Eric award you may print and save and frame: &%$+@#.

      Thanks for sharing more of you time division and devotion. I really see the value of the short breaks. Glad I am not doing everything backwards.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 7 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks a bunch, Janine! I'll do just that. Have a great week!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 7 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      LOL....no, Eric, you are heading forward this morning. Thanks for the award. It means a great deal to me. :)

    • Carb Diva profile image

      Linda Lum 7 weeks ago from Washington State, USA

      Bill - good morning to you and happy 2 years. I'm sure this is a record on Hub pages; there is probably a drone hovering over your farm to deliver your award from them right now.

      I'm sure that not reaching the prescribed 1,250 words has you in a funk, but please don't be too hard on yourself.

      Have a great day.

    • mpropp profile image

      Melissa Propp 7 weeks ago from Minnesota

      Happy Monday Bill! Glad to be getting back on schedule and starting off my week with my favorite mailbag. I think it is always fascinating to hear other writer's processes. Thanks for always being willing to share your own with the rest of us!

      Have a great and productive week!

    • whonunuwho profile image

      whonunuwho 7 weeks ago from United States

      Bill I admire you talent and determination, very inspiring. whonu

    • PAINTDRIPS profile image

      Denise McGill 7 weeks ago from Fresno CA

      Congrats on the two year mark. That is deserving of a trophy... if Nicole doesn't have one for you, I could come up with something Oscar-like! Thanks for another interesting one. Who cares about the word count anyway, it's content that matters.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 7 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Too funny, Linda! I'll soldier on and not allow it to ruin my day. Thanks, my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 7 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks so much, Melissa! I can always count on your being here, joining me for coffee on Monday mornings.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 7 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      That is very nice of you, whonu...thank you!

    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 7 weeks ago from Riga, Latvia

      Great advice as always. Thank you for answering and for giving me incentive. I am going to take the time on working with gathering up the things I have written about him and taking a real close look at his poems. I was so waiting for your response and as always you never disappoint. Hope you have an inspirational week Bill.

    • Venkatachari M profile image

      Venkatachari M 7 weeks ago from Hyderabad, India

      Great to know that this series crossed the 2 years record. Congrats to you (and also to your great fans here). Your timetable seems too much tight. You take only 5-minute breaks during that continuous sitting for more than 7 hours. I take long breaks of 20 to 30 minutes after every 2 hours.

      All the three questions answered by you are very informative. Thanks for it.

    • Emese Fromm profile image

      EmeseRéka 7 weeks ago from The Desert

      Hi, Bill, Happy Anniversary, you deserve a medal, or at least an award of some type. If you don't get it from anywhere else, you readers appreciate you and that is your reward.

      I have a comment about your translation question (well, since I am a professional translator): be careful with Google Translate and other programs, they are really only good to use if you don't remember a specific word momentarily, like a dictionary. Although they translate whole passages if you ask them to, you can't rely on them 100%. Most programs can not understand the nuances of different languages enough to be fully reliable. All this being said, if you are trying to translate your father's poems, you probably understand both languages enough to do it right. In fact, while translating his work, you might understand the person behind the words much better. When in doubt, use a few different translation programs, compare the results, and consult someone who speaks both languages as native.

    • letstalkabouteduc profile image

      Nancy Mitchell 7 weeks ago from Bend, OR

      I look forward to reading the Mailbag on Monday mornings, Bill. I always find inspiration, mostly something about persevering (which is always useful for a writer). Congratulations on continuing for 2 years and here's to many more! There's something comforting about reading the Mailbag and I think, in this crazy world, we all need a little more of that.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 7 weeks ago from SW England

      I have to take you to task, bill - 'Couldn't' care less, 'couldn't'! I've said this so many times in my grammar hubs - you're just not listening!!! I could not care less - i.e. it wouldn't be possible for me to care any less than I do about this. No, no, not your hub, bill!

      Great answers here, as always. As for your daily schedule, well it left me reeling just reading it! You're obviously really self-disciplined. Me? No, absolutely hopeless. I have to be in the mood; I'm always in the mood to write but not always to write something meaningful. There are those who think that to be good at writing, one should write for at least 20 minutes every day - you have no worries about that then! I do, however, write in my head.

      That was a long way round to asking you a question: Do you write in your head? I mean, make up your stories as you walk around the countryside, without writing anything down, taking instant inspiration from your surroundings. Can you hold those ideas until you get home to write them down? The reason I ask is that if I stop to write down an idea, sometimes it interferes with the creative process. My mind's too fast for my fingers and I can't bear to stop the flow. (I have to say that doesn't happen all the time! If I don't write things down most of the time, my brain can't remember all the details; poor old fogey!)

      I think I'm rambling but I hope you get the drift.

      Ann :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 7 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      It is indeed, Denise. Content rules, all else drools! LOL Thanks so much, my friend, and blessings to you always.

