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Albdantesque
07-23-2016, 11:22 PM
I have the impression that none reads translated novels in English. Anyway, what are the chances that publishers or agents provide some kind of editing for translated novels? I mean, is it worth to pay an editor for my translation when I do not know what the agent will say?

Thanks!

Curlz
07-23-2016, 11:34 PM
Agents don't edit. Authors don't translate. I'm not sure what you mean by "translated novels in English" either... Foreign language translated into English or English translated into Foreigh?

Albdantesque
07-23-2016, 11:37 PM
My novel translated from another language to English, by another person. 152k words in English.

Old Hack
07-24-2016, 12:30 AM
There's a big market for translated novels.

Publishers buy rights to books all the time. They mostly buy rights to books which were written in their home language (so, English for British and American publishers, German for German publishers, and so on): but they also buy translation rights for novels which they think are worth bringing to a larger market.

When those translation rights are bought, the purchasing publisher almost always commissions the translation. They very rarely buy novels which have been translated already, especially when the book has not yet been published in its original language, because doing so raises all sorts of issues: for a start, if the book hasn't been published and isn't under contract it won't have been properly edited, and so the translation is likely to need substantial work to bring it up to market quality.

So no, don't pay to have your own work translated and if you already have done so, don't throw even more money away by having the translation edited. Work on getting your books published in their original language, and on then selling foreign and translation rights.

cornflake
07-24-2016, 12:51 AM
I have several translated-to-English novels on my shelf, a couple of which were major bestsellers in America, and I just finished a translated non-fic. So people definitely read them.

See Old Hack's post for how it works on the back end; just saying people read them.

Albdantesque
07-24-2016, 02:29 AM
There's a big market for translated novels.

Publishers buy rights to books all the time. They mostly buy rights to books which were written in their home language (so, English for British and American publishers, German for German publishers, and so on): but they also buy translation rights for novels which they think are worth bringing to a larger market.

When those translation rights are bought, the purchasing publisher almost always commissions the translation. They very rarely buy novels which have been translated already, especially when the book has not yet been published in its original language, because doing so raises all sorts of issues: for a start, if the book hasn't been published and isn't under contract it won't have been properly edited, and so the translation is likely to need substantial work to bring it up to market quality.

So no, don't pay to have your own work translated and if you already have done so, don't throw even more money away by having the translation edited. Work on getting your books published in their original language, and on then selling foreign and translation rights.

Thanks for your reply. Since I write in Albanian, my publisher and I thought we should act first (instead of waiting British or Americans find an interest in my Albanian fiction :)

Let's see where it will lead :)

Old Hack
07-24-2016, 10:32 AM
Who owns the rights to this book, you or your publisher? Sometimes publishers license all rights, sometimes they only license the rights to publish in their own country.

If the publisher owns world rights then your publisher should know that the way to exploit those rights is to actively try to sell them to other publishers elsewhere. To this end, many publishers have rights departments; others work with literary agents or scouts to place those rights.

If you own the rights, ideally you'd find an agent to deal with this for you. They'd be able to advise on what you need to do.

In any event, translating it ahead of any potential deal is not a good way to go.

Albdantesque
07-24-2016, 06:38 PM
Who owns the rights to this book, you or your publisher? Sometimes publishers license all rights, sometimes they only license the rights to publish in their own country.

If the publisher owns world rights then your publisher should know that the way to exploit those rights is to actively try to sell them to other publishers elsewhere. To this end, many publishers have rights departments; others work with literary agents or scouts to place those rights.

If you own the rights, ideally you'd find an agent to deal with this for you. They'd be able to advise on what you need to do.

In any event, translating it ahead of any potential deal is not a good way to go.

I own the rights, but my publisher has the connections.....

Old Hack
07-24-2016, 08:20 PM
If your publisher thinks that translating the book now is the right thing to do, I wouldn't rely on his or her connections.

Albdantesque
07-24-2016, 09:40 PM
If your publisher thinks that translating the book now is the right thing to do, I wouldn't rely on his or her connections.

It might be so, but I live in the US and if his connections are not helpful... I guess I can search some small publishers/agents here where I live and see where all this may lead. The rights are mine. All that I should pray for is that the translator made the best possible work. Right?

Old Hack
07-24-2016, 11:45 PM
It might be so, but I live in the US and if his connections are not helpful... I guess I can search some small publishers/agents here where I live and see where all this may lead. The rights are mine. All that I should pray for is that the translator made the best possible work. Right?

