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How to Translate Your Book

Book Translation is an art strengthened by solid transfer principles learned through extensive training.

If you are a self-published author translating your book is a great way to increase your sales and reach new audiences across the globe. But if you are not fluent in other languages, you might face challenges while translating and editing your book.

You have finally self-published your book. Maybe it is a huge milestone you have been dreaming about for years. Even though you might be tired of the effort you took to convert your original ideas into a book form, you are satisfied when you see the impact of your words on people.

Yet you realize that only people who speak English can read your book. So, now what? Well, you start with the second most common language, perhaps Spanish. After Spanish, you could do French, German, then maybe even some languages of other sub-continents.

Here are some tips on how to translate a book:

Establish an end-goal:

Think of your desire to translate your book into another language. Are you aiming to create a market for your products or services among people from other countries? Do you want to connect emotionally with audiences who speak a different language? If you want to engage people from other countries on an emotional level, what is your overall goal for accomplishing this?

Translating a book involves money, time, and a lot of effort! Understand what you want to achieve from translation, and work diligently to attain it.  

Pick a target market: 

If your book gets published in English, decide which countries to target according to your genre. Check for prominent genres in other countries, and deep dive into the systems of bureaucracy and other issues you might face publishing your book in those countries.

Important questions that need answers for market research:

  • Who is my competition?
  • What other titles are similar to mine?
  • How does my book stand out in the market?

Consider these questions for all the markets you are thinking of entering. It can help you decide how to increase the sale of your book in a different country. If you are unfamiliar with your target market’s language, get help from a professional translator or translation service agency to help you with market research.

Once you’ve determined your target market, pick the method to translate your book into their language.

Use machine translation for common words and phrases:

If you have a tight budget, try using a professional automated translation service like Microsoft Translate. While machine translation can only accomplish it partially, you need a     professional to give it a wholesome picture. Have the final document edited by a professional or a person who is a native speaker if you want consistency and content accuracy.

This method holds good only when your book falls into the nonfiction category. Machine translation cannot be fool proof in the case of fiction since it does not contain common phrases always and sometimes uses innovative language and conceptions to express ideas using figures of speech. But if you don’t have enough time to devote to translation, hire professionals to translate your complete book.

Hire a professional translation service:

A professional translator can capture the essence, including the tone, message, and structure. Hiring a translator who understands your target market’s culture and is a native speaker of their language is the best way to guarantee your book translation efficiently.

Professional translation services offer two options primarily: a freelance translator or a translation agency. Research which option fits your need better based on professional expertise, cost factors, and communication styles.

Once you’ve made your decision, continue to have open communication and discuss issues that you’re happy with and work on giving constructive feedback on areas for improvement. Get back to them promptly if they have any questions.

Edit and proofread:

You’ll need an editor for the translated version of your book. An editor corrects spelling, grammar, and mechanical errors.

Most translation services include proofreading and editing at the price of their services. If you decide to go with a freelance translator, you’ll need to hire an editor or a second translator to double-check the first translator’s work.

Editing and proofreading entail additional expenses for the book production process, but it guarantees that your book has been translated to quality standards and flows well in the target language.

Publish, peddle, and proctor:

Once your book completes editing, it is time to publish and market it to other countries. If you have difficulties understanding the websites, ask your translator if they can assist you.

Monitor the performance of your book sale in your target market. Match your sale numbers to your target, and see if you will make the money you spent on translation and editing. If you believe you can create a fan base in your international market, you can create a detailed plan to give a concrete shape to it.

It’s always best to be well-informed before plunging into a new endeavor. Follow the above steps to have a smooth journey through your book translation.