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Written by Montserrat González

Montserrat is a professional translator who likes to read and write fictional stories. There's nothing she enjoys more than spending time with her friends and family.

September 23, 2020

All you need to know to choose the right translator for your book

 

If you wrote a book and you want to translate it, so that your story and your message reach many more people, you have to know how to choose the right translator for your book.

First of all, a good literary translator is a good reader. Why? Because translating literature isn’t only about conveying the equivalent message of the explicit parts of the text in another language, but also what is between lines, the characteristic that identifies the author, i.e. tone, ideas, feelings or literary style.

We know that translating a text literally is a threat to the spontaneity of language; however, there might be cases where a text can be translated this way without problems, for example, a technical manual of an electronic device. But when it comes to literature, it’s a very different story.

As a writer you have to be aware that there will always be a loss in the translation of your original text, because not all languages share the same words and cultural connotations. Nevertheless, a good translation can enrich the language in the book and stay true to the writer’s ideas.

 

How to find a good translator?

When searching for the translator for your book, you have to think about your needs and possibilities. The economic means are very different between new writer who has just started his or her career, and a famous one with thousands (or millions) of sales, and a publishing house that handles all of these processes.

You can find translation agencies, as well as freelance translators who can work on your document and guarantee a quality job. Keep in mind that agencies have and editor and a reviewer, so before the translation gets back to you, more than one person has reviewed it to make sure it contains no errors. This will represent a more expensive service, but it will guarantee you a job well done.

By saying that, I am not dismissing the work performed by freelance translators. I know there are many professionals who work on their own and their translations are impeccable, I’m just trying to recommend you to take your time when choosing a professional and not choosing one, just because the price for their services is the lowest.

 

which characteristics your book translator should have

The most important thing when choosing a translator for a literary work is to make sure they understand the purpose its and that they know the target audience.

The translator should be familiar with your book and its genre. Since there are many ways to translate the same phrase, a professional who is really familiar with your work will know which one to use according to the tone, the style, the character, etc.

A good literary translator will knows the topic of your book because he or she will be a good reader, as I said before.

 

Into which languages should it be translated?

Nowadays, we consider the English language as a universal language, but it all depends on the audience you want to reach or what market niche might be more interested in the subject of your book. Choosing English as a target language, just for the sake of being the most popular language, will not be useful. The idea is not to try to cover a wider market without having studied it before.

Let’s assume that your work has something to do with Russian culture, and according to your own research, you’ve determined that it is more likely to be read in Russia than in any other country. If you translate it into English (just to embrace a wider market), you will be losing millions of buyers who will read your book for sure, as most people prefer to read books in their own language.

 

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