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Book translation: how to start?
Thread poster: Macià Planas

Macià Planas
Local time: 13:07
English to Spanish
+ ...
Aug 21, 2007

I would like to translate a book, but I don't know how to get a job like this.

Do translators usually contact editorial houses directly? Or it is also done through a translation agency?

Anybody translating books who could give me any advice?

Thank you very much for your help.


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xxxBrandis
Local time: 14:07
English to German
+ ...
mainly publishers Aug 21, 2007

Hi ! Publishers with their own printing facility. They normally have their teams to do the editorial work and collaborate normally with writers. Good luck Brandis

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Tim Drayton  Identity Verified
Cyprus
Local time: 15:07
Turkish to English
+ ...
The author contacts you Aug 21, 2007

In my experience it is the author of the book who finds a suitable translator. Several times in the past I have been contacted by authors, or often people working on their behalf, with a view to translating a book of theirs. I have always offered to translate a few pages of the book as a sample. That was as far as it ever went, until last year when I was commissioned to translate a whole book. This involved three months of very hard work and I earned much less than I would have done for the same amount of commercial translation work. Perhaps other translators can point you in a different direction, but my own experience suggests that you have to wait to be discovered. You can take consolation from the fact that book translation is for the most part poorly paid.

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Macià Planas
Local time: 13:07
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Oh! Aug 21, 2007

Tim Drayton wrote:

You can take consolation from the fact that book translation is for the most part poorly paid.


Thank you for your post!

I didn't know book translation was so poorly paid... but actually, I had already heard this before from another person.


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felikerm  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:07
French to German
+ ...
translator contacts the publishing house Aug 21, 2007

Hi!
I already translated a book, and it was me who contacted the publishing house.
I proposed them to look for interesting foreign publications that could fit into their program. Now I send them my propositions regularly. Once I was lucky...however it was them who had found the book I translated, but they gave me the job.

Best regards


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Daniel Jimenez  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 14:07
Member (2007)
English to Spanish
Translating books is a fascinating, frustrating work. Aug 24, 2007

Hi, if you would like to translate a book, prepare to enjoy, it's so fascinating so you wont do any other translation at the same time. In fact, with the time they give you to finish the work sure there's no time to do anything else. Believe me, probably you will dream of the things in the book.
I've translated five books, and proofread more than ten, divulgative and scientific ones, so i think i can help you a little, frinstance, if iwas you i'd do the following:
Don't work with agencies, many times they get a lot of money selling "smoke", better talk directly with the editorial house or better the author.
Be sure of the book content before accept it.
Be sure your name will appear in the final edition of the book, frexample, translator of this edition: xxxxxxxx, hey! my fist book!, with my name in it! ....and not the agency's name
You'll be several months trying to finish the book (¿what will happen at the end of the book?), be patient, organize your time, take a walk once aday, y'know, those things.
Be sure that you can do the job, and that it is not too bad paid (avoid agencies, again), and that you are going to like the book, cause if not it can become a three months torture with at last a wink of money and your name is not in the book.
Well, i like to have my originals and samples of edition here in my home for free!!!
Good luck and enjoy


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Rita Tepper  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:07
Member (2008)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Medical book translation in Argentina Aug 30, 2007

Hi, I'm new in this forum and I need some help because I was offered a translation of a medical book from Spanish to English, and I do not know how much I should charge.
I live in Argentina and I am a medical doctor, a cardiologist, so this translation shouldn't give me a lot of trouble, its about 800 pages.
I'd appreciate some advice from translators in Argentina.
Thanks in advance.


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BirgitBerlin  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 14:07
English to German
+ ...
I also would like to translate a book... Oct 16, 2007

I have been to a book signing by the author (autobiography) last week and mentioned to him that I would like to translate it.
He said, "Good idea, you do that, good luck!"
Well, I appreciate that this kind of oral consent at a book signing is not enough to go and start a translation....

Who do you think I should contact? The publishing house that published the original?

Then I need a German publisher to publish it. I guess I will have to write around to some publishers who are likely to publish an autobiography and suggest it to them?


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Robert Tucker
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:07
German to English
+ ...
Translation rights Oct 16, 2007

BirgitBerlin wrote:
Who do you think I should contact? The publishing house that published the original?

If the author is handling his own publishing and translating rights he may only have handed over the current publisher the right to publish for so long in one country, so you would need to approach the author again.

If he has passed on all publishing rights for all countries for any number of years you will indeed need to contact the publisher. Some publishers actually list books for which the translation rights are available.

He may however have a literary agent, in which case s/he may be the correct person to contact – some agents specialize in translation rights alone.
BirgitBerlin wrote:
Then I need a German publisher to publish it. I guess I will have to write around to some publishers who are likely to publish an autobiography and suggest it to them?

Or to literary agents. If a book is non-fiction, they (publishers and literary agents) are often much more likely to consider a proposal without the manuscript or even a sample of it. Some publishers will only accept proposals or submissions through agents.

There are, of course, options like www.lulu.com and www.cafepress.com and general self-publishing.

[I'm no expert on this by the way – just been reading the subject matter up on the web recently.]


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