Book translation
Thread poster: Alisa Warshay

Alisa Warshay
United States
Local time: 00:13
Spanish to English
+ ...
Jul 16, 2018

I have been asked to translate a book. It is a book about the state where I live--so it has chapters on the counties, the government, different state organizations.
I have never translated something so long before.
I'd like to take part, but I need guidance.

First of all, while I do translate English>Spanish, my native language and strongest pair is Spanish>English. This is my first consideration.
This would be directly with the client, so do I pair up with one
... See more
I have been asked to translate a book. It is a book about the state where I live--so it has chapters on the counties, the government, different state organizations.
I have never translated something so long before.
I'd like to take part, but I need guidance.

First of all, while I do translate English>Spanish, my native language and strongest pair is Spanish>English. This is my first consideration.
This would be directly with the client, so do I pair up with one or more other translators (native speakers) both for translating and editing and divide and conquer?
Is it difficult/a bad idea to translate with others?

I presume we should use a translation tool for consistency on terminology whether I work alone or with others.

Also I have no idea how to charge for this. Per word as usual? Do I ask for royalties on the book sales?

Please help!
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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 05:13
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Lots of questions :) Jul 17, 2018

Alisa Warshay wrote:
First of all, while I do translate English>Spanish, my native language and strongest pair is Spanish>English. This is my first consideration.

I can only go by what's in your CV, but from that it does appear that you're very much an English-native speaker, with Spanish learnt as a foreign language. The implication of that is that you wouldn't write as well in Spanish as a native-speaking translator would (nor as well as you write in English), but only you know how well you write Spanish. I would definitely advise you to get your work revised by a native Spanish speaker, if only because you might otherwise be vulnerable to criticisms of quality.

This would be directly with the client, so do I pair up with one or more other translators (native speakers) both for translating and editing and divide and conquer?
Is it difficult/a bad idea to translate with others?

I'm sure teams of translators can do a good job with a good PM/editor to pull it all together. But I doubt that it's ever the best way. Splitting a translation is most often required due to time constraints. But you definitely need two people, if not three: translation; bilingual review/revision; monolingual proofreading/QA. Maybe the second and third steps are more suited to you?

[quote]I presume we should use a translation tool for consistency on terminology whether I work alone or with others. [quote]
They certainly have their uses, and I'd use one, personally. But I don't think there's any "should" about it. I also use PerfectIt to resolve any inconsistencies in a monolingual English text (but that wouldn't work with Spanish).

Also I have no idea how to charge for this. Per word as usual? Do I ask for royalties on the book sales?

For the only book I've translated, an e-book, I used a normal word count. For the five English books I've edited/proofread, I've quoted per hour of my time, giving a maximum spend (a good 20-30% more than expected) and a likely spend. Within that range I charge honestly for my time - rounded up to the quarter hour for small jobs and to the hour for a book-length project. I didn't bother with royalties. I'd rather get paid for my work and then benefit from my name being associated with a successful publication. Anyway, how do you collect every cent that's due? I imagine you could waste a lot of time and effort on that.

But these are just some first thoughts. I'm not that experienced in this area .


 

Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 06:13
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
Your concerns Jul 17, 2018

Hi Alisa,

if your Spanish is as strong as your native English, and if you have experience in translating into both languages, then you should be fine for as long as you have a native Spanish proofreader.

Using a CAT tool is a good idea to maintain consistency throughout the book. Whether to share this project with other translators is a matter of trust, in a way. If you - preferably personally - know someone who has experience in book translation(s), then go for it.
... See more
Hi Alisa,

if your Spanish is as strong as your native English, and if you have experience in translating into both languages, then you should be fine for as long as you have a native Spanish proofreader.

Using a CAT tool is a good idea to maintain consistency throughout the book. Whether to share this project with other translators is a matter of trust, in a way. If you - preferably personally - know someone who has experience in book translation(s), then go for it.

That a customer pays you per word is rather unlikely, though it does happen, and it also depends on who the customer is. Usually you can agree on a flat rate for the entire book with an advance, a payment about in the middle of the translation, and the rest when you deliver the finished product. Make sure this is stipulated in the contract along with your name as translator being included, possibly any royalties and a free copy of the book.

Other things you need to take into consideration are, how long is the book? Are the delivery deadlines comfortable for you? Can you work on it without neglecting your regular clients?

Much success!

Thayenga
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Alisa Warshay
United States
Local time: 00:13
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Editing as a non-native speaker? Jul 17, 2018

Hi Sheila,
Indeed, as I stated I am a native English speaker. I learned Spanish, lived abroad, taught Spanish and I do translate English to Spanish very well. Of course, as you state, as a non-native speaker I undoubtedly miss certain nuances or details of the language that simply come as part of being a native speaker. Your post helped as far as knowing what to charge--I guess by word is ok. I hope to get some more responses that provide other options too. Someone suggested checking
... See more
Hi Sheila,
Indeed, as I stated I am a native English speaker. I learned Spanish, lived abroad, taught Spanish and I do translate English to Spanish very well. Of course, as you state, as a non-native speaker I undoubtedly miss certain nuances or details of the language that simply come as part of being a native speaker. Your post helped as far as knowing what to charge--I guess by word is ok. I hope to get some more responses that provide other options too. Someone suggested checking the ATA Literary group (though what I'd be translating isn't literature, it still is a book) to see if they discuss cost. Absolutely agreed--3 step process--translation, editing and then proofing. As a non-native speaker, I don't think that editing would be a good fit for me. I think that I would do better at translating and that, for the reasons stated above, a native speaker should do the editing. Thanks for pointing out that the proofing should be monolingual--in other words--not looking at the source text.
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Juan (JP) Campaya  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 02:13
Member (2018)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Glad to help, if you like to. Jul 17, 2018

Hi Alisa,

I'd glad to help you translating bunches or just proofreading what you've translated. I'm a native Spanish translator and have experience translating for U.S. Spanish speakers before (I've been working for Sacred Heart Community service).

If you need help, just let me know.

Best.


 


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The leading translation software used by over 250,000 translators.

SDL Trados Studio 2019 has evolved to bring translators a brand new experience. Designed with user experience at its core, Studio 2019 transforms how new users get up and running, helps experienced users make the most of the powerful features.

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