When you’re self-publishing a book, it feels like there are about a million things you need to think about. You need to get the book edited, source the cover art, and make sure that you’re not violating copyright law anywhere in your work. You also need to make sure the book is formatted well across a variety of formats, from e-books to traditional printed editions. Then there are decisions around pricing and marketing and so many more matters that mark the life of a self-published author.
On top of all this, did you leave room to consider the translation of your book into another language? Languages services can feel like one more hassle on the growing pile. However, by translating and localizing your book, you open your work up to whole other markets. And don’t worry, you don’t have to go it alone. You can hire a literary translation company that specializes in translating and localizing books for audiences around the world.
You’ll need to keep several things in mind when sourcing and working with a professional translation company, so we’ll cover those points below.
Why You Need Localization Services
You may wonder why you need localization and translation services in the first place. After all, you’ve probably done much for your book on your own by now. You may be feeling pretty confident that you can handle much of the localization services element yourself.
However, even if you’re fluent in another language, you should consider having the actual translation of your book handled by a professional translator. For starters, it’s a major undertaking translating a whole book, so you can save a large amount of time by opting for a professional job.
The other key factor is that localization services can add a whole different level of professionalism to the translation process. A localization service can make sure your original message reads smoothly in the new language, ensure your book takes cultural sensitivities into account and even reformat the book itself so that it presents better in the new language.
The last thing you want is for your book to end up as just one more joke on one of the internet’s many translation fail articles. A good translation company, such as Tomedes, can prevent that from happening.
How to Find the Best Professional Translation Service for Your Book
The world is full of translation companies, so how do you know which ones are the best? Actually, there are several methods you can use when assessing language services.
The first aspect you’ll want to assess with any professional translator is how much translation experience they have and on what sort of documents they usually work. They should be able to produce good references, testimonials and examples of their work. Also, they should have experience translating long-form projects, including books.
It’s worth questioning them about how they go about the translation process. A good book translation service should follow standard rules of grammar, spelling and syntax. Professional translators should also keep to the source text as loyally as possible, while still making sure the text reads well to other cultures.
A good professional translator should also be open and easy to communicate with. They should welcome revisions, update you every step of the way and allow you to regularly review and have input into the translation work itself.
How to Work with a Professional Translator
As mentioned above, a professional translator should be easy to communicate with. That’s because so much communication goes into making a truly great translation. This isn’t a process where you submit your document with no context or direction, and it comes back perfectly translated.
For instance, let’s say you wrote a historical fantasy novel that’s supposed to be in an archaic, traditional tone. It’s now that translator’s job to convert it into another language using similar antiquated terms in the new translation. And it will be your job to communicate to the professional translator that you want that tone to stay true.
This is why a professional translator may work with you through what are called styles guides or translation memories. These are documents or programs that allow you to specify certain terms or phrases you’d like to use, how you’d like the tone of the piece to sound or anything else that needs to stay the same across the translation(s).
How to Check the Quality of your Book Translation
One reason you’re most likely looking into using a translation and localization service is because you’re not an expert on the other culture or language yourself. So how do you go about checking the work after a professional translation has been undertaken?
One common method is to hire another translator who specializes in proofreading. They can catch things the first professional translator may have missed and cross-check issues with style. That goes a long way in cleaning up the translation.
You can also source a native speaker to look over your book translation to see if it reads naturally. They could be a relative, friend or even someone you open sourced online. This method can provide a good “on the ground” eye that complements the professional language services you’ve used.
Louise Taylor is head of content for Tomedes, a translation agency specializing in languages services. She has written about translation and language for over five years, covering a wide array of topics.
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