A Guide: Making use of translation services to translate your book

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Translation Services: No matter whether you are a self-published author, a small business or a publishing firm, translating your book is a fantastic way to broaden your audience as well as increase your sales. Should you not be fluent in the target language for translation, however, this poses a challenge, in terms of translating, localising as well as editing your book for international readers. But do not panic in the face of these obstacles, as there are several ways to tackle them to reach your end-goal. In just a few minutes of reading, check out this guide to translating your book, as well as making use of translating services from translators like us at Better Language Company for a polished and successful result.

Step 1: Set up an end-goal

Take a moment to think critically about why you want to translate your book into another language. Is it because you want to connect to foreign audiences? Do you want to expand your sales market? Whatever your reasons, make sure that they are worth the time, effort and money that will be required to translate your book. If you have a worthwhile end-goal, your journey is likely to be much more structured and achievable in a step-by-step process.

Step 2: Determine a target market for your book

If your book has originally been published in English, research shows that the top foreign markets for publishers are South Korea, Turkey, Indonesia, China and India. This trend does not have to govern which language you translate your book into, however. It is up to you to decide what countries, and languages, you should target according to the genre of your book. Naturally, this leg of the journey is highly dependent on research. Ensure that you research the prominent genres in other countries before you make your decision.

In the same light, make sure that you check out the bureaucratic systems and potential censorship that you may encounter within the target countries. It may be that your book does not align with the literary ideals of the country in question – meaning that you should rather leave this area off of your list. There are some important questions that you need to ask yourself when conducting this research, such as the following:

  • Are there similar titles to mine in this country or language?
  • Who is my competition?
  • How would my book stand in the current market?

Once you have considered the above questions, the knowledge you gain in answering them will surely help you to understand how your book is likely to sell in the different country in question. If you cannot perform in-depth market research due to language barriers, make use of a translating company such as Better Language Company to help you conduct your market research.

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If your original piece of work is in English, you will know well that the English world of literature is incredibly competitive, and finding a place on a bestseller list is difficult to say the least. Being a bestseller is a cyclical opportunity – since it gives the book the visibility it needs to continue getting the sales that allow it to be a bestseller. Subjecting your book to translation and allowing it to enter the running for bestseller in another language is a great idea.

Further, the e-book platforms of today make it possible for authors to distribute their works online without having a physical manufacturing and distribution presence in another country in order to sell their books there. It is much easier to upload translated books to an electronic medium. From there, an immediate connection with foreign language readers can be enjoyed.

Step 3: Seek out professional translation services

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Not only does hiring professional translation services help you to understand the target market’s culture, but having native speakers, or highly proficient speakers work with your text is a sure way to guarantee that your book will be translated excellently. Professional translation services, such as those offered by us at Better Language Company, ensure that the tone, structure and message of the original piece is not lost in translation. Localisation of the book will also take place, so as to ensure that no cultural nuances are miscommunicated.

It is no secret that should your book be poorly translated, you will be jeopardizing your brand’s (as an author, business of publisher) reputation in an international market, as well as risking our sales numbers in the process. Should you make use of professional translation, your translated book will be of the same quality as your original. There are typically two options should you be interested in translation services: a translation agency or a freelance translator. It is up to you to research which option is better suited for you.

There are a few key questions that you should ask both freelance translators as well as translation agencies. Before enlisting the help of freelance translators, ensure that you ask them the following questions:

  1. Have you worked with books similar to mine for international markets? (If yes, go online and compare the reviews of their translated works with reviews of the original piece)
  2. Can you provide samples of other content you have translated?
  3. When, and how often will we communicate throughout the process?

Some questions to ask agencies providing translation services are:

  1. In what time-frame do you expect the translation to be completed?
  2. Is completion guaranteed?
  3. Once completed, will I have full rights to the translation?
  4. Have you worked with texts like mine?
  5. What is the estimated overall cost – and will there be possibilities of extra charges?
  6. What can I do to help make the process go smoothly?
  7. Will I be able to provide feedback on your translation services while the project is underway?

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Most translation services companies include proofreading and editing services after the piece of work has been translated. An editor will work through the text, fixing any spelling, grammar or mechanical mistakes that may have been made by the translator. Should you hire a freelancer for translation services, it is more likely that you will need to hire an editor or second translator to scour the piece of work for any errors.

Once you have made the decision regarding where to receive translation services, make sure to get back to the individual or agency concerned in a timely manner. It is always a good idea to maintain open communication throughout the process, so as to establish a good working relationship. If things go well, you can utilise their translation services in the future for other pieces of work.

Step 4: Publish, market and monitor your work

Now that your piece of work has been expertly translated, the time for publishing to other countries has come. It may feel like it has been a lengthy process, but if executed correctly, the journey will have been worth it. If you are battling to understand the websites you are attempting to sell your book on, reach out to your translation services company and find out whether they would be willing to assist you in the process. However, even though you may have finally placed your book on the market, it does not mean you can sit back and relax just yet.

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You need to monitor how your work is performing in your chosen target market. This involves comparing your actual sales numbers to your expected numbers, as well as finding out whether or not you will make back the money that you spent on translation services. If after receiving some initial feedback you believe that you can create and grow a fanbase in your international market, go ahead and start working on a plan to get it going. In addition, look forward to meeting and hearing from new readers from around the world who have praise and questions regarding your book.

Tips on marketing your newly translated book

Whether you have pursued the self-publishing route or the traditional publisher route, one fact rings true – the need for you to market your book. Most published authors, particularly those who have only published one or two smaller-scale books, will not have access to the latest and greatest marketing suites. Unlike well-known authors, you cannot simply hop onto a television show or podcast and shamelessly market your latest works.

In most cases, it is up to you to market your book like it deserves. Fortunately, there are a number of important steps you can take to promote your first (or second) novel – especially when it has recently been translated. Check out the following guide on how to market your newly translated book:

Begin by creating your own brand

One thing important for all writers is creating a brand. It becomes extremely important when you are preparing to release a new book, or a recently translated book. Potential, or new, readers may be interested in getting to know a bit more about you. If you are not a well-known author, your information will not pop up on the top of a search page like some of the better-known writers of our time. But do not be discouraged, as even the greatest had humble beginnings.

Creating a brand (and a website) is a good way to forge a relationship with your audience. This way you can control what your readers find out about you. Consider enlisting the help of a website developer as well as translation services so that foreign-language speakers can opt to read about you in the language in which they have read your newly translated book. On your website, you should feature the following:

  • Your photograph
  • Your bio
  • Several excerpts from your book
  • Links to purchase your book
  • Ways in which to contact you
  • Links to find your social media accounts
  • Downloadable media kits for journalists
  • Get into contact with reviewers

Getting as many book reviews as possible is essential in marketing your piece of work. Perhaps the most important review of them all is one from Amazon, where you will undoubtedly wish you sell an electronic copy of your newly translated book. The more reviews you get, the higher the visibility of your book. Keep a look out for bloggers and reviewers who typically look into books that share your work’s genre – as they are the ones who will be able to give the most professional and influential reviews that may entice readers to check out your book.

Choose the right cover

We know that one should not read a book by its cover, but having an exciting and aesthetically pleasing cover certainly cannot hurt your odds. Unfortunately, people are still in the habit of passing up on reading a book if its cover is not enticing enough. Try to steer clear of attempting to design your own cover – unless you are an experienced digital designer. Instead, seek out an affordable designer to help you create your vision and enthral readers.

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