Writing a book on translation
Thread poster: Paul Dixon

Paul Dixon  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 21:16
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Jul 27

Due to the dire state of the translation market, especially in Brazil, I am thinking of diversifying and one of the options I have considered is writing a few books on translation, something which several of my friends in the profession have already done. I have a few areas in mind. Hopefully this will increase my income, but the problem is that the publishers charge hefty fees that I can't afford. There are some free publishers but one said I would have to give 100% free distribution rights of the book to them afterwards - so I would earn nothing for my work.
Apart from the income factor, I am getting chronologically advantaged and would like to put pen to paper so forthcoming generations of translators could use my book(s) as a source of information.
My book(s) would be published initially in Brazil but I could translate them into English for simultaneous launch - but this would have to be a different publisher as few Brazilian publishers operate worldwide.
How efficient would publishing a book be as a marketing tool? And how long does it typically take from finishing the book to getting it published?


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 01:16
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Is it likely to make money, or cost money? Jul 27

Paul Dixon wrote:
I am thinking of diversifying and one of the options I have considered is writing a few books on translation, something which several of my friends in the profession have already done.


Hopefully this will increase my income, but the problem is that the publishers charge hefty fees that I can't afford. There are some free publishers but one said I would have to give 100% free distribution rights of the book to them afterwards - so I would earn nothing for my work.

That doesn't sound too hopeful if your main aim is to earn more money during all those hours of producing a book than you'd earn by translating texts for paying clients. But as you say your friends have done it, they're obviously the ones to ask. Did they make any money? Has it launched their businesses to new heights? Do they have hopes of royalties from selling more books in the future or becoming established authors?

My gut feeling is that you can do it for posterity and hope to break even at best, or you can decide to do something more financially interesting. That may or may not include freelance translating.

But then I've never written a book icon_smile.gif.


 

Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 01:16
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
@Paul Jul 27

You should get in touch with Ana Honrado (https://www.proz.com/translator/1112123) as she published in 2013 a book called “Batalhas de um tradutor iniciante” (https://translationjournal.net/Featured-Article/ana-honrado-on-batalhas-de-um-tradutor-iniciante.html). Her experience might be useful…

 

DZiW
Ukraine
English to Russian
+ ...
A-like Rivals Hype Jul 27

Apparently, it would also include (1) translation skills [in general and English-Portuguese in particular], (2) translation tools, (3) biz, (4) interpersonal skills, followed by (5) common errs, (6) useful links, and so on, yes?

While there're a lot of similar "dream bigger, get higher!" books and courses, I find very few with real hints, examples, and practical application. Perhaps, it's due to the fact, whatever the language pairs and specializations, translators are still not peers, but rather direct competitors, rivals.

However, I'm really grateful for my equirythmic translation background and especially for a uni workbook where they step-by-step compared and brushed up a bilingual text, relying on the structure, keywords, word-phrase-sentence-paragraph stress/idea, different language tempo (word-sentence length), alliterations and other stylistic means and devices, and the rest--to make a perfect translation. Also they compared several professional translations of the same passage, clearly demonstrating the author's style, the audience, and the goals.


missdutch
 

Trevino Translations
France
Local time: 02:16
French to English
+ ...
You might consider self-publishing... Jul 27

It's possible to publish your own work online. It would cost you a minimal amount of money and there is always the possibility of publishing later in a more traditional manner if you find your work sells well.

Good luck with your manuscript!


Hedwig Lugaro
Ester Vidal
 

Michael Beijer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:16
Member (2009)
Dutch to English
+ ...
how about a blog instead? Jul 27

Paul Dixon wrote:

Due to the dire state of the translation market, especially in Brazil, I am thinking of diversifying and one of the options I have considered is writing a few books on translation, something which several of my friends in the profession have already done. I have a few areas in mind. Hopefully this will increase my income, but the problem is that the publishers charge hefty fees that I can't afford. There are some free publishers but one said I would have to give 100% free distribution rights of the book to them afterwards - so I would earn nothing for my work.
Apart from the income factor, I am getting chronologically advantaged and would like to put pen to paper so forthcoming generations of translators could use my book(s) as a source of information.
My book(s) would be published initially in Brazil but I could translate them into English for simultaneous launch - but this would have to be a different publisher as few Brazilian publishers operate worldwide.
How efficient would publishing a book be as a marketing tool? And how long does it typically take from finishing the book to getting it published?


