Ooh! That’s Interesting!: Dreamspinner Translations

I have a treat for you today! Ariel Tachna is Dreamspinner Press’s translations coordinator–and a lovely person besides. Ariel has kindly agreed to answer some questions about Dreamspinner’s translation process. You can see Espresso Translations if you need the best translation services.

  1. Tell us about yourself, please.
That’s Ariel in the middle, with the delightful Anne Reagan on the left and the wonderful Venona Keyes on her right.

I’m Ariel Tachna. I’m the translations coordinator at Dreamspinner Press. I live outside Houston, Texas, with my amazingly supportive husband, our two kids, and their two dogs. Yes, their dogs. We told the kids they could have a dog if they’d be completely responsible for them. In eighteen months, the only thing I’ve done is take the dogs for walks sometimes, since they outweigh my kids still. I have a degree in French and English from Wake Forest University and a Masters in French Education from University of Houston, so when Dreamspinner decided to start in-house translations, I was the logical choice.

  1. What sparked your interest in translations?

I’ve always loved languages. I started studying French when I was twelve, and it took me about three weeks to decide that whatever else I did in my life, I would speak this language. That passion only grew through high school. I was blessed to have three incredible French teachers over my six years of language study in middle school and high school, so the transition to college French and eventually to living in France was an easy one for me. I had two opportunities to live and work in Dijon, France, once as a student and the second as an English teacher in a French high school. When I was there that second time, I made it my stated goal to never again hear “You speak French so well for an American.” I always said thank you if someone made that comment because they always intended it as a compliment, but for me, it was proof that I had made a mistake that gave me away. Unless of course they knew me or I had just been introduced to them by my French host family as their American daughter. Then I just grinned from ear to ear.

  1. Tell us a little about the process of translating a book.

The translation process is both simple and incredibly complex. From the simple side, we send the English version to a translator. Then we send the translated version to an editor. Then we do a final proofread on it and publish it. The complicated part comes in when the English version isn’t simple. As native speakers of a language, we play with our words, our phrasing, our use of structure and colloquialisms, accents and even deliberate errors, to create effect. Our translators are tasked with finding ways to recreate those effects in a language that doesn’t have the same structures, phrasings, colloquialisms, or other devices. An alliteration in English won’t be one in French. A rhyme in English won’t work in Spanish. And when you start getting into slang? Don’t even get me started! That means that often we do more than one edit on a book. Sometimes we have a book get to the final proofread only to realize some portion of it still needs more work than that stage entails. Sometimes we send a project out only to find that the project and the translator are a poor match and we have to start over. Still, it’s exciting to see it take shape beneath the loving hands of my dedicated team.

  1. What languages would you love to see DSP titles translated into?

This is going to sound silly, but I’d love to see our books translated into Russian because that would mean that the political climate has changed enough to allow that.

  1. How do you find translators?

Very carefully.

To be a little more detailed, it started completely as word of mouth. We had contacts in Spain, France, Italy, and Germany, native speakers who we trusted to help us get the word out and also to help us evaluate potential translators. All of our applicants complete a sample translation that is then thoroughly vetted by our language coordinators before we offer them a translation project.

And you didn’t ask, but just in case your readers are wondering, we are currently hiring translators and proofreaders in German and we have one open translations spot in French.

  1. In one of my books, a character’s name means “cursed” in French, so we had to change his name a bit for the French translation. How often do little stumbles like this occur?

We’ve had it happen a few times with names. We’ve had it happen more times with titles. Maybe the title is a play on words (Hair of the Dog comes to mind) or maybe it’s a structure that works in English but is incredibly awkward (or completely unfeasible) in translation (The Isle of… Where? is an example of that). Fortunately our authors have been fantastic about working with us to make sure we do justice to their ideas while still reaching the market we’re aiming at.

  1. What are some of the special considerations when working on translations?

The biggest consideration for all of our translations that simply doesn’t exist in English is that moment when formal becomes informal. All of the languages we translate into have two ways of saying you, one for close friends and family and one for acquaintances and business settings. In a romance, unless it’s friends to lovers, the moment when that transition happens is telling. And if you add something like BDSM into the mix, where the relationship is artificially formalized at times, that movement back and forth between the different forms is a decision the translator must make. Sometimes it’s a really obvious spot. Other times, not so much. When it’s fairly clear (or it’s a contemporary between younger people who aren’t as strict about the “old” rules), we leave it up to the translator, but for a historical or for a book when one or both characters has a reason to adhere to the rules of formality, we will consult with the author to find the spot that best fits the author’s vision of the relationship arc.