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 7 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Rasma! I think that sounds like a very worthwhile and rewarding project, and I hope you keep us updated on it.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 7 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Venkatachari M, thanks so much. I do adjust. If I need a longer break I take one. Some days I get restless and take very long breaks. :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 7 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Emese, that is great information. Thank you! I suspected that might be the case about those programs. Thanks so much for mentioning that.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 7 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you, letstalk....and I agree, there is something comforting about having something you can count on week after week....crazy world indeed, my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 7 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Ann, I don't know what you're talking about...it says "couldn't care less." LOL I just changed it. Old habits die hard, my friend. I think I'll just quit using that phrase completely and thus avoid the trap.

      You asked a great question about a topic that really fascinates me, but you'll have to wait until next Monday for a fascinating answer. LOL thanks so much, Ann, and have a great week.

      bill

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 7 weeks ago from SW England

      By the way, congrats on the longevity of this series! Has to be a record..

      Ann :D

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 7 weeks ago from Southern Illinois

      This series lasting two years is no surprise, writers always have questions and you being willing to take the time to answer is great! Thank you...

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 7 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Ann! The secret is...all of you do most of the work. LOL It is a perfect series for a lazy writer to create.

      bill

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 7 weeks ago from Oklahoma

      I find my muse can't function unless she's allowed to meander. In other words, I seem to function best when I keep odd writing schedules.

      Great Mailbag.

    • Blond Logic profile image

      Mary Wickison 7 weeks ago from Brazil

      Congratulations on your mailbag milestone.

      I am always impressed by your dedication to maintaining a strict writing schedule. I guess it's true, writers write.

      Have a wonderful week.

    • heidithorne profile image

      Heidi Thorne 7 weeks ago from Chicago Area

      Happy Mailbag/HubPages Monday!

      Re: Writing Schedule. I also have a pretty stable writing rhythm most days. I'm most creative mid-day. Go figure.

      Re: Translation. Especially for such a personal and creative endeavor as poetry, translation can be challenging from one language to the next. So many nuances that can get lost in translation. After translation, it's usually good to have fluent, bilingual speakers read both side by side to see if it has translated correctly. Hiring a professional bilingual editor could be worth the investment. Also, ask an attorney about copyrights since both the original and translation can have separate rights.

      This Thursday is Groundhog Day. So I know you'll be hoping Punxsutawney Phil will be seeing a short stay for winter. Stay warm!

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 7 weeks ago

      I think I'll bow out on this one LOL

    • lifegate profile image

      William Kovacic 7 weeks ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      The Pony Express keeps riding. Happy 2nd Anniversary, Bill. It's been great. Thanks for breaking down your week for us. I must admit, I get bogged down quite often, and my routine gets out of whack. I have to try a shortened version of your schedule and see if that improves my day to day tasks.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 7 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      It's really my pleasure, Ruby, but thank you!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 7 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Larry! It is interesting, the different approaches we all have.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 7 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Mary, this is what I do...and farming...I manage to stay reasonably busy. :) Thanks my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 7 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      I don't blame you, Pop, and I expected it. LOL

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 7 weeks ago from USA

      Congratulations on two years! That is quite an achievement! Looking forward to a long run of success.

    • MartieCoetser profile image

      Martie Coetser 7 weeks ago from South Africa

      Very interesting and relevant questions and answers - as always.

      I would never use an electronic translator. I have a hub about this, proving the disastrous results when using Google Translate. You have to know by heart the languages you are working with. The proverbs, the attached connotations, the right word in context, the works. I am sure Rasma will be able to translate her father's work without using an electronic translator.

      Don't even touch this animal called Google Translate, unless you simply need to translate a word in order to put it on a list of possible correct words.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 7 weeks ago from Queensland Australia

      I congratulate you on two years of mailbags Bill. Who would have thought. I'll put a good word in with Nicole for you. Only a few questions this week but they were new ones. I envy you having set times to write.. I guess that is how you tell a professional writer from amateurs, right :) great work as always. Hoping Spring is not far away for you.

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 7 weeks ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Bill. I admire your perseverance, two years with this series is remarkable. Congratulations. I also admire your ability to stick to your daily schedule. Have a great week.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 7 weeks ago from The Caribbean

      Congratulations on two years of mailbag. Great job writing, teaching and even sharing your personal schedule! You're an inspiration!

    • Michael-Milec profile image

      Michael-Milec 7 weeks ago

      Two years is quite a lengthy time creating valuable answers by contributing to the skill perfection of all your readers. Congratulations my friend.

      Peace with us.

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 7 weeks ago from Nashville Tn.

      Has it really been 2 years? Time does fly when you're having fun and I'm having so much fun reading The Writer's Mailbag!

      Love,

      Audrey

    • mckbirdbks profile image

      mckbirdbks 7 weeks ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Yikes, Ann, We must have learned it wrong, "couldn't' care less" is a common phrase of mine. Lesson at least presented, if not learned - as they say about old dogs.

      Bill, did you climb the mountain named, 'finding a publisher?'

