11 Questions for Authors Doing Book Translations

11 Questions for Authors Doing Book Translations
Beth Worthy

Beth Worthy


Translating your books into a different language is something to consider as it will expose your brand to a new audience and increase your royalties.

However, the cost of translating a book can be expensive, and it can be challenging to find an experienced translator to translate the book.

If you want to get your book translated into a foreign language, here are 11 questions you should ask yourself:

11 Questions for Authors Doing Book Translations

1. Does it make sense to translate your book?

Think carefully about whether it would make sense to get your book translated.

Do people in the foreign market enjoy reading? When you are done with the translation and marketing, will you recoup your investment? How long would it take for your efforts to be profitable?

2. Which foreign markets should you target?

Decide on the foreign market that you want to target. Let your story guide you and choose foreign markets that will resonate with your story.

Also, check the size of the markets as this can determine whether translating the book will make sense.

3. Should you work with freelance translators?

Freelance translators are readily available on online talent marketplaces like UpWork, Fiverr, and Freelancer.

However, you will need to vet the freelancers to find someone that will be good for your project. If you don’t want to hire a freelance translator, you can choose a translation company.

4. Should you work with a translation company?

A translation company can make your work easier as companies have already vetted translators and in-house processes for ensuring quality translations.

However, working with translation agencies is generally costlier than with freelance translators.

5. How will you audit the book translation?

After your book has been translated, you need a fresh pair of eyes to go through it. Will you use the same company, or will you look for an independent foreign language proofreader?

This step will increase your costs, but it is important if you want a polished book ready for your target foreign language market.

6. What is your projected budget?

Find out how much you will spend on the translation project. In most cases, your total spend will depend on the word count of your book.

Some translation companies will offer you a ballpark quote for the work while others charge on a per-word basis.

7. Should you use machine translation tools?

Although machine translation tools, such as Google Translate and DeepL, can help keep your costs down, these tools cannot be relied upon for accurate translation.

Not only will you need to hire a proofreader to remove errors in machine translation, but relying on such translation without human intervention can be both risky and counterproductive in many business sectors where accuracy is of utmost importance.

8. How will the project be done?

Communication is critical when working with a book translation company.

During the translation process, you should play an active role to ensure the agency translates your book correctly.

Be ready to provide feedback and the direction you’d like the company to take regarding the translation services.

9. Which company should you go for?

There are many translation companies in the market.

Before choosing a company, do your research to find out whether the company has experience in translating books into the target foreign language and check their previous translation work to get an idea of what to expect.

10. What is covered in the contract?

Go through the contract to know what your obligations are as well as that of the translation company.

The contract should cover things such as deliverables, timelines, revisions, costs, etc. Have a lawyer evaluate the agreement to ensure the terms are favorable for you.

11. Do you have a marketing plan?

Translating your book into a foreign language is not a guarantee of increasing your sales.

Be sure to have a marketing plan to help you advertise your book after it has been translated.

The above are some essential questions you need to ask yourself when considering translating your book into a foreign language.

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Beth Worthy

Beth Worthy

Beth Worthy is the Cofounder & President of GMR Transcription Services, Inc., a California-based company that has been providing accurate and fast transcription services since 2004. She has enjoyed nearly ten years of success at GMR, playing a pivotal role in the company's growth. Under Beth's leadership, GMR Transcription doubled its sales within two years, earning recognition as one of the OC Business Journal's fastest-growing private companies. Outside of work, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two kids.