How to Translate Your Book: Tips for Self-Publishing

Translating your book into other languages can exponentially expand your potential audience, allowing you to reach new readers and make more money. 

The good news is that learning how to translate your book won’t require fluency in another language. With the help of a skilled translator, you can get your book into the hands of a worldwide audience.

Should You Translate Your Book?

Translating your book is a great option for many authors because it opens up a whole new market. This can be an especially great option for authors who have set their books in another country or whose audience is spread around the globe.

But if you’ve written a book with an abundance of local dialects, cultural references and other region-specific nuances, it may not be worth it. After all, much of the book’s content would fall flat to a non-native reader. It’s important to distinguish when translation might be a wasted effort.

How to Translate Your Published Book 

If you’re convinced that your work has cross-cultural appeal and you’re willing to spend the time and money, here’s how to translate your book:

Step 1: Understand Your Market

It doesn’t make fiscal sense to translate your book to every popular language right off the bat. You must consider which cultures might enjoy your book and what languages make sense for your work. Consider your existing audience. If many of your readers are in a specific region, consider prioritizing a translation for them.

Step 2: Set Aside the Time

The translation process will take plenty of time. Even if you’re not doing the bulk of the translation yourself, you’ll need to work with your translator to clarify certain colloquialisms, nuances and other aspects of your book to ensure they translate well. 

The process won’t be cheap, so you’ll need to set aside money as well. 

Step 3: Research Translators 

Even if you speak another language, you’ll probably still need translation help. Enlisting the services of a native speaker entrenched in a specific region and culture will ensure your translated work includes colloquial phrases, stylistic conventions and varied perspectives. 

Say a native Spanish speaker wants to know how to translate a book into English for an American audience. The United States is a diverse nation with very distinct regions, accents and cultures. This is true in any country. While a native Spanish speaker may have developed fluency in English, it’s unlikely that they thoroughly understand America’s myriad nuances.

To find a translator, you can begin by using search terms such as “translating book between languages.” Be careful during your search because many options will be translators who primarily translate speech or text verbatim. You want someone experienced in book and narrative translation — someone who understands the importance of producing a book that reads just as smoothly in a different language as it does in yours.

Step 4: Start With a Sample

Before you settle on a translator, have them translate a sample text for you. If you don’t speak the language, you won’t be able to tell how good the sample is, so make sure you seek the help of native speakers to evaluate the text. Don’t skip this step — you don’t want to spend all that time and money just to find out later that the translation was no good.

Step 5: Finalize the Details

Once you believe you’ve found your translator, make sure they understand the scope of your project. How exact of a translation do you want? How much will you allow them to change for the sake of native speakers? How much involvement do you want to have in the process? The more information you provide and receive, the more accurate the quote will be.

If you’re cautious about the price, know that the effort you put into translation can pay off in extra sales that can cover your costs.

Step 6: Sign the Contract and Start Translating

With all details ironed out, you can sign a contract and get to work. Remember that you will need to have a section of the contract that covers mistakes in the translation. Who will foot the bill if a translation error is discovered after printing has taken place? You need insurance in the event of such an emergency. 

What to Know About Translating Your Self-Published Book 

Once your book is ready to enjoy in another language, you’ll need to change the cover title and possibly the artwork. You’ll need a new description, a new “about the author” section and potentially a new layout. 

You’ll also need to advertise your book in its new market, so you may need to hire a native speaker to manage your regional advertisements and keywords.

Whatever Language You Speak, Print Bind Ship is Listening

Whether you’re printing books in a new language or you have your hands full with just one, Print Bind Ship will make sure your customers get quality printing and fast shipping. We can manage a massive shipment of new books and store them or provide print-on-demand services — it’s up to you. 

Are you ready to win over a whole new audience with a well-translated book? Contact Print Bind Ship today for a printing partner that can handle orders from anywhere in the world.