Hi Paul, just a thought, but if you're in the mood to write, how about writing a blog instead of a book. I can see quite a few reasons why a blog would probably be more useful to you as a translator and to your readers than a book.

A couple of colleagues have written book over the years, but I have never found them particularly interesting or memorable. However, I always look forward to the latest post/rant of the ‘Mad Patent Translator’ (Patenttranslator's Blog - Diary of a Mad Patent Translator @ https://patenttranslator.wordpress.com ). As far as I can tell, this blog has also served its author very well over the years in terms of generating clients/income/interest.

Michael

[Edited at 2018-07-27 20:17 GMT]


Anthony Teixeira
Teresa Borges
Tom in London
Hedwig Lugaro
Enza Esposito Degli Agli
 

José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 21:16
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Self-publishing / e-books Jul 27

Trevino Translations wrote:

It's possible to publish your own work online. It would cost you a minimal amount of money and there is always the possibility of publishing later in a more traditional manner if you find your work sells well.


If you are good with formatting, you can get yours published as an e-book with little inve$ment.
One option is https://www.createspace.com/ - an Amazon company.
This will get your e-book on sale at Amazon immediately.

They also have POD (print-on-demand) resources, so if anyone in North America or Europe (where they have their print shops) wants it in hard copy, it's possible to print just one copy, neatly bound, with a color cover, the works! Shipping costs to Brazil make it unviable.

Most self-publishing outfits in Brazil will SELL YOU (sic!), say, 300~2,000 copies of your book. They'll say they'll try to sell it, but they won't. You'll end up with most of them, I mean, except the ones you distribute for free, turning yellow with years in your garage or other storage space.


The key to a book's success is marketing. Unless you have an eager audience wanting to buy your book like hot fresh muffins, or are ready to invest a bundle in marketing, you'll be stuck with those copies.

Meanwhile, nowadays if an e-book is cheap and interesting, you can sell loads of it with some modest marketing. Here the key is to clearly define your audience, focus on it while writing, and while marketing as well. If it's intended for "anyone but illiterates", you'll be lost in a crowd, with some "taller" best-sellers popping up here and there.

[Edited at 2018-07-28 20:21 GMT]


Anthony Teixeira
 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:16
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Much better Jul 28

Michael Beijer wrote:

..... how about writing a blog instead of a book. I can see quite a few reasons why a blog would probably be more useful to you as a translator and to your readers than a book....


Much better idea.

As a published author I can tell you that publishers are sharks. Stay away from them unless you have a good literary agent. They'll waste your time and you'll never see any money.


 

Daniel Frisano
Monaco
Local time: 02:16
Member (2008)
English to Italian
+ ...
Free? Jul 28

Paul Dixon wrote:

There are some free publishers but one said I would have to give 100% free distribution rights of the book to them afterwards.


Now that's a great philosophy. I'll start giving away free translations, except that the agency will have to pay me 100% of whatever they earn from reselling them.

Anyway, it's 2018. Who needs a publisher anymore?

[Edited at 2018-07-28 20:16 GMT]


 

Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 02:16
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
Exactly Jul 29

Daniel Frisano wrote:

Anyway, it's 2018. Who needs a publisher anymore?

[Edited at 2018-07-28 20:16 GMT]


There are several ways to publish an ebook or a blog at little to no cost. Marketing it online will only cost you time and electricity.icon_wink.gif This is a much better deal than giving away your work for practically peanuts to a publisher who - at best - might generate some decent income.


 


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