Self-Publishing and Translation

on July 26, 2016 by admin in Blog
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With the increasing popularity of e-books, self-publishing has become a viable option for many authors. Once upon a time, self-publishing was prohibitively expensive, as an author would have to pay for a print run of his or her book with a so-called vanity press.

These days, however, writers can easily create and sell their own books. The simplest format, favored by many entrepreneurs, is a PDF file, often emailed to a user after purchase, and readable on all types of devices, including e-readers, tablets, and desktop computers. Other authors choose to publish e-books that can be downloaded onto e-readers such as the Amazon Kindle or the Barnes and Noble Nook.

The statistics are remarkable: per the February 2016 Author Earnings report, the “Big 5” publishers own less than 15% of the e-books sold on Amazon; independent authors were responsible for over 45% of sales.

Influential periodicals such as Kirkus Reviews and Library Journal, which are used by booksellers and librarians to select the titles they will order, now have sections devoted to reviewing self-published, or “indie” titles.

Self-published authors whose books are written in languages other than English will want to ride the wave as well – but how should they go about getting their book translated into English?

One of the challenges of translating a self-published book into English is finding a translator who will be capable of producing a top-quality translation. If you aren’t a native speaker of English, how will you be able to ensure that the translator you hire will do your book justice?

In addition, consumers of self-published books are active and engaged on social media. An error-ridden translation will catch their attention, and not in a good way! Reviews on sites like Amazon and Goodreads are very influential, and you want to ensure that reviewers focus on the content of your book, not on flagging typos, grammatical errors, or poor translation quality.

Moreover, Amazon has recently introduced new guidelines regarding e-book quality. If a customer reports a book as having errors, Amazon will review it, and classify the errors as Critical, Destructive, or Distracting.


Per Amazon:

Some errors may cause a book to be considered incomplete or unusable. We refer to these as Critical Issues. Because Critical Issues significantly impact the reading experience, any Critical Issue will result in the book being removed from sale until  corrections are made.

Other errors can prevent the reader from understanding the author’s intended meaning. We refer to these as Destructive Issues. The most common type of errors are Distracting Issues, which briefly remove the reader from the author’s world.

The combined impact on the reading experience of a book with excessive Distracting or Destructive Issues can lead to the book being removed from sale until the corrections are made. A moderate amount of Distracting or Destructive Issues can result in the book remaining available for sale, but with a temporary quality warning displayed on the detail page of the book on until corrections are made.

Amazon also notes specifically that “content that is poorly translated” can cause a book to be removed from the Kindle Store.


TranslationPal’s two-step process ensures that your work will be well-translated. Our professional translators are fluent English speakers who have spent years studying their source languages. Many of them have advanced degrees in translation, and have published book-length translations before. In addition, TranslationPal is based in Iowa City, home of the Iowa Translation Workshop (as well as the famous Writers’ Workshop), where many of our translators have studied.

Once our translators have translated your book into English, it will be reviewed by one of our expert proofreaders to ensure that there are no errors. You’ll be able to feel confident that your e-book will not be removed from any platform for quality concerns. Moreover, you’ll also be able to be certain that your English-language readers are getting the best possible experience — the same way your original-language readers have.



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