Advice on publishing an improved translation
Thread poster: Dansta17
Local time: 21:55
Aug 15, 2011


I recently completed the translation of an Italian novel into English and would like advice on approaching a publisher.
There is an existing translation (published by an American company) which I do not feel is a true reflection of the author’s work.
I would now like to see if my improved version can be taken to print.
Can somebody please advise what steps to take in order to find out if this is feasible?
I have approached the estate of the original author (now deceased) and they have expressed interest in the work.
I have also compiled a list of inaccuracies and embellishments included in the original translation.

Any feedback greatly appreciated.



Direct link Reply with quote

Jenn Mercer  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 16:55
Member (2009)
French to English
Two main issues Aug 15, 2011


As I see it, you have two main issues to address:

1. Who holds the copyright

Did the rights to publish a translation revert to the author, or does the previous publisher still have them? Once you know this, you will know who to approach.

2. Money

Publishers are rather straightforward in their decision making process. Will this make money for the publisher? Is the existing translation still in print, and if so, how is it selling? It is easy to say that it would be selling better if there were a better translation available, but it might not earn enough more to be worth the money necessary to reissue the book. On the positive side, issuing a new translation could add new life to flagging sales. The success of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo has encouraged many publishers to take a second look at translations. You do not need to make all of these calculations yourself, but have some data ready to make your case for a new edition.

Good luck!

Direct link Reply with quote
Local time: 21:55
Re -translation Aug 15, 2011

Hi Jenn,
thanks for replying.
I have approached the Italian publisher about copyrights: they hold them, since their initial agreement with the American publisher - in 1991 - has expired. They said they would be happy to receive a request for a new English translation of the novel, directly from my Publisher.
I will look at how sales went for the novel back in 1991 in America: thanks for the tip. I do think that it would be a success in the UK because it has much more resonance with English culture rather than American...
Thanks again

Direct link Reply with quote

To report site rules violations or get help, contact a site moderator:

You can also contact site staff by submitting a support request »

Advice on publishing an improved translation

Advanced search

The words you want Anywhere, Anytime

WordFinder is the market's fastest and easiest way of finding the right word, term, translation or synonym in one or more dictionaries. In our assortment you can choose among more than 120 dictionaries in 15 languages from leading publishers.

More info »
BaccS – Business Accounting Software
Modern desktop project management for freelance translators

BaccS makes it easy for translators to manage their projects, schedule tasks, create invoices, and view highly customizable reports. User-friendly, integration, community-driven development – a few reasons BaccS is trusted by translators!

More info »

  • All of
  • Term search
  • Jobs
  • Forums
  • Multiple search