Getting crowdfunding for translating important, contemporary books
Thread poster: ptrans@pm.me

ptrans@pm.me
Local time: 00:29
Member (2003)
German to English
Mar 15

In the twilight of my translator career, I would like to start focusing on translation as a public service.

There are some interesting new books about contemporary Germany (and thus Europe) which would lend themselves well to being made accessible to the English-speaking public.
For example, Finis-Germania by Rolf-Peter-Sieferle, but can come from all sides of the debate.

Given the nature of the material, such books are unlikely to find a mainstream publisher in the UK or US willing to take on such a project.

My question is
how might one go about raising the funds to translate such material, perhaps informally at first and then submitting material for publication later.

I know about general platforms such as gofundme.
As a test run, I started a campaign for another work here:
https://www.gofundme.com/translate-solschenizyn.


 

Joakim Braun  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 00:29
German to Swedish
+ ...
Contact the copyright holder first Mar 15

If the intention is publication, there's no point at all in starting a translation, crowd-funded or not, without permission of the copyright holder. You're very likely to be wasting your time. For one thing, there might already be a translation in the works! If you don't get a reply, that's a good indication you'd find no market when offering a completed translation either. (And publishing decisions, of physical books at least, aren't based on the availability of translations.)

"Finis Germania" is such a short work that you can handle it in your spare time. Perhaps the German publisher might be interested in a print-on-demand/e-book solution with profit sharing and no up-front cost for the translation. But you should always contact the copyright holder beforehand. The kind of reply (or non-reply) you receive will tell you something about what a future relationship might look like.

[Bearbeitet am 2018-03-15 11:37 GMT]


 
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ptrans@pm.me
Local time: 00:29
Member (2003)
German to English
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks Mar 16

William Tierney wrote:

Don't bother with controlled mainstream publishing. There are plenty of organizations that can back or assist your efforts. Try Breitbart or Infowars as a start. If they don't involve themselves in hardcopy publishing, they may be able to point you in the right direction. As each day passes, the dinosaur media become more irrelevant, while the independent media show their credibility. There are a lot of people that would be interested in a German native's raw assessment of the situation in Germany. May Germany wake up and repel the invasion!


Didnt expect to see such an honest viewpoint here. Much appreciated.
I can see there is a whole market for alternative viewpoints in these channels where people still actually read books.
Very encouraging


 
Post removed: This post was hidden by a moderator or staff member for the following reason: Reply to a hidden post.

ptrans@pm.me
Local time: 00:29
Member (2003)
German to English
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks for your input Mar 16

Joakim Braun wrote:

If the intention is publication, there's no point at all in starting a translation, crowd-funded or not, without permission of the copyright holder. You're very likely to be wasting your time. For one thing, there might already be a translation in the works! If you don't get a reply, that's a good indication you'd find no market when offering a completed translation either. (And publishing decisions, of physical books at least, aren't based on the availability of translations.)

yes good point.
>>
If you don't get a reply, that's a good indication you'd find no market when offering a completed translation either.

Yes, usually its a question of royalties. What about official and unofficial translations?
Does anyone have any legal expertise in this area?

"Finis Germania" is such a short work that you can handle it in your spare time. Perhaps the German publisher might be interested in a print-on-demand/e-book solution with profit sharing and no up-front cost for the translation. But you should always contact the copyright holder beforehand. The kind of reply (or non-reply) you receive will tell you something about what a future relationship might look like.

[Bearbeitet am 2018-03-15 11:37 GMT]


Yes I will look into it. Thanks.


 

Daniel Frisano
Switzerland
Local time: 00:29
Member (2008)
English to Italian
+ ...
Why don't you just translate the stuff? Mar 16

What do you need the funds for? Lots of pencils and tons of paper?

 

Michael Wetzel  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 00:29
German to English
Go for mainstream publishers Mar 16

I think you really ought to start with mainstream publishers like Penguin (Allen Lane): I only read the summary on Wikipedia about the book and while it couldn't find a mainstream publisher in Germany, this kind of stuff is obviously very correctly political in the English-speaking world at the moment. It even got a very positive write-up in the New York Times. Go to an airport bookstore and look at what gets published by mainstream publishers.