  1. What can you tell us about the market for m/m romance in non-English speaking countries?

It’s a booming market! We have seen spectacular growth in the French, Italian, and German markets. The Italian market most closely mirrors the English-speaking market, with contemporary romances being the most popular. Interestingly, the French and German markets are far more genre-driven. Our current all-time bestseller in French is a historical. And anyone who knows anything about the gay romance market in English will tell you that historicals are a hard sell here.

  1. What are you (personally) working on right now?

I’m editing the fight Lang Downs book, and then I’m moving back and forth between two works in progress. One is a contemporary May-December romance set in Montréal. The other is a mystery set deep in the Louisiana bayou. Mostly what I’ve been working on personally, though, is getting ready for the launch of our French paperback line that will debut at the Salon du livre next week.

  1. Is there anything else you’d like to share?

I need to give a special thank-you to my four language coordinators. Without Jade, Saura, Petra, and Emanuela, we wouldn’t have a viable translations program. They are my rock, my right hand, and the heart of everything we do in the translations program. If you interact with the social media in the languages at all, you’ve talked with them, and you know how amazing they are. If you haven’t, what are you waiting for? They’d love to hear from you!

Blast from the Past: Hot Cargo by Nicki Bennett and Ariel Tachna

Blast From the Past – Hot Cargo by Nicki Bennett and Ariel Tachna

HotCargoFSTake two writers, a mutual friend’s birthday, her well-known fascination with science fiction, stir and what do you get? Hot Cargo, of course.

Eight or so years ago, Nicki and I wanted to give a friend a present for her birthday, so we wrote a little something, a one-shot sexy scene with a sci-fi setting, and posted it on a writer forum we were all three a part of. She loved it.

Three months later, she came down with pneumonia, so we wanted to write something to cheer her up. She loved the first one, she still loved science fiction, so we wrote her a second one.

Then another friend, who had loved both parts, had a birthday, so we wrote a third one.

Then the first friend’s birthday came around again….

You get the idea. Suddenly we had 20,000 words of loosely connected sex scenes, two characters people seemed to adore, and absolutely no idea how to turn them into a book. We threw ourselves on Lynn’s mercy and tried to come up with an actual science fiction plot to hold the book together. (We really just wanted another excuse to write hot, kinky sex, but you know, we needed some semblance of a plot.) After a long weekend of brainstorming, we had a plan, and off Nicki and I went to start writing.HealinginHisWingsFS

That went great, right up until Peter needed somewhere to run. Oops. Except that I’d written a sci-fi novella with a main character whose best friend from childhood was named Peter. Hmm….

Hot Cargo became a series, with that link to Healing in His Wings.

Several years later, Lynn and Elizabeth made a list of things they couldn’t ever see Dreamspinner publishing. One of those things was tentacle sex. Nicki and I burst out laughing because Blaise’s best friend Harry had tentacles, and wouldn’t it be a feat of writing if we could make him the romantic lead in a story of his own? Lynn looked at us skeptically and agreed that if we wrote it convincingly, she’d read it and see. Something About Harry wraps up the Hot Cargo series pairing Peter’s former first mate with Blaise’s best friend. Sasha finds Harry far too fascinating to even care about the tentacles. After all, when the one touching you is the one you love, it’s all good, right?

You can read all three books at Dreamspinner Press! http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/index.php?cPath=54_252



Captured and accused of piracy, privateer Blaise Risner, captain of the Golden Stallion, finds himself in a clinch – literally – with Confederation Admiral Peter Keller, who promises to see justice done by way of hard labor. But when the chemistry between them rivals the heat of the twin Talixin suns, the dominant admiral decides he wants to handle the rehabilitation of the provocative pirate himself. After their first close encounter, Blaise figures that serving Keller in such a personal capacity won’t be such a terrible sentence.

Keller dispenses his own forms of painful justice and sensual discipline, which usually involve a not-so-resistant Blaise on his knees bound and determined to give as good as he gets. The privateer can’t deny that suffering the handsome admiral’s punishments makes him burn like the fires of the Horsehead Nebula. Serving in the roles of prisoner and captor defines their ‘relationship’, but no power can stop a shooting star … the star of startling passion that flares every time they touch.

