translating a book process
how to translate a book into english

5 Steps of Book Translation

Thousands or even millions of people may flip through the pages of your book. However, if you get it translated, you may touch the lives of millions more. That's only if the translation doesn't feel like a translation. The first rule of translating your book into another language is to not put it through Google Translate. The work you spent hours writing and investing thought and creativity into will sound like a robot. Literary translation should be done by real people who read, understand, and value your work. Give your product the chance to reach millions more readers by using a book translator or translation service that is just as attentive as you are.

“Aujourd’hui, maman est morte.” That's unfortunate. Yes, you remember it right, or don't you? This is the opening line of Albert Camus's "The Stranger." It has almost been a century, yet linguists still argue whether "Maman" should've been translated into English as "mother" or left as "Maman." It's not an easy business, people! And, there will always be lots of opinions on the final translation of a literary work.

Let's get you started with finding out what to look for when getting a book translated into another language.

What are Your Book Translation Goals?

Before having your book translated, you must determine why you want to translate it. Do you want to sell your literature to other countries, or is it because you want to touch people from different cultures and languages ​​with your writing?

When starting your book translation, determine your purpose and begin spending your resources according to that purpose. A book translation process is time-consuming, and time management should be a priority. Finding the right translators or the best professional translation provider should be done with a budget in mind. It is also essential to understand the book translation process of anyone you intend to work with before handing out your beloved creation. Deciding whether to publish your book physically or digitally has also become a vital step in today's conditions. You should know that with the ever-changing technologies, our old habits are also shifting. Still, there are lots of people who believe in the power of paperback. Know your audience. Before deciding between paperback and digital, find out how they read.

Throughout history, millions of literary translations have been done. The Little Prince, for instance, has been translated into more than 200 languages. To find out more about famous translators throughout history, check out the series Famous Translators. Maybe one day, your book will be on our historical translations list.

Determine a Target Market for Your Book Translation

Setting a target market is the most crucial step in book translation. Identifying your book's target market will be instrumental in maximizing reach and profit. Consider the following when determining a target market for your book translation:

  • In which Geographies will your book attract more attention?
  • Is the genre of your book more popular in some countries than others? For instance, Germans will pounce on a good crime fiction novel. 
  • Understand the themes of your novel and whether they will translate well into another language and culture.
  • What is the market size of readers around the world?
  • Do the markets you are targeting prefer e-books over print?

With the constant change of today's conditions and habits, the different ways of reading books are increasing. After finding an answer to the above questions, the next step is to find a Professional Translation Provider that fits your budget. Let's see what features are the most important when looking for a PTP to smooth out that book translation process.

Find the Right Professional Translation Provider for Your Book

Now that you have determined your target market, it's time to find a professional book translation service provider to help you achieve your goals. Working with the right partner is a crucial step since you don't want to risk devaluing your book in any of the languages it's translated into. You can either opt to work with a freelance translator or choose an agency that provides professional book translation services. You should do your research and find the most suitable partner that will best suit your needs. When working with a book translation company, make sure you:

  • Communicate your needs
  • Ask for a clear deadline
  • Learn whether you'll have full rights to the translation
  • Know if you'll be able to provide feedback on the translations
  • Ask if they have translated books similar to yours in the past
  • Understand their book translation rates per word and make sure there are no extra costs or surprises in the end
  • Ask if they have translated any other books for the international market and request samples of published works
  • Know what the process looks like and determine how often you can communicate with your provider

At the end of the day, it's a personal choice to work with one option or another. However, working with a professional book translation services is less hassle and guarantee that you'll be working with the best translators who will provide you with the highest quality services.

Don't Skip the Editing and Proofreading When Translating Your Book

The translation of your book will only be complete after being checked by a second pair of eyes. Editing and proofreading are not, however, the final touches to the translated text. It is simply one of the main steps in the book translation process. Misspellings, integrity errors, or style inconsistencies that are overlooked during translation can only be revealed through proofreading. The downside of working with a freelance translator is the need to find another translator to go over the document for proofreading. One of the advantages of working with a professional translation agency is being provided with proofreading and editing services by default.

Publishing Your Book Translation

Clearly, you want to publish your book. Book publishing is a different topic than book translation, but it is needed to achieve the ultimate goal-reach millions more readers. Your book has now been translated, so it's only natural to publish it in other countries and languages. Therefore, you should search for publishing options in that country. You could directly sell your book on an online marketplace, or you can work with a publisher. There may be some regulations that you need to follow. A publisher could help you with these regulations. If you choose to publish your translation on a website and need help understanding the website, your translator or agency can help you.

Questions You Might Have for Book Translation Services

How Long does it Take to Translate a Book?

How long it takes to translate a book depends on a number of variables. For example, for every translation project, there is a certain level of complexity. If the book that you would like to get translated includes a lot of abbreviations, detailed descriptions, technical terms, it might take longer to translate your book. The duration also depends on the length of the book, as well as the specific field that it is written.

How Much Does it Cost to Translate a Book?

To calculate how much it costs to translate a book, why not try MotaWord? MotaWord is the world’s fastest, lowest cost, cloud-based, collaborative business translation platform. You can get a quote here and find out how much it costs to translate your documents.

Bonus: How to Translate a Book and Save Money While Doing It?

Working with a professional book translation agency always pays off. You won't have to find different translators for translation, editing, and proofreading. You will have a single point of contact that will foster consistency in your work. In addition, it costs less than it typically would when different individuals handle these processes. You can find a list of tips to save money on your book translation on our blog post: 7 Ways to Save Time And Money on Your Translations

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Published on Apr 13, 2021 by KUBRA CAMIR

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