On the other hand, I can't imagine that the rights for "finis-Germania" haven't already been gobbled up: It's hardly an obscure book and the German edition and the controvesy aroundd it got significant English-language press. Maybe you should start a little more modestly.

Or maybe you could write some unofficial sequels "Germania - adieu", "Germania - au revoir?", "Vere enim Germaniae", kind of like Star Wars ... You wouldn't need to buy any rights for that.

You cannot legally (officially or unofficially) publish a translation of a book that is in copyright if you have not been granted the right to do so by the person or entity who owns those rights (presumably the German publisher). If you want to publish a translation illegally, then I would definitely go for something more obscure and hope no one notices.

On the other hand, you can publish a translation of anything that is out of copyright. The copyright for all books written by authors who died in 1945 just ran out a couple years ago in most countries (70 years from death of author). Maybe you could dig up some historical gems for the benefit of humanity without all the legal hassle?


 

ptrans@pm.me
Local time: 00:29
Member (2003)
German to English
TOPIC STARTER
thanks Mar 16

Michael Wetzel wrote:

I think you really ought to start with mainstream publishers like Penguin (Allen Lane): I only read the summary on Wikipedia about the book and while it couldn't find a mainstream publisher in Germany, this kind of stuff is obviously very correctly political in the English-speaking world at the moment. It even got a very positive write-up in the New York Times. Go to an airport bookstore and look at what gets published by mainstream publishers.

On the other hand, I can't imagine that the rights for "finis-Germania" haven't already been gobbled up: It's hardly an obscure book and the German edition and the controvesy aroundd it got significant English-language press. Maybe you should start a little more modestly.

>>
I chose that book because it was well-known and I hadnt see it in English not because I was necessarily thinking about translating it. I want to do the Solzhenitsyn book first if I get some crowd-fundingicon_smile.gif

Or maybe you could write some unofficial sequels "Germania - adieu", "Germania - au revoir?", "Vere enim Germaniae", kind of like Star Wars ... You wouldn't need to buy any rights for that.

You cannot legally (officially or unofficially) publish a translation of a book that is in copyright if you have not been granted the right to do so by the person or entity who owns those rights (presumably the German publisher). If you want to publish a translation illegally, then I would definitely go for something more obscure and hope no one notices.

Stuff like this should be as easy to look up as a DNS lookup.

On the other hand, you can publish a translation of anything that is out of copyright. The copyright for all books written by authors who died in 1945 just ran out a couple years ago in most countries (70 years from death of author). Maybe you could dig up some historical gems for the benefit of humanity without all the legal hassle?


good tip. This is useful for getting prepared...
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2019_in_public_domain


 

Michael Wetzel  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 00:29
German to English
I almost tried out the self-publishing thing ... Mar 16

... I would assume that at least a couple thousand new copies of Kandinsky's "Über das Geistige in der Kunst" are sold per year in the English-speaking world. It's a short book, the illustrations are by the author himself (= also out of copyright) and my understanding is that Amazon gives authors (translators in this case) a ridiculously high proportion of the sales price as a royalty (something like 60 or 70%).
I found two available translations ranging from bad to very bad, and I was starting to get very excited. However, there is also a third translation, which is somewhere between good and very good, so I had to scrap that idea.

I've got an eye on something else at the moment, though ... The key at the outset is that the book is fairly short (= earnings per word) and that there is a real market for it ... I've never gotten to the next step, so I don't know exactly where it goes from there in terms of marketing ...

I never thought about crowdfunding, but even with a professional editor, the risk on a shortish book is very limited.


 

Alejandro Cavalitto
Local time: 19:29
SITE STAFF
Let's keep this discussion within site rules Mar 19

Hello,

I just wanted to remind everyone to keep this discussion within the scope of ProZ.com: https://www.proz.com/siterules/forum/1#1

Postings related to translation projects are allowed. Postings which are political, religious, or otherwise controversial in nature, will be removed without regard to the views expressed.

Thank you for your cooperation.

Best regards,
Alejandro


 


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Getting crowdfunding for translating important, contemporary books

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