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 7 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks, as always, Heidi! Good information on the translation. Much-appreciated, my friend. You stay warm as well.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 7 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Well, Bill, I hope it helps you. It's just something I developed for myself because I don't handle change or chaos well.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 7 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      So am I, Flourish! Thanks for being along for the ride, my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 7 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Great information, Martie, and I thank you for it. I knew a reader who had used Google Translate would help us out with it.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 7 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks a lot, John! My set schedule is a matter of survival for me. I don't know how professional it is. LOL

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 7 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Bill! It's just like going to work for me. You have to be at work during specific times, I'm sure. In my mind, so do I.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 7 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you very much, Dora! I appreciate you always being here.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 7 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Michael my friend, we all benefit from this series, so in a way, I'm doing myself a service as well. We all win!

      blessings always

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 7 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Love to you, Audrey, and thank you! Two years means I'm getting older, for sure, and hopefully wiser.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 7 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      No publisher for me, Mike! Nobody loves me. LOL Watch out for Ann. She'll catch you every time. She's my default setting for proper grammar.

    • jo miller profile image

      jo miller 7 weeks ago from Tennessee

      Interesting to read about your scheduling. I've often wondered about this since you seem so productive. I'd like to know more about your marketing strategy.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 7 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Jo! More about my marketing strategy? I'll address it next week, just for you!

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 7 weeks ago from Dubai

      Congratulations! I am sure this series will enter the Guinness Book of World Records. Thank you for sharing all that you know with all of us.

    • simplehappylife profile image

      SA Williams 7 weeks ago from Central Alabama

      Wow...two years! That's awesome :)

      I love the video you shared on Stephen King. Speaking of Stephen King, another great great great book for writers to read is Stephen King's "On Writing". Excellent book!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 7 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      I've read it, SA, and I completely agree...thanks for your thoughts on it.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 7 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you so very much, Vellur. I couldn't have done it without followers like you.

    • simplehappylife profile image

      SA Williams 7 weeks ago from Central Alabama

      LOL...I was thinking about your winter blues and thought of the movie Groundhog Day (one of the best movies ever)

      "I'll give you a winter prediction. It's gonna be cold, it's gonna be grey, and it's gonna last you the rest of your life." LOL! I love Bill Murray.

      Here's a direct link, for a giggle :)

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TReCZ2auRkE

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 7 weeks ago from British Columbia, Canada

      The questions and answers are interesting, Bill. Congratulations on writing a series that has lasted so long.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 7 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Giggle for sure, SA! Bill Murray is king of comedy...some of the best laughs I've ever had came from that man. Thanks for the share.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 7 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Aw, thanks, Linda! And thank you for being there through it all.

    • simplehappylife profile image

      SA Williams 7 weeks ago from Central Alabama

      You're Welcome :)

    • B. Leekley profile image

      Brian Leekley 6 weeks ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA

      Thanks, Bill, for answering my questions about your schedule. I think I might try having designated days for different writing tasks—for fiction writing, for critiquing writing group works, for articles and essays, etc. Using breaks to read posts and to comment makes sense, too. I still don't know when, or if, you fit in breakfast and lunch.

      How do you choose whether to post a new article to HubPages or to Niume? Short ones to Niume? Certain topics to one and certain other topics to the other?

      About translating, see Mark Twain's story "The Jumping Frog: In English, Then in French, and Then Clawed Back Into A Civilized Language Once More by Patient, Unremunerated Toil."

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 6 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Brian, I'm laughing out loud at the title of that story...thanks for the suggestion. I'll try to find it and read it today.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 6 weeks ago from Ontario, Canada

      I know you have shared your disciplined schedule before and when I read it then, I vowed to have a schedule but I just have a hard time sticking to it not for any reason except my own "I'll do whatever I like to do attitude". I have to start writing in the early morning hours before other things beckon me.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 6 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      It's not easy to break patterns and start new ones, Aesta...keep working at it until it becomes habit.

    • lawrence01 profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 3 weeks ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Bill

      Congratulations on notching up two years with the series, that's a major achievement.

      Thinking about Rasma's question, Christopher Tolkien worked on and brought much of his father's (J.R.R. Tolkien) works back to life.

      When I first arrived in NZ I worked coordinating interpreting services for new migrants.

      Interpreting is very different to translation, in translation you do it 'word for word' and often it doesn't make sense because languages don't use the same idioms, interpreting, on the other hand goes for the meaning, it might not be 'word perfect' but you get the message, and it's closer to what was intended.

      I think it needs to be Rasma that does it.

      I hope you don't mind me giving an opinion.

      Lawrence

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Lawrence, this sites popularity is based on the opinions of all writers,so thank you for sharing that. i think your opinion is right on, my friend.

      Have a superb weekend in NZ

      blessings always

      bill

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 3 weeks ago from Central Florida

      I love Rasma's question. I hope she does translate her dad's work. She's posted a few hubs about him and other poets of his day. He was an interesting guy. I'd love to read his poetry.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      What a fantastic job that would be, don't you think, Sha? What a great connection to her father.

      Again, Happy Birthday, dear friend!

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