So, you’ve written and published a book. Have you ever thought of translating your book into one or more languages? If so, you are not alone. Book translation is an art that has influenced the world today. Without book translation, the words of great minds wouldn’t be shared to the world – from the Bible to Don Quixote and Freud to Einstein.
Book translation is not a cheap undertaking, especially for indie authors. However, it can prove to be a lucrative opportunity for those writers struggling to find a foothold in their local markets. Having your books translated can help you reach a wider audience of readers around the world. In turn, you stand the chance of making additional earnings through publication in other markets.
BOOK TRANSLATION TIPS
Book translation can be a challenging undertaking, especially for authors who are not fluent in the languages into which they want to have their books translated. Here are some tips and considerations to keep in mind if you’re planning to have your book translated:
If you are looking to translate your book on a budget, freelancers should do the trick. Not only do they operate on a flexible schedule, but they typically provide quality services at a fraction of the cost of their professional counterparts. However you must vet freelancers carefully before trusting your literary material to them. There is so much that can go wrong if you select an incompetent translator. It isn’t unheard of for a book to undergo a complete transformation during translation – with the pivotal points of the message and trivial details of the plot changing drastically. So do your homework!
If you’re gearing towards hiring professional translation services, US-based groups such as the American Translators Association (ATA) and the American Literary Translators Association (ALTA) have an international membership and represent nearly every language.
On the whole, though, most professionals in the publishing industry will encourage you to accept the costs involved with using professional language service providers, especially companies that specialize in book translations. Why? Because such service providers have a wide-ranging network of international translators and publishers whose resources they can utilize to produce the best translation of your material. Language service providers have the luxury of using native speakers of the language into which you want your book translated. This ensures that the resulting translation of your book meets your expectations.
Editors are an essential element of the book translation process. A lot of authors presume, erroneously, that because their book was already proofread, edited and published in their native language, they can skip these processes when their book is translated.
You need to keep in mind the many alterations that can occur when text is translated from one language to another. There are so many nuances that simply cannot translate directly from one language to another. More than merely ensuring that the spelling, structure and grammatical elements of your translated novel are in order, you need an editor who will ensure that the message of your book has not been distorted. It’s understandable that some indie authors may have trouble contending with this additional cost. But the price is worth it to ensure that your foreign readers are receiving an accurate representation of your written words.
More than merely ensuring that your novel is properly translated, you must take the appropriate steps to publish the translated version of your book. Many indie publishers tend to slip up here; the translation of your book must be reflected in your publishing efforts. When you translate your book into Spanish, for instance, especially on indie publishing websites like Amazon, the only way you will tap into the Spanish literary market is if you remember to categorize your novel as Spanish. Otherwise, your English readers will be treated to some unpleasant surprises when they purchase your book, categorized as English, only to receive the Spanish translation. Your Spanish readers, on the other hand, will search for the Spanish version of your novel in vain.
Along with the publishing elements, your marketing efforts must also reflect your translation. This means creating a page, if not an entire website, advertising the translated version of your novel in the target language. Simply put: the translated version of your book requires the same marketing efforts as its original version if you want it to be a success.
Communication is crucial when having a book translated. As a writer, especially a self-published author, you must be involved in every facet of the book translation process. Do not allow your translators the freedom to do as they wish. Make yourself available to answer questions about your translation and publishing preferences. Doing so will ensure a translated version that best reflects your original piece.