Just when Blaise thinks he can navigate the treacherous asteroid field of emotion to find common ground with Keller, an interstellar war tears them apart. Through it all, Blaise’s desire for his captor stands as tall and strong as the monoliths of Maraven, and he’ll go to the very edge of the galaxy and back if that’s what it takes to crack the ice around the admiral’s heart




“Report to the zero-g chamber in ninety minutes,” Peter ordered, walking away without a backward glance. He knew Blaise wouldn’t dare disobey him. The ex-smuggler might push his limits every chance he got, but the Admiral knew they both enjoyed the consequences of those actions. In the meantime, he’d ensure he learned everything Petrov had to disclose about the most recent attack.


“Yes, sir,” Blaise replied to Keller’s retreating back. He finished changing out the last light bulb quickly and returned his cart of supplies to the maintenance closet. Deciding he had enough time for a shower, Blaise returned to his quarters and turned the ’fresher on high, letting the hot water wash away the grease and grime of the day. Relaxed afterward, body humming in anticipation, he grabbed a quick bite to eat before reporting as ordered to the zero-g training room, figuring he might not be free again for quite some time.


It hadn’t taken Peter as long as he’d thought to grill Petrov. Unfortunately, the Pleides’s captain didn’t have as much information as he’d hoped, the attackers once again leaving frustratingly little evidence in the wake of their destruction. He’d pumped Arkady for everything he could remember, but other than the now-familiar energy signature, there’d been nothing but smoking ruins left behind. Peter had cursed as he looked over the vid-scans after Petrov left. The small mining facility hadn’t had much of value to attract pirates, and it didn’t appear the attackers had made any attempt to claim any of the ore from the storage silos before blasting them – and the planetoid’s dozen miners – into ions. Scowling at the images of senseless devastation, he keyed off the display and stalked toward the zero-g chamber, determined to work off some of his aggression.


He was finishing up his preparations when the door swished open and Blaise entered, his attitude as unconsciously arrogant as ever. The Admiral was sure that Blaise’s rebellious attitude was one reason he had yet to tire of the younger man as he had all his earlier subs – that, and the fact that the smuggler made him hotter than the surface of a supernova. As soon as the door closed behind Blaise’s tight ass, Keller tapped the controls to lock the door and kill the chamber’s gravity. “Show me how well you can maneuver in freefall,” Peter ordered. “Strip.”


Blaise was no rank beginner. He had worked more ships than probably most of the sailors under the Admiral’s command, and many of them had been little more than junkyard scrap. He’d had plenty of experience with freefall, mostly when the gravity generators failed. With confident ease, he moved slowly to keep himself from spinning out of control, unbuttoning the fastenings on his ship suit and sliding it off his shoulders and down over his hips.


Peter watched the smuggler appreciatively as Blaise gracefully wriggled his way out of his work uniform, revealing his bare skin and the fact that his cock didn’t require gravity to get hard. “Very good,” he acknowledged, completely comfortable after decades of zero-g experience. “But in your former line of work, you were alone on your ship most of the time. What would you do if you had a shipmate who needed your … assistance?”


“Do you need my assistance, Admiral?” Blaise asked teasingly, though he was also following protocol. He would never approach a shipmate in zero-g conditions without alerting the other person to his intentions.


“One of these days, Blaise, that mouth of yours is going to get you into real trouble,” Peter warned. “Let’s see if you can make it over here without knocking me into orbit, for a start.”


Blaise pushed off gently, floating smoothly across the room, aiming for a spot a little to Keller’s left. “Would you have preferred I come sailing over here with no warning whatsoever?” he countered as he caught himself smoothly on the railing next to the Admiral’s elbow. “I would have thought that against shipboard procedure. It certainly was against mine.”


“You had shipboard procedures?” Peter scoffed in disbelief. “Hard to believe, since you’re so obviously ignorant of proper discipline.” Using just enough motion to slam into Blaise forcefully, he spun the younger man around and pressed his chest firmly against the chamber wall. “You know what kind of assistance I’m looking for, Blaise,” he hissed, holding the pirate’s hip with one hand and rubbing the evidence of his arousal against the taut cheeks. His other hand caught Blaise’s thick hair, pulling the younger man’s head back into his kiss.


Blaise returned the kiss eagerly, far beyond caring that the Admiral knew of his willingness and desire. They had finished with those games for the most part after his birthday, the effects of the wine having broken down barriers they’d chosen not to restore. Instead, he reached behind him and used his grip on the commander’s hips to give him enough leverage to push back into the cock that pressed against him so invitingly. “I’m always happy to serve, Admiral,” he replied when his lips were released.


