How to Translate Your Book Into Other Languages- Go Global!

Bonjour! In the age of global citizenship we are living through, particularly with digital connection taking the world by storm, translating your work into multiple languages has never been easier- or more necessary. By taking the steps to translate your book, whether suited for children, adults, or anyone in between, readers around the globe now have access to it. Reaching countries in South America to Europe and beyond, this engages new audiences with novel ideas and stories, as well as opening up your audience and income potential. It’s time to go global! 

One of the easiest markets to do this in is children’s books and children’s board books, where colorful and engaging illustrations, flawless word translation, and an enticing cover can captivate audiences everywhere. From the e-book, a stress free opportunity at its finest, to board books that sit elegantly in any household, reaching international markets should be the next step after publication. We are going to break down the best avenues for translating your book into other languages, fluency aside- Vamos!

1.Discover the Best Language Markets 

First, you’ll have to choose the first language you want to translate your book into. For many native English speakers, Spanish seems like the easiest and most accessible language. However, don’t forget to take market conditions and audiences into account. Surprisingly, both India and Italy have some of the fastest growing book markets in the world, especially via online marketplaces such as Amazon. In India, a large and booming population means endless potential buyers, and in Italy, relatively low competition enables you to build a following. Grande! 

You can do this in two ways: 

  1. Study how many international sales you’ve had with the english version of your book. Odds are, those willing to buy your book internationally and not in their native tongue, would be doubly eager to buy it in their language of choice. You can view which countries at least have the interest swirling. 
  2. Check out Book Linker, a free international universal link. Paste your book’s Amazon URL into it, and receive a link that now works on all Amazon markets for free. This way, you can track which people from which countries are clicking on your book on Amazon.
roadmap for how to go global as an author

2.Translation Avenues 

Typically, authors have two choices for translating their book: freelancers or using a specific service or company to do it for you. Let’s break down the pros and cons of each, and how to access each respective service. 

Ulatus

A ready-made service for the entire journey of translation to book production, Ulatiis can give you the print ready version of your book in any language you choose. They are very flexible, working with all genres, from children’s books to academia text.

Mincor Book Translation

Mincor prides itself on its team of skilled translators who not only possess native language proficiency but also have a deep understanding of the specific conventions and nuances of different markets, including those related to book translations. When it comes to pricing, Mincor offers a customized quote for each project. However, here are some options from their pricing structure: 

  1. Machine Translation (software only) – priced at $0.03 per word.
  2. Machine Translation with Human Editing – priced at $0.08 per word.
  3. Human Translation and Editing – priced between $0.11 and $0.15 per word.

First Edition 

First Edition, from the United Kingdom, has collaborated with esteemed organizations like the United Nations and are a member of a Chartered Institute, showcasing their credibility and expertise. They specialize in translating nonfiction books and offer a wide range of subject areas they excel in, including cookery books, wines and spirits, guidebooks, children’s books, art catalogs, architecture and urban design, travel books, gardening, crafts, eBooks, phrasebooks and dictionaries, educational material, and periodicals. First Edition offers a free quote service- check out their website for inquiries!

What sets them apart is a unique service of “Americanizing” certain books. This is for those approaching the American markets from the perspective of another language, helping the author to achieve a natural sounding, native adoption.

Auerbach 

Auerbach has translated 2 billion words across 120 languages in the last 30 years. ALthough public prices are not disclosed, free quotes are offered. It’s important to note that Auerbach’s services come at a premium price, reflecting their commitment to delivering a high-quality and accurate translation experience. They employ Master’s-level, professional, native-speaking translators who possess subject matter expertise, making them an ideal choice for nonfiction business books, biographies, and technical works. 

Translators Base

Translators Base offers a unique approach that bridges the gap between using a service and finding an individual translator. It acts as a platform that connects you with individual translators and translation agencies. By posting a project description, you can receive quotes from both individual translators and agencies, allowing you to choose the best fit for your needs. 

Translations

Today Translations, also based in the United Kingdom, does not disclose their prices upfront. With a past roster of Microsoft and London Metropolitan University, testaments speak for themselves! However, they do provide a free quote service tailored to your specific project requirements. As with other premium services, you can expect to pay a higher price for the exceptional quality they offer.

