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starting as a literary translator
Thread poster: Anabel Martínez

Anabel Martínez  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:30
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Apr 28, 2005

Dear colleagues,

I've been a translator for several years, but I still can't get established in the area I best enjoy, which is literature. I wonder if those of you who got started like me also had problems, and if you could provide me with some tips....

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Local time: 07:30
Less spoken languages Apr 28, 2005

I've seen in your profile that you are a native speaker of Catalan. I guess you'll have more chances of publishing a literary translation into Catalan than into Spanish. I'm a native speaker of both Galician and Spanish and I published my first (...and only) literary translation into Galician when I was still in college. It was a well-known Greek play that had already been translated dozens of times into Spanish, but never into Galician. I suppose I couln't ever dream of publishing that translation into Spanish with the background I had then.

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United States
Local time: 08:30
Italian to English
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Already covered, not easy Apr 28, 2005

Dear Anabel,

I think this very topic was discussed just a few weeks ago. The basic conclusion is that this is not a money-making sector, one does it for the glory (which is no small thing).

If I remember correctly, the conclusion is that you make the effort to translate some of your favourite works, and probably propose them - not so much to publishing houses, etc.- but to cultural and literary associations.

I know two people who regularly present their works to conferences of such associations, win prizes, and even publish their translations, but they do not earn a ten cents doing this. Luckily for them, they both come from well-to-do-families and in one case the individual is a teacher/professor by profession.

Nevertheless, there are people who do make some kind of living (or supplement to) in this field and maybe others will make more concrete suggestions on "how to get established" -
for example, there are publishing houses which do pay, but very little I believe - but the above comments reflect my understanding of the situation for most people with such aspirations.

Good luck,


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