“You seemed eager enough to serve Petrov earlier, too, so that’s not saying much,” Peter retorted. He slid his lips down the strong curve of Blaise’s neck, biting down hard when he reached the junction of his shoulder, marking the skin with his teeth. The bruise wouldn’t show beneath Blaise’s work suit, but it would remind him of who he belonged to, for a day or so at least.


“A change is as good as a rest,” Blaise quipped, though he would never have submitted to the captain the way he submitted to the Admiral. Only Keller could elicit this response from him. The older man didn’t need to know that, though. Blaise knew the Admiral enjoyed his rebellion as much as the smuggler enjoyed the consequences.


At Blaise’s flippant answer, the Admiral felt a surge of jealousy that surprised him with its intensity. Wrenching the grinning smuggler around by his hair, he towed him across the room to the opposite wall, where he’d secured a pair of leather straps. Removing one, he ran it over his palm, nodding to the other. “Grab that and hold on,” he ordered the pirate. “And don’t let go. If I have to restrain you, it will only make things worse for you.”


Blaise obeyed the Admiral’s orders immediately. His innate sense of self-preservation told him he’d pushed the commander as far as he safely could. Now, it was just a matter of holding on for the ride. A thrill shot through him as he imagined all the possibilities presented by their current situation.


Peter hooked a foot under the rail that circled the training room walls, knowing he’d need some way to brace himself. Otherwise, the first time he brought the strap down against Blaise’s ass – like that! – would send him spinning across the room in reaction.


Even in zero-g, the strap moved with enough force to smart when it hit Blaise’s skin. His hips jerked forward, a motion that would have sent him spinning helplessly through the room if not for his grip on the leather cuffs. As it was, his body twisted around, leaving his vulnerable belly facing the Admiral.


Reaching out to the younger man, Peter spun Blaise back around to face the wall again. He wanted to teach his brash lover a lesson, not leave him incapacitated. Holding Blaise’s shoulder secure with his free hand, Peter brought the strap down a second time, raising a bright red welt on the honeyed skin.


“Ah, shit!” The second blow was enough to pull the muttered curse from Blaise’s lips. Rarely did their games cross over the line to true pain. The energy whip the first night he’d been on board was just about it. His usual punishments involved being denied release. While relatively minor compared to what he’d endured while aboard the Gavenelian ships, it was still enough to leave him tense against the next blow, and none to happy about the situation either.


Peter hardened himself against Blaise’s exclamation of pain. Six blows in all, he told himself. That should be enough to get the cocky bastard’s attention. “Maybe you won’t be quite so eager for a change after this,” he growled, laying a series of quick blows across the spacer’s backside.


Blaise bit his lip to stifle his cries as four more blows fell. He was panting by the time it was done, his body tense and braced for more. His relief when the Admiral released the strap and let it float away was palpable. Still trembling, he tried to steady his breathing, using meditation techniques he had perfected during his imprisonment to push aside the adrenaline coursing through him.


Peter dropped the strap and positioned himself behind his shaking partner. He ground his cloth-covered erection against Blaise’s reddened ass, letting the younger man feel his unabated arousal. “Now, I believe you were going to show me how eager you were to serve me,” he husked against the pirate’s ear. Letting go of Blaise’s hips, he pushed off gently, letting himself float freely.


Blaise took a deep breath and started to release the strap he held when he remembered the earlier order. “I can’t do much if you’re over there and I’m over here,” he said softly. He’d had his fill of punishment for the day.


Impressed that Blaise had remembered his order not to let go of the strap, Peter grinned. “Very good,” he acknowledged. “But I think you’re going to need both hands now. Get over here and take care of what you started.”


Blaise released the leather he was holding and pushed himself in Keller’s direction, letting their bodies bump and the momentum push them toward the far wall. Catching the railing with one hand, he used the other to keep the Admiral from crashing into the wall. As quickly as he dared in the zero-g conditions, he undid the uniform and bared the commander’s body to his gaze. Nudging the Admiral upward, he steadied them both when the thick arousal was at the height of his mouth. Lowering his head, he inhaled the swollen shaft, swallowing around the mushroomed head.


Peter didn’t bother to hold back his moan of pleasure as Blaise’s talented mouth closed around his cock. Holding the dark head in place with one hand, he pried Blaise’s hand away from the railing with the other, letting their bodies drift weightlessly.


