Advice on commissioning literary translations
Thread poster: hotelalphabet
May 27, 2012

Hi there,
As the author of a short novel (45,000 words, literary historical fiction) published as an e-book (Kindle, Smashwords etc.), I am considering having it translated into French and Italian.
(I speak both languages but wouldn't attempt the translation myself!)

Could anyone with expertise in this field give me any advice on:
how to find a good translator
and how much I should be prepared to pay?
Many thanks


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Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 22:18
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
Post the job on Proz May 28, 2012

You can post this job on the job section. Then translators will apply for it and cite their rates. You should make sure that the applicants have prior experience with literary translation. If in doubt you can let them translate half a page of your work.

There are other possible ways of commissioning translations of course.


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 20:18
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Posting may not be the best way May 28, 2012

Heinrich Pesch wrote:
You can post this job on the job section. Then translators will apply for it and cite their rates. You should make sure that the applicants have prior experience with literary translation. If in doubt you can let them translate half a page of your work.


If you post the job here, you may be swamped with quotes and probably quite a lot will be totally inappropriate. I may be wrong as I've never posted a job, but I suspect that may happen. Also, some translators who are well qualified for the job don't check out job offers posted on the board.

It may pay you to go to the freelancers' directory and search for suitable translators there. That way, you'll only get quotes from translators that appeal to you in some way - check out their profiles for their "about me" text, client feedback, CV (if available here) etc. Some of us give our rates, too, and that might give you some sort of guide. I think quotes for books depend a lot on time available and some non-specialists may quote lower if it isn't too urgent as it can make a pleasant change from other types of work. But I've never translated a book, so I could be wrong about this too.

Good luck finding someone and with the book.

Sheila


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Helen Shiner  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:18
Member (2008)
German to English
+ ...
Literary translators May 28, 2012

You can also find literary translators via the Society of Authors' website: www.societyofauthors.org/ where you can search on areas of specialisation, amongst other things. You will find other sources of information on the website as an author, too, including advice on working with a translator and, if you become a member, contractual assistance.

Best of luck.

Helen

[Edited at 2012-05-28 12:31 GMT]


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hotelalphabet
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you May 29, 2012

Thank you all for sterling advice so far. I completely forgot about the Society of Authors so thank you.

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Ros Schwartz
Local time: 20:18
French to English
literary translators May 29, 2012

Contact the literary translators associations of the languages concerned. You can find all of them at http://www.ceatl.eu/about-us/member-associations
The associations can also advise re the going rate for literary translation in their countries.
Ros Schwartz


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