So you have your book finally finished and would like to try it out in another language.  Whether you are new to publishing or an old hand, getting your work translated can be a daunting prospect.  How can you be sure it will read well and reflect the same tone and subtleties of your original work?  Costs can be high and getting the wrong translator could mean the difference between a reprint or not.
We went to Grant Straker, CEO of Straker Translations for some insider knowledge.  He has provided countless nervous authors with the support and solutions they need to get their work out to foreign readers.
“The problem with book translation is that every book is unique, with it’s own voice.  Replicating that voice successfully across the language barrier means pairing up the author and translator sensitively.  The emotions, humor, and overall tone of the translation must remain true to the original while still ‘speaking’ to the new audience.  We proceed with the job only when we know the author is completely satisfied with the choice of translator.”
He goes on to explain how this seemingly impossible task is achieved.  “Firstly we assign a project manager.  We find that this gives the client direct access and control over the process but adds the experience of the project manager to smooth out a potentially difficult process.  We then get the author to provide a page or two of text that is a good example of the documents style and content, a section they feel reflects the essence of the book.  The next step is getting the example translated by five or six translators.  We chose those with book experience or those with our highest internal rating.  They provide a sample and a price which the client can then choose from.”
The added bonus of these examples is that you can compare the translations to see what aspects you like or don’t like and can take them to others you trust for advice.  You can also give the translator you select a list of reserved words or specific terms in the text that you prefer, character names, place names, even key phrases.
And how much will this cost you?  It largely depends on the volume and time available.  Larger translation companies like Straker Translations will allow payments to be made in steps which eases the financial burden and allows you to get sections of your text out to the market on promotional material, blogs or reviews.
One last word of advice from the expert – Grant Straker says “When you are ready to have your book published into a foreign language, do your research, find someone who you can trust to give you the best advice, and when the reprints start to flow, enjoy the success – there is nothing more satisfying that seeing your work in print, even if it is in a language you can’t read!”