Babelcube

Babelcube does not charge any upfront costs. Instead, they take a flat 15% of royalties. Babelcube currently supports a range of languages, including Afrikaans, Dutch, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Norwegian, Portuguese, and Spanish. This platform provides authors with an opportunity to reach a global audience without the initial financial investment typically associated with translation services.

Translation Partner

Thriving and printing since 1997, they can translate into over 256 languages! Prices depend on language pair and difficulty of the project. On their website, here are the price examples we discovered: 

  • Icelandic: EUR 0.14 per English source/target word.
  • Eastern European languages: EUR 0.07 – 0.09 per English source word.
  • Exotic languages: from EUR 0.09 per English source word.
  • German, French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese: EUR 0.09 – 0.14 per English source word.
  • German, French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese into American or British English: from EUR 0.12 per source word.

The price list is simply a suggested range, as price depends on complexity and subject. Longer projects like large books may be able to garner a more reasonable price due to length.

Espresso Translations

Other than their fantastic name (coffee, anyone?), they are also outfitted with a client history ranging from Amazon to Universal. The translators they employ have over 5 years of experience in the industry. Despite not having a set price list, prices are kept affordable for clientele. You can fill out their simple online form to get a quote! 

Ultimately, ask the right questions! With a myriad of companies to choose from, experiment with, and ask quotes from, we recommend taking the necessary time and research with each one to find the perfect fit. Make sure to think about price, cost, amount of copies you wish to translate, how long it will take, who a point of contact will be during the process, etc. 

Freelance Translation

The other alternative we will explore is freelance translators. This would involve hiring an individual to do the translation. Let’s walk through the ins and outs, including how to find one, the best marketplaces to look at, and how to start the process. Here are three starting points for finding a freelancer: 

1.Reedsy

Providing a catalog of multi talented freelancers across industries, from writing and editing to translation and marketing, Reedsy is a one stop shop for your personal translator. With a selection of translators in the top 5% of their industry, standards and quality are high. Costs run from 0.8 to 0.12 cents per word for translation services that are ready to publish. 

2.Fiverr

A longstanding platform offering individual services, translation is no exception. Many people offer translation to or from a specific language, and rates vary by person. Common languages, such as Spanish and French, are well represented. Be sure to review each profile, their ratings, and the cost of services, as some can come in at a hefty sum. 

3.Upwork

A freelance marketplace, Upwork congregates eager freelancers getting in line for work opportunities. There are over 3000 translation projects listed for hiring on Upwork right now, and the numbers only grow. Once again, do your due diligence in selection, as Upwork does not pick the freelancers and anyone can sign up and apply to a job. Naturally, your job will likely get a large amount of bids. Begin the dissemination process by researching into their track record, asking if they’ve done books in the past and if so, where you can find them, and if possible even video chat prior to hiring. 

When choosing between freelancing or a company to translate your book, it is true that a freelancer may require more effort on your end, but also more room for personalization and oversight on the process. A company may be an easier way to go, but could be less personalized for the long term. 

The Final Steps

Congratulations! Via freelancer or a company, you’ve successfully translated your book into a language of your choice. But the job isn’t done! For success in publication and sales, these are the necessary steps to make it to the finish line:

1.Proof your Work 

No matter how good your translator was, human errors happen. From grammar to intended word meaning, it’s all too easy to get a concept or a joke lost in translation. Make sure you take the time to proof the work yourself, cross reference with another native speaker of that language to review, and generally edit to make sure everything remains accurate. Professional proofing may be a cost you would want to factor into the final budget as well, if you choose to utilize those services. 

2.Sell Internationally 

Now that the translation is perfect and the book completely ready to go, the most exciting step is in front of you: actually putting your book on sale in international markets. Two options abound- sell the rights to your book in a specific Amazon market, or try to market to that specific country. Selling rights to your book happens often and can be great for new authors and international book publishing companies. They sell a book that has already performed well, and selling your book becomes that much easier. 

Although the process of translating your book to another language, choosing the right translation route, and selling it in a foreign market may seem daunting, the steps are far easier than one would imagine! Being willing to stick with the process can increase your success as a versatile writer, ignite your imagination to explore the possibilities of new audiences, and freshen up communications styles. Stick to the plan, follow the steps above, and you are well on your way to being not just a national author but an international one! Take the plunge, go where few new authors dare to venture, and share your stories with the world.