So, you’re a published author. Congratulations! You have great content and want to share it with the rest of the world. Only one problem separates you from doing this; your book is written in your mother tongue and the rest of the world speaks different languages. This is where the need to translate your book comes in.
Having your book translated has many benefits with the top one being that it allows you to reach a wider audience. Our Day Translations blog is here to show you how you can reach your international market by translating books into other languages.
Keep reading to find out how.
Why Do You Need to Translate Your Book?
Only 20% of the world’s population speaks English. This means that if we didn’t have translated books, we wouldn’t be able to effectively market the content we worked so hard to create and produce.
So what can we do? Finding out the second and third most common languages in your country as well as among your target audience is a step in the right direction. This brings us to answer the obvious question; How do you translate books into multiple languages?
This guide we’ve put together is here to help you understand what you need to know about the process of book translation and the main aspects that speak about the quality of book translation services. We’ll also give you some great translation options to help you get started.
What is a Book Translator?
The first distinction we need to make is that not all bilingual speakers are translators. A translator’s work should be fluent in at least two languages and have some other skills as well. It’s also important that they have a full or well enough understanding of the different cultures and be aware of specific interpretations and their history.
This is why, when providing professional translation services, most translators are required to have a bachelor’s degree and study in-depth, the language pair they wish to work with. Even though translating experience is the most important factor to most employers, university learning also adds value as a professional translator.
This now brings us to define a book translator. This person converts words from one language into another. This is also known as literary translations. This means sharpening writing and translating skills and staying up-to-date with cultural affairs and colloquialisms of the other language.
How to Translate Your Book: Step-by-Step
First Thing’s First – What’s Your Goal?
It’s important to note that a good translator preserves the author’s voice from the originally published book. When seeking to have your book or literary piece translated, understanding what you want to achieve from translating your book makes all the difference.
Maybe you want to reach new readers in international markets/foreign markets. Or you’re interested in an emotional connection with audiences that speak foreign languages. Being clear on these things affects your translated book’s outcome because you need to know your target audiences.
Some of the top foreign publishers are India, China, South Korea, Turkey, and Indonesia. Each of these translation companies has its own culture and values contributing to the quality of translation.
By now you might be wondering how a book publishing company would receive the content of your book. This is no minor detail since you’ll be paying for their translation skills to help sell your book to a foreign market.
Do some market research to become aware of the prominent literary genres in other countries along with their censorship system and any foreign rights that may be applicable. Understanding the publishing process within the global book market helps you to also make sensible choices on the ideal market to enter.
Below are some questions you should seek to answer when it comes to the translation process when engaging foreign publishers for assistance:
- Where do my original language book sales come from?
- Do my book sales come from other countries?
- How does my book stand out in this current market?
- Who is my competition?
- What other titles are similar to mine?
- What are the books in my niche area with a higher ranking on their Amazon marketplace?
Next, Pick a Translation Option!
Largely, there are two main options to translate your book for your target market. You either find an individual/ freelance translators, or you choose a good translation company that provides official translation services.
The translation of books needs a broad skill set, as we mentioned before. A professional literary translator with years of training and familiarity with the book market can be extremely helpful to a self-published author. It’s common for independent authors to develop long-term partnerships with their book translators.
Hiring a professional translation service is a good choice. They study your target market’s culture and generally count on native speakers to translate content. A literary translation agency comes with a cost but you can evaluate your international sales projections first and decide what’s best for you financially. We suggest you research which option is better suited for your book based on reputation, communication styles, and costs.
Proofreading is Vital
Think about translation as writing. You’re creating new content, new expressions, new structures to tell a story. From this perspective, it is understandable that your translated work will require much editing and proofreading as your original version did. This is also where an editor comes in to help and provide feedback.
Typically, translation services include proofreading and editing in the prices of their service. But, even if it comes at an additional cost, it is worth the effort to guarantee the quality of your translated book. So invest to perfect the translated manuscript and keep in touch with your translator during the process to clarify wording or make clear your interpretation of the content clear.
The Deal With Copyright
What’s crucial here is to identify who has the translation rights. You may think the owner of the literary work also owns the rights, but sometimes this is not the case. Publishers would sometimes buy the translation rights. As you can imagine, these rights can only be assigned by the person or entity who holds the copyright to the original content.
If an author makes the decision to get their book translated, they can ask their publisher to assign the translation rights to the publishing house that is to print the translated version. If the author does retain copyright to their work, then they would be in the position to grant translation rights. `
Generally, finding the right individual translator that produces quality translation for books is the responsibility of the acquiring editor. Nonetheless, according to the Berne Convention, translations are ‘original works’ and they have to be protected as such. As authors of their translations, translators are entitled to royalties.
Let Us Assist You to Translate Your Book!
At Day Translations, we can offer reliable and accurate translation services for your book. Our team of professional translators are experienced in translating books into multiple languages. From Afrikaans to Zulu, we offer translations to and from any language in the world. We’re available 24/7 to help you with all your needs.