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International Book Rights Part 2: The Pros and Cons of Getting Your Book Translated

  • admin@stratton1
  • Jun 6, 2017
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  • Blog

In the last article, we defined and expounded what international book rights are, the kinds of rights, and the process involved in getting your book translated or published internationally. With that in mind, we have to go forward and ask another important question: will a wider audience equal sales?

Let us look at the pros and cons of having your book translated and published internationally.

The Cons

Sales or a wider audience
Do you really need to get more sales fast? If you’re asking that question, it only means that either your book isn’t really all that great, or that your marketing isn’t really working. Getting your book translated doesn’t automatically mean sales will rise because the translation might not be particularly well received in a different language. This is a good question to ask when considering getting your book translated.

Finding your audience and what language to translate to
Translating your work into English isn’t a surefire way to get more sales. It may be very widely spoken, but there is a bigger audience in China and in Spain. But according to the 2014 UNESCO Index Translatonium, the most translated books are in German and French. So the question is not just what language, but in which language will your book translate to the best and garner more sales?

The Pros

Better opportunities for non-English writers
Many published works are originally written in English, but many great books are translated to English from another language. This often propels the author to the limelight like Haruki Murakami and Fredrik Backman, whose books are popular in their native language but gained international acclaim when translated into other languages. Translated fiction is now becoming more popular than ever.

The possibility of a wider audience
Just like films, some books do better overseas than in the author’s home turf. With that said, translating your book would help it reach a wider, more appreciative audience elsewhere. This gives many authors hope, and makes the risk worth taking.

Points to consider

Finding a good translator is akin to finding true love. It is possible, but it takes a bit of searching. Hiring a good translator is essential because it makes or breaks the translated work. Having someone make a mediocre translation would be a shame, especially if the book is good. Aside from that, you have to find a copyeditor and proofreader for your translated work in order to make sure that your book is in its best form.

Traditional publishing houses as a fallback
Selling your rights to an international traditional publisher will get you lower royalties. However, you will not have to worry about the marketing aspect and finding a translator, copy editor, and proofreader because all of those aspects will be the publisher’s job. The difference is, unlike self-publishing, you will have less control over your work.

Getting your book translated is exciting as it is challenging. There are so many things to consider, but if you are willing to take the risk, you’ll either succeed or at least gain more knowledge when you try again. If you have any questions about publishing, feel free to contact us or leave your comments below.

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