What are the possible variants to translate a book?

What are the possible variants to translate a book? I've just written my first novel and need to find a reliable publisher, but most likely, I will choose the local one (in L.A.). I found some comments about Babelcube on and by Dave Kinsella. Other book translation services start from $20 per page and I can't simply afford it..


The purpose of localization during translation is to adapt your text to the needs of a particular language or culture. After a document is localized is should have the “look-and-feel” of the target language. It should appear that the information was actually written or developed within the local culture.

Consider the following translation of a document from Japanese to English. You want your document to meet all of the rules of the language, the culture, and the region. Without more information, however, this is not possible. The English language is too vast. Some machine translators have accounted for language variants, as have some CAT systems, but the majority of computers simply translate to “English”. Sometimes there is a choice of British English instead of American English, but even this is not universal. The same is true for Portuguese, where European and Brazilian Portuguese have any number of differences.

In Spanish, there are many variations in the language, and not all countries follow the rules of Castillian Spanish within their official language. Even within Spain there are distinct language groups such as Catalan and Basque (which is actually nothing like Spanish). The Spanish of the Canary Islands has many Portuguese influences, Latin American and Caribbean Spanish are both close to Castillian Spanish, but still different than each other. Argentina and Uraguay speak a variant that is almost closer to Italian than Spanish.

While there are dozens of Arabic dialects, and Chinese dialects number in the hundreds, all official documents in these two languages are written in Literary Arabic and Mandarin, respectively. This makes translation to and from these languages much easier.

When selecting a translation service provider, it is important to look beyond the direct language pairs listed on the website and ask questions about the ability of their translators to localize your documents when the source language has distinct variations. An American may speak English, but it would be almost impossible for them to translate a document into a Scottish dialect

Answered 5 years ago

If it's your first book, I would recommend publishing and marketing in your native language (I'm assuming English), before worrying too much about translations.

It's hard enough to market your book in your native language and market. Doing so in another language and market is generally more trouble than it's worth, especially if you have the privilege of being a native English speaker in the golden goose of the U.S. market.

I know self-published fiction authors who went through the trouble and expense of getting their books translated, and had a bad time.

I did talk to a non-fiction author who writes titles that are keyword rich (in other words, they're about things that people are searching about a lot on Amazon), and he said Spanish and German-translated books sell themselves.

So I personally ran a test with one of my shorter books, one that is keyword rich. I got 7,000 words translated into Spanish on Upwork, for about $250.

That was several months ago, and I'm nowhere near turning a profit. Amazon won't allow me to run ads for the book, and even though I have native Spanish speakers on my email list, few of them bought.

Now, if you can get a publisher in another territory to translate, publish, and market your book, then that's great. They know the market and can do the marketing. But, I wouldn't recommend putting much energy into that.

Long story short, I recommend concentrating on your native language and market first, and sell so many books that a foreign publisher reaches out to you and asks to buy translation rights.

I hope that helps. Feel free to book a call if you have further questions.

Answered 5 years ago

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