Unattached now as they were to anything grounded, Blaise had no choice but to use his grip on the Admiral to provide the leverage he needed to bob his head up and down over the hard cock. One thing, though, didn’t require gravity to be effective. Grinning as best he could around his mouthful, he hummed in his throat, letting the vibrations tease Keller’s erection.


Blaise’s oral prowess never failed to arouse Peter’s admiration – among other things – and at first the Admiral simply enjoyed the delicious suction on his rigid shaft. He watched as a string of saliva escaped the privateer’s lips, breaking into tiny glittering globules that floated past Peter’s face. As he felt his control beginning to slip, he grasped Blaise’s bicep around the stylized horse tattoo, flipping gracefully end-over-end until he faced the younger man’s well-striped ass. Unable to lay hands on the mysterious attackers, he’d taken out his anger and frustration on his smuggler. He owed him something in recompense.


Blaise had let Keller’s cock slip from his mouth in surprise at the maneuver, and the Admiral grasped the spacer’s lean hips and twisted him around, thrusting the neglected organ back in his face. “Didn’t tell you to stop,” he ordered, lowering his head to lap at the droplets of fluid beginning to escaping from Blaise’s swollen erection.


The howl that tore from Blaise’s throat at the feeling of the Admiral’s tongue on his cock was muffled by the shaft in his mouth, but nothing short of the void of space could silence it, not when he was feeling Keller’s mouth on him for the first time.


Blaise’s uninhibited reaction made the Admiral wonder why he hadn’t given in to this particular temptation before. True, he’d never been tempted to taste another prisoner’s cock before Blaise’s, but the salty taste and silky texture of the pirate’s thick shaft felt damn good in his mouth. Not as good as his cock would feel buried in Blaise’s ass, though. With that thought in mind, Peter slid two fingers into his mouth alongside the slick column, coating them thoroughly with saliva and Blaise’s pre-come.


Blaise tried to focus his attention on his ministrations to the Admiral, not wanting to be rebuked for neglecting his duties, but he could feel Keller’s fingers sliding alongside his shaft in the other man’s mouth. He knew where those fingers were going, and the thought alone had him trembling with desire.


Peter tightened his thighs around Blaise’s shaggy head, forcing himself into the smuggler’s mouth until his balls pressed against the man’s sensuous lips. Keeping a firm grip on one hip, he pushed his wet fingers into Blaise’s hole with more urgency than care. He’d make sure the younger man was stretched enough to receive him, but he needed to be inside him the way he needed oxygen to breathe in the void of space.


Blaise’s back arched under the rough penetration, not to fight it, but to draw Keller’s fingers deeper. The sharp movement sent them spinning gently through the room, but he paid no attention to that. His mind was on the thick flesh in his mouth and the callused fingers stretching his ass. Everything else had lost all meaning for him.


Feeling Blaise arch and clench around him, the Admiral worked his fingers deeper, spreading them until he could feel the tight muscle start to relax. When their entwined bodies bumped gently against the chamber wall, he groped for the rail to steady them. Reluctantly abandoning his efforts to work his cock down Blaise’s throat, he pulled the dark-haired captive up to face him. Taken by a sudden impulse, he pulled the younger man’s mouth to his, savoring the taste of his own essence on Blaise’s tongue.


Blaise offered his mouth as willingly as he offered his body, though they still kept to the pretense that the Admiral was forcing his submission. He wondered fleetingly if they would ever move beyond these games, but there was no time for such considerations now. All that mattered was that Keller was fucking his mouth with his tongue like Blaise hoped he would soon be fucking his ass with his cock. He sucked hard on the invading muscle, welcoming it eagerly.

Ariel Tachna bio pic

Ariel Tachna lives outside of Houston with her husband, her daughter and son, and their two dogs.  Before moving there, she traveled all over the world, having fallen in love with France, where she met her husband, and India, where she hopes to retire some day.  She’s bilingual with snippets of four other languages to her credit and is as in love with languages as she is with writing.

Web site: http://www.arieltachna.com

Twitter: @arieltachna

Facebook: http://tiny.cc/29npd

To purchase my books, you can always go to Dreamspinner’s web site, http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com  or you can go to Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or All Romance eBooks, I’m sure there are probably other eBook outlets as well, but I don’t go searching for them. Also, if you want to buy the book in print, any bookstore that allows special orders can order the book for you with the title and my name.