Advice on sourcing translations for small press (eng to fre, ger, spa, ita, etc.)
Thread poster: Graphics Press
Graphics Press
United States
Aug 28, 2015

I work for a very small independent press that was founded by the author to publish his (four, soon to be five) books. The books are very successful -- hundreds of copies sold, many awards, etc. The author would like to have these books translated into Chinese, Japanese, Russian, German, French, Spanish, and Italian for publication as ebooks. As a small press with meticulous attention to book design, we'd like to hire independent translators, rather than go through a large service. It's very important to us that we be able to work with the translators directly, and be in touch about small details throughout the process. Money is not a significant concern.

Any advice on how to proceed? We'd be very interested to hear any tips or suggestions from industry veterans. What can we, as clients, do to ensure very high quality translations?

Thanks in advance!

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Istiani Prajoko  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:23
Member (2008)
English to Indonesian
+ ...
Contact the associations of translators Aug 28, 2015

Dear EKirk,
In my opinion you should contact the translators associations in those countries, asking for reference which translators and editors are the best for such kind of job.
For example, in Indonesia we have Himpunan Penerjemah Indonesia/HPI (Association of Indonesian Translators). Many book translators (fictions and nonfiction) become members of the association. Or, just in case the author intends to translate the books to Bahasa Indonesia, you can contact me directly via ProZ.

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Andrea Halbritter  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:23
French to German
+ ...
Several ideas Aug 28, 2015

Contacting translator associations certainly is not a bad advice. Not every professional translator is part of an association though. I for instance am not.

Being able to spend a certain budget certainly helps as well. Generally speaking a high rate is more likely to assure you a good result than a low one.

I think in your case I'd may also contact other editors/authors in order to know with what translators they are working. If you already do know a translator with whom you are confident with, maybe he/she can also recommend you a colleague with another language pair.

An other option is also to have some small samples translated by several translators (or even longer ones if you pay them) and then choose the translators who fit the best. In that case you'd have to work with proofreaders or other persons who can judge about the quality of translation, the style etc. Not easy neither.

In any case I'll ask for references (translated books with a similar content, translated articles etc.).

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Phil Hand  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:23
Chinese to English
For Chinese Aug 29, 2015

You might do well to contact Eric Abrahamsen, who runs the website Paper Republic. He is in contact with a number of high quality translators, including translators into Chinese, and might well be able to help you link up with someone who understands your text.

More general tips: as Andrea said, look for someone with a successful record of publication. You will need two translators - one to translate and the other to proofread - so as a first step you might ask two or more translators to do a small sample, and then to edit and comment on each others' work. Reading the comments will help you to get a sense of who understands the text best, and might help you to pick your lead translator. (You may have to pay for these samples, but by keeping it short you can keep the costs down.)

Another possibility would be to work with one translator and one monolingual editor, but that obviously increases the difficulties in communication.

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Advice on sourcing translations for small press (eng to fre, ger, spa, ita, etc.)

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