Local novelist Peter Mountford wrote a great piece for The Atlantic about a Google Alert he had set up for his debut novel, A Young Man's Guide to Late Capitalism. The Alert directed him to a Russian forum where a user named AlexanderIII seemed to be invested deeply in making sure he understood the book:
AlexanderIII cited a passage in which I described my protagonist waking up with his “hair askew, eyes puffy with sleep.” Did “hair askew” refer to a particular hairstyle, he wanted to know, or did the character just have bed head? A user with the handle Copyright—the irony of which I did not yet appreciate—assured him that sleep was to blame.
At first, I didn’t realize that AlexanderIII was translating the book; I thought he was just a fastidious Russian reader with a loose command of the English language. It was fun to see people debating the meanings of my thoroughly worked-over phrases.
After a few days, a member going by DocPenfro encouraged AlexanderIII to simply enjoy the book and not fret over all the details. AlexanderIII responded, “I’d love to, DocPenfro, but I’m translating it for a publisher so I must be sure.”
Holy crap, I thought, my book is going to be published in Russia! Then I remembered that no Russian publisher had acquired the rights, and realized that AlexanderIII must be translating it for some kind of book-pirating outfit.