Dan Brown’s “Inferno” Translated by 11 People in a Secret Bunker

Dan Brown’s “Inferno” Translated by 11 People in a Secret Bunker
Bernadine Racoma

This is how some people put it – hellish punishment and the rest call it too extreme. Speculation for the latest Dan Brown novel is now dominated by talk about what the 11 translators hired by Brown’s publishers had to go through in order to prevent plot leaks for the latest Robert Langdon installment during the process of translating it to other languages.

This was the predicament of the 11 translators who were apparently forced to read the novelist’s newest work of fiction, “Inferno” every day, seven days a week to produce editions in several languages for the May 14, 2013 publication date. These people were kept at work all day until around eight in the evening in an underground bunker somewhere in Italy from February to April.

High security environment

Mondadori, the publishers of Brown’s next future bestseller hired people to translate the book into Spanish, French, Deutsch, Italian and Portuguese. Mondadori is Italy’s biggest publishing firm. The 11 translators were confined to a high security basement with no windows in the Milan HQ of the publishing firm. The bunker was reportedly guarded by armed men. Internet access was allowed but only through a supervised computer designated for communal use. The translators were allowed one laptop each, which were all screwed to their respective workstations. They were asked to sign in and to sign out and keep a detailed log of their activities during the whole time that they were working on the manuscript.

The translators were directed not to discuss “Inferno’s” plot with anyone. The manuscripts were always in secure storage when the translators were not actively working on them. The 11 translators were allowed to mix with other Mondadori staff and employees when they dine at the canteen. But each one had a cover story to tell anyone who would ask what they’re doing in order to hide their true purpose.

Simultaneous publication

Dan Brown’s “Inferno” reportedly uses a lot from Dante Alighieri’s classic, “Inferno,” which is the first part of his epic poem, “The Divine Comedy.” Brown’s modern “Inferno” is going to be released simultaneously in Catalan, English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish. Simultaneous publishing is not the usual practice of publishing firms. “The Lost Symbol,” Brown’s latest bestseller was first published in English and the German version was made available a month later when the English original was already a bestseller.

Dan Brown’s “Inferno”

“Inferno” is the fourth Robert Langdon story line by the author of “Angels and Demons,” “The Da Vinci Code,” and “The Lost Symbol.” describes the new novel as Prof. Langdon’s battle set in France with a “chilling adversary” with a riddle centered on Dante’s literary masterpiece. Brown has said in an interview that there might be about 12 Robert Landon book ideas floating around in his head so far.

Brown’s books have been translated into more than 50 languages and have sold over 200 million copies in total. Brown’s fortune is estimated to be $400 million. The two film adaptations of his novels directed by Ron Howard and starring Academy Award winning actor Tom Hanks grossed about $1.25 billion worldwide.


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