Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Book Translation Life Cycle

People sometimes ask me how a book ends up in translation, and it's sometimes hard to explain. So I was pleased to see Publishing Trendsetter's infographic on the lifecycle of a book in translation. It's focused more on books moving from the US to other languages, but it applies to some extent to books going from other languages into English. Plus they have a few interesting little videos with players in that cycle, including with German-English translator Marshall Yarbrough.

I'd say in the other direction, for example German to English, you can strike literary scouts out of the equation and put translators in their place, because part of our role is pointing editors to German books. Also, there's a big overlap between translators and the readers who write reports for editors.

Interestingly, the American writer Kristin Harmel talks about trying make sure her books have universal appeal - Tim Parks will be pleased - but also says the money she makes out of foreign rights sales varies widely and isn't all that big a factor for her.

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