A writer never forgets the first time that he accepts some money or praise in exchange for a story. He never forgets the first time that he feels the sweet venom of vanity in his blood, and he believes that if he manages that no one discovers his lack of talent the literary dream will be capable of placing a roof over his head, a hot plate for the end of the day and his deepest yearning: his name impressed on a miserable piece of paper which surely will survive longer than he. A writer is condemned to remember that moment, because from then on he is lost and his soul has a price.And:
A writer never forgets the first time he accepted a few coins or a word of praise in exchange for a story. He will never forget the sweet poison of vanity in his blood, and the belief that, if he succeeds in not letting anyone discover his lack of talent, the dream of literature will provide him with a roof over his head, a hot meal at the end of the day, and what he covets the most: his name printed on a miserable piece of paper that surely will outlive him. A writer is condemned to remember that moment, because from then on he is doomed and his soul has a price.
One of those is mine, of course. I'll let those who haven't read the book in English guess which is which. I have to say that I feel better about my own translation after comparing it to Lucia Graves' excellent rendering of Zafón's words. I'm going to guess there will be quite a few people pleased with the quality of her translation, while others may be curious about how the two of us chose to interpret the Spanish original, which I guess I should supply to those of you who are bilingual:
Un escritor nunca olvida la primera vez que acepta unas monedas o un elogio a cambio de una historia. Nunca olvida la primera vez que siente el dulce veneno de la vanidad en la sangre y cree que, si consigue que nadie descubra su falta de talento, el sueño de la literatura será capaz de poner techo sobre su cabeza, un plato caliente al final del día y lo que más anhela: su nombre impreso en un miserable pedazo de papel que seguramente vivirá más que él. Un escritor está condenado a recordar ese momento, porque para entonces ya está perdido y su alma tiene precio.