Archive for March, 2018

Getting Your Book Translated Into Other Languages

March 21, 2018

Many writers have thought about getting their books translated, but are worried about the expense. This is certainly an issue, as it is both good for visibility (‘platform’) and adjunct sales.

 

I have tried to use BabelCube, with no success. I had a couple of offers to translate one of my books, but the deal never got done. I think most of the people they connect you with are amateurs looking for something easy. Furthermore, you sacrifice a lot in using that service. If I remember correctly, the translator gets something like 85% of the profits, which leaves you more like you would from a publishing company. Fair enough, I suppose, but you also lose some control over the product, as you only get a short period to approve the translation. If you have only one book and are not concerned with money, but simply in getting your book out there in different languages, that’s probably a reasonable way to go. All in all, I chose not to pursue that route any longer.

 

As an alternative to employing both a professional translator and then an editor, I have devised a less expensive way, especially as I currently have half a dozen books. First, use a translating software. Then employ a good editor for quality and accuracy.

 

If you want to use a professional software, I found several. For example, there is Systran Professional Translator – Spanish Language $249. I don’t know how good it is, but it is more oriented to business documents.  If you have several books, it might be worth the cost.

 

However, there are several pretty good free versions you can download. They include Google Translator, Microsoft Translate, and the one I tried, Babylon. I tested it on the prologue of “The Grindstone”. I’m not fluent in Spanish, but good enough to know it was a very good translation. On the positive side, it kept the paragraph formatting and phrases I had in Italics, and punctuated the sentences well. On the downside, it did not translate colloquialisms (e.g., ain’t) and some contractions, as well as words it did not have in its dictionary, such as ‘bastard’. Some of those I could correct, others could just be left for the editor. You can probably increase the dictionary, although I did not check.

 

With the free software, you have to do the manuscript in chunks (such as chapters), and spend your own time checking for the non-translated portions. But then you get to hand a pretty close translation to a professional editor of that language who would be charged with making those corrections anyhow, as well as ensuring the quality of the translation. This gives you complete control of the final product, and gets that first big step done at little or no monetary cost.

 

If you are a serious writer, having translations of your work is a powerful tool. If you spend the time, you can greatly reduce the costs while maintaining control of your work. Good luck!