Should Authors Translate Their Books?

Today I’m excited to bring you a special guest post from Rilind Elezaj,  a content translation expert!

Any author who’s had a book published realizes the commercial value of his or her work. Technology and advances in communication make it possible for more people to access literary works. However, if your book is only in one language, it limits the number of readers you’ll have. As you know, there are handheld devices, such as tablets, smartphones and e-readers that allow book lovers to read their favorite novels and short stories while on the road, such as Kindle, Nook, Kobo and Bookeen.

If you love languages and traveling to foreign places, you’ll also realize that there are great opportunities for authors to gain wider acceptance when their books are available in other languages. Kindle, for example, supports 34 languages, so if your book is translated into some of the popular languages, then you gain a wider audience. Some of the popular languages you can consider are Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese, German, Chinese and Japanese.

However, just because many authors are translating their books into other languages, it does not mean that you should do the same. You should also think about the adaptability of your content to other cultures, as well as the cost involved in translating your book and the marketing materials needed to support its promotion. Translation is just one part of the process when you decide to have your book available in other languages.

Advantages for the author

On the other hand, if your circumstances and your book are fitted to have a translation, you’re sure to gain some benefits. One advantage of having your book translated is reaching an entirely new market. You widen your readership base and you’ll have the opportunity to develop new fans. You have the potential to reach more people with the message you wish to convey. It is also an opportunity to add more to your income.

When you have your book translated initially into the most popular and suitable language to your story, you get less competition. If your book is written in English, just think of the amount of English-language books it will have to compete with. A translated book provides another market for you to explore.

At the same time, when you have a book translated, you have several elements that you can recycle, like the cover, the fonts and styles. You can also use the same person or agency who provided the translation services for your first book for your succeeding translations in other languages.

Connected audiences

In different fields of business today, competition is fierce. Globalization is getting more widespread. The effect of social media is phenomenal, linking peoples and cultures all over the world. Access to Internet is very common and the use of electronic devices for entertainment, business and communication is integral to a person’s daily life.

Tablets, e-readers and smartphones allow people not only to connect to friends and business colleagues, but also use them as tools to indulge in their pursuit of leisure, entertainment and learning. The availability of written content in many formats to suit the features of the handheld devices and the cost of downloading content, which is cheaper than printed copies, makes access to books, newspapers and magazines easier and more appealing to readers.

People who love to read are now able to download, whether free or through subscriptions, books, newspapers and magazines, allowing them to keep up to date with the news and read their favorite books and magazines wherever they may be. Portability is the operative word.

Why translate your book?

Let us look at some of the reasons why you should translate your books. The reasons will depend on your personal circumstances, your plans for the future as a book author, the markets you want to develop and explore, economics and competition and your desire to have a wider audience.

Let us say that your book is in English and it’s available for download. Even if your book enjoyed a number of downloads around the world, it is still only in English, which means your audience is still limited. If it’s translated into another language, for example, Spanish or German, then you are presented with the potential of a bigger audience. It can actually be quite big, since your audience will be Spanish-speakers or German-speakers located in different countries.

If there is a market that interests you, then you have a bigger chance of conquering it when your book is in their native language. If your book is in the genre that is popular among readers, the more chances you will have if it is available in their language.

The translated book can also affect the sales of the original. Many authors have experienced an increase in sales of their book in the original text, coinciding with the sales of the book in the translated language/s.

It also gives you a sense of accomplishment. You allow your new readers to experience your culture. In the same token, a translation of your book lets you discover a new world, a new culture. You’ll learn to appreciate books in the other languages as well.

Things to keep in mind

You still have to be on top of things if you’re going to have your book translated. See to it that the document translator is a native speaker to catch all the nuances of the target language. Ask the translation services provider for references. Ensure that they provide high quality translation and they have a strict process for editing and proofreading. You should also see to it that the format and style, even the font and the cover design conform to the sensibilities of the target culture.

It is not compulsory for authors to have their books translated. However, there are several benefits for the author and the book that are worth considering. Review all your options. See to it that your book has good content for your target audience. Document translation is expensive, so weigh the pros and cons carefully.

Work with a professional translation services provider, one that has a streamlined quality control process that ensures top quality output. Remember to have all materials, including your bio, promotional and marketing materials, including interviews you’ve had.


About the writer

Rilind Elezaj is a Content Writer and Marketing Specialist at translation services provider, Day Translations. With a Bachelor in Computer Sciences and Engineering, Rilind has a passion for everything tech! When he’s not at work, you can find him out in the wilderness, appreciating the wonder of nature.

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