The Tough Tightrope of Translation

I’ve been translating a 300-page novel into a 120-page screenplay, which is roughly akin to turning a house into a Ferrari. The stuff you have to turn over, toss out, transmogrify and terraform, just to get the same story into the new mode, is Herculean.

UnknownSo today I stopped in mid-sentence to listen to some music. I write with soundtracks for movies playing in the background (Bryan Tyler, John Powell, James Newton Howard, Michael Giacchino…) and I got to “Another Way to Die,” the theme from 2006’s “Casino Royale.” It’s written by Alicia Keys. And in the space of about 50 lines, she manages to encapsulate 50 years of James Bond films.

It’s one of the best examples of translating from one medium to another that I’ve ever encountered.

I’ve decided to stop whining about my job.


Another ringer with the slick trigger finger
For Her Majesty
Another one with the golden tongue
Poisoning your fantasy
Another bill from a killer turned a thriller
To a tragedy



A door left open
A woman walking by
A drop in the water
A look in your eye
A phone on the table
A man on your side
Or someone that you think that you can trust
It’s just
Another way to die

Another tricky little gun giving solace to the one
That’ll never see the sun shine
Another inch of your life sacrificed for your brother
In the nick of time
Another dirty money heaven sent honey
Turning on a dime


Another girl with her finger on the world
Singing to you what you wanna hear
Another gun thrown down in surrender
Took away your fear
Another man there he stands right behind you
Looking in the mirror


It’s just another
It’s just another
It’s just another way
Shoot ’em up, bang bang
Hey Hey
It’s just another
Yeah Yeah

Bang bang bang bang

About danahaynes

Dana Haynes is the author of ICE COLD KILL (2013), BREAKING POINT (2011) and CRASHERS (2010) from Minotaur and St. Martin's Press.

Posted on October 31, 2014, in Blog and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.


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