How to send sample work to publishers
Thread poster: Clothilde

Clothilde  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:34
Member (2007)
French to English
+ ...
Jan 17, 2014

Hi all,

I know it is a minefield and very difficult to drum up work this way...but I still wish to approach publishers to offer my services as a translator.

I need to send samples of my work in order to do this - my question is, in what format should I do this?

I already have various samples of diverse texts (a page long each), both in the source and target language.

What else (i.e.: a whole chapter,...) can I send in order to be considered?

Also - and this, I imagine, is very important - do I send the documents via email or in hard copy?

Many thanks for any light you can shed on the matter....


 

LilianNekipelov  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 06:34
Russian to English
+ ...
Hi. Jan 17, 2014

There might be slightly different rules in different countries. You have to submit hard copies of book manuscripts (the first 50 pages, only)--I am not sure about translation samples. It might be Ok to e-mail them as attachments, altough I have never done it. The manuscript has to be double spaced and have at least one inch margins on each side. This is for submitting manuscripts, though. but I think you can follow the same rules to submit translation samples. Good luck.

[Edited at 2014-01-17 13:21 GMT]


 

Clothilde  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:34
Member (2007)
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you Jan 17, 2014

Thanks for you inputicon_smile.gif

 

urbom
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:34
German to English
+ ...
some sources of info Jan 17, 2014

There are some useful guides in the FAQ section of Paper Republic, a site for literary translators of Chinese (the information is relevant for translators from any language - not just Chinese). One of the guides deals with how to put together a pitch to send to publishers:
http://paper-republic.org/resources/trans/faqs/

For UK-based people who would like to get into literary translation and discuss issues with like-minded folk, there is an email discussion group called the Emerging Translators' Network.

ELTNA (the Emerging Literary Translators' Network in America) is a similar group for people in the US.

Before you get too caught up in the glamour of working with fine literature, you should be aware that literary translation is generally poorly paid in comparison to commercial/legal/technical translation. I recommend reading the previous threads in this sub-forum, particularly this one: http://www.proz.com/forum/literature_poetry/143723-can_you_earn_a_living_as_a_literary_translator.html


 

Usch Pilz
Local time: 12:34
English to German
+ ...
Check! Jan 17, 2014

Hello Clothilde,

There are standards and rules - but in my experience most publishers have their own requirements.

Start by checking out the publishers' websites. You can often find the name of the person / editor in charge of translations into your target language that way. Quite frequently the sites contain the information you are looking for, concerning the specifications of the text samples they expect from you.
If you don't find any of that info online, try making a phone call and inquire.

You would usually send a cover letter, a concise CV and your text samples directly to a specific person. Whether by e-mail or hard copy - see above.

Good luck!


 

philgoddard
United States
Member (2009)
German to English
+ ...
Hi Clothilde Jan 17, 2014

There are no hard-and-fast rules - just a few hundred words should be enough to show them how good you are. One possibility is to put some samples on your website, and send them a link. That way, they can find out more about you and hopefully get sucked in to the site.

But congratulations on the idea of sending out samples. When I used to run my own translation agency, most people just sent me CVs, which weren't a lot of help on their own.

[Edited at 2014-01-17 19:00 GMT]


 

Clothilde  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:34
Member (2007)
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
:) Jan 20, 2014

Many thanks for these most valuable tips!

 

Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 12:34
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
Samples Jan 21, 2014

When I approach agencies or publishing houses, I normally send a cover letter to the person in charge, addressing her or him by name. Attached are 2 one-page translation samples, both source and target text, and the note that the author has granted me permission to translate the work. Additionally, I attach my business card and then send it as regular mail through the post office.

Approximately 85% of the contacted potential clients have replied by sending a letter instead of an email. In fact, one publisher mentioned that he's found it quite refreshing to receive an (old-fashion) letter instead of an email. I assume they a drowning in like emails.


 


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