Literary Translation - Sending translated material to publishers
Thread poster: Maria Amorim
Maria Amorim  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 10:25
Swedish to Portuguese
+ ...
Mar 29, 2011

I have translated a book from Swedish to Portuguese and I have successfully gotten in touch with the writer who has given me written permission to contact publisher houses in Portugal. The writer is the copyright holder.

I am in the very beginning of writing to publishers, selected mostly by their editorial line. My question is: when submitting samples of translated material, which I suppose should be a chapter or other representative amount of written text, for a first appreciation by the publisher(s), which steps should the translator undertake so that this piece of translation is not used/divulgated in an unauthorized way? Can the translator retain the copyright in the translation already at this stage? In affirmative case, what are the procedures?

Thank you very much for any helpful information.


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Galina Mitrohovitch  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:25
Portuguese to Russian
+ ...
atenção com Mar 29, 2011

Olá Maria

Caso queira saber qual é a editora portuguesa que não paga pode escrever-me.

Boa sorte com o livro
(que eu não tive)


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Maria Amorim  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 10:25
Swedish to Portuguese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Galina´s reply Mar 29, 2011

I will write to you Galina, thank you for the warning.
Maria


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The Misha
Local time: 04:25
Russian to English
+ ...
Sorry, but it looks like you did it all backwards Mar 29, 2011

Well, at least judging from my personal experience in the US. Typically, books are translated AFTER the publisher had already bought the book. They have their own translators they like working with. Selling a book - like anything else, I guess - in oversaturated Western markets is an undertaking in its own right, and most US publishers don't even accept unsolicited manuscripts that are not represented by literary agents. Those few that do quickly develop huge "slush piles" that hardly anyone ever bothers to look at. Statistically, most stuff written never sees the light of date, and there's a huge element of luck in this process that has nothing to do with the book's intrinsic value.

No, I am not trying to discourage you, but keep it in mind before putting any more time or effort into this. I hope you got paid for your work, regardless of whether the book ever gets published.

Good luck


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Olga Hatzigeorgiou  Identity Verified
Greece
Local time: 11:25
English to Greek
+ ...
Have done it in Greece Mar 29, 2011

Dear Maria,
I understand what "The Misha" is saying, and it is the common way that this thing works.
But I had done the same work in Greek. I had found a book that I though would be interesting to publish it in Greek, I translated it - for fun, for my friends, and for practice - and during the translation, I contacted the author and the publishing house that had the rights, and they told me that if I could found a publisher interested to buy the rights and publish it, it would be o.k. with them.
So I did. It was, so time consuming and so stressful ....... and now after a whole year, I am waiting to see the book in the bookstores.
It is difficult to find someone interested to buy the rights and publish it, but afterwards you feel proud. You wont make a fortune out of it, at least here in Greece, the money are ...... pennies, for the time that you have consumed to translate it.
As for the sample, I don't know if you are protected. But you can send a summary of the book, with some words about the writer, and not a whole chapter. You can send two or three pages from various chapters. Usually they need a sample of about 10000 words - about 20 pages. But NOT send the whole book, if you havent received a contract about it first !!!!!!!!!!!
I am in the process of selling (!) by second and third book, in the same way, and waiting for answers.
It is unorthodox, but it works. It needs patience and willingness from you. And in order not to get stressed while awaiting, find another project or another book to translate.
I am wishing you the best


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Maria Amorim  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 10:25
Swedish to Portuguese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
To The Misha Mar 29, 2011

Thank you for having expressed your opinion in such a direct and sincere way. I can fully understand your point of view.
There are many reasons why I have translated this book; none of them were commercial neither oriented for publishing when I first started translating it. This came as a consequence of the translation itself and the book´s intrinsic value as you said. I am completely sure that this book should be known in the Portuguese language. And this is the reason why I have gotten in contact with the author and, now, with publishers. The author, distinguished with many prizes, is well known in Sweden. He doesn´t need having his books translated into different languages to reassure his importance as a writer. I, myself, can only do things that I believe and I have enthusiasm for, even doing backwards as it seems to be the case. The question I formulated was not about getting paid for my translating work. The most important for me is to publish the book. But I wondered about the translator’s protection when sending translations samples to different publishers.

Best regards,

Maria


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Maria Amorim  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 10:25
Swedish to Portuguese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
To Olga Mar 29, 2011

My congratulations, Olga! I think my start and motivations were the same as yours. I have also started to see how demanding the process is and how much responsibility one gets after receiving the authorization from the copyright holder.
Thank you for your information about the translation samples to be sent to the publisher which it was not clear to me.

I wish you all the best too!

Maria


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Translate OT
United States
Local time: 04:25
Spanish to English
+ ...
Thank you, Olga Oct 11, 2011

I found this thread in October 2011 while researching how to do exactly what you have talked about -- finding a book that one likes and translating it for fun, for practice, but also for possible publication.

Thank you, Olga, for such a positive and encouraging reply.


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