It depends what his connections are. But I would be wary, and ask about how he thinks might be able to help. Is he going to help you submit the book to anyone specific? If so, who? Is he going to help you with your submission package? What exactly is he going to do, and how certain is he you'll end up with a deal as a result?

It's not usual for things to proceed in the way you've described. It makes me wonder how much your publisher understands the US publishing business.

If you write in English now you could write something new and find yourself an agent in the US, and then see what you can do with the book under discussion here. I'd probably tend towards that plan rather than pressing ahead with your current plan but it's your book: do what you think best. And let us know how you get on.

Quickbread
07-25-2016, 02:20 AM
If a translation is done poorly, the manuscript won't be sellable. So it's very important to have someone qualified doing it. That's one reason why publishers usually handle this. They work with professionals who are used to translating the nuances of language and tone required for literature.

In the US, paying a qualified translator out of your own pocket to translate a novel of 152K words from Albanian would probably be prohibitively expensive and very time-consuming to complete. In addition, a 152K-word novel can be a tough sell for some genres of fiction. What if you spend all that money and are unable to find a publisher? Given all the risk factors, I would recommend listening to Old Hack's advice before spending your money on such an unorthodox approach.

But whatever you decide to do, good luck!

Albdantesque
07-25-2016, 04:00 AM
If a translation is done poorly, the manuscript won't be sellable. So it's very important to have someone qualified doing it. That's one reason why publishers usually handle this. They work with professionals who are used to translating the nuances of language and tone required for literature.

In the US, paying a qualified translator out of your own pocket to translate a novel of 152K words from Albanian would probably be prohibitively expensive and very time-consuming to complete. In addition, a 152K-word novel can be a tough sell for some genres of fiction. What if you spend all that money and are unable to find a publisher? Given all the risk factors, I would recommend listening to Old Hack's advice before spending your money on such an unorthodox approach.

But whatever you decide to do, good luck!

It's a big story. First of all, the only Albanian writer who got any worth translators (and, in fact, his works are translated in other languages from French, not from Albanian), is Ismail Kadare. So, as an Albanian, I should not expect any interest in my novel from foreign publishers and translators (apart from Kadare, who always has been sponsored by Albanian government, the other Albanians write in foreign languages). Second, I paid only a part of the translation and it was not a big deal (what I received from the Albanian novel I gave it to the translator... since the money I get from Albanian readers will never enable me pay my bills in NY... let's say those money did not count at all :) My Albanian publisher wants the rights to publish it in English, but I did not find it a good idea. Third, when I told the publisher that I can't give the rights to him he revealed that he is in contact with some American agents who take clients only on recommendation. To conclude, there's more to win from this story than to lose (think of my CV, also). The point taken is that from now on I should ask real agents (if the contact of my publisher will not do) and should not spend any dollars in editing and fake agents. The translation is already done. I got some great reviews from some American professors on three excerpts... So, nothing to lose (those 2k bucks, I got from Albania and gave back, here in NY would not feed me even a month lol).

Anyway, as more questions will come in my way.... I will keep you updated. Thanks!

Sweetix
07-25-2016, 05:52 AM
Albdantesque (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/member.php?135514-Albdantesque) , please keep me update because I have the same problem. :)

Albdantesque
07-25-2016, 07:33 AM
Albdantesque (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/member.php?135514-Albdantesque) , please keep me update because I have the same problem. :)

For starters:

http://www.bbc.com/culture/story/20140909-why-so-few-books-in-translation

If you have a good translated piece, I think universities can publish you too... just for the sake of Cosmopolitanism (but do not expect to find many readers :) Rochester and UMass Amhrest are among the many examples.

Helix
07-25-2016, 07:53 AM
For starters:

http://www.bbc.com/culture/story/20140909-why-so-few-books-in-translation

If you have a good translated piece, I think universities can publish you too... just for the sake of Cosmopolitanism (but do not expect to find many readers :) Rochester and UMass Amhrest are among the many examples.

Thank you for that link, Albdantesque. I'm sorry I can't add anything to the discussion, but I am now looking through the catalogues of Pushkin Press (http://pushkinpress.com/books/), Open Letter Books (http://www.openletterbooks.org/) and Dalkey Archive (http://www.dalkeyarchive.com/) to find new books to read.

Old Hack
07-25-2016, 10:51 AM
It's a big story. First of all, the only Albanian writer who got any worth translators (and, in fact, his works are translated in other languages from French, not from Albanian), is Ismail Kadare. So, as an Albanian, I should not expect any interest in my novel from foreign publishers and translators (apart from Kadare, who always has been sponsored by Albanian government, the other Albanians write in foreign languages).

Only one Albanian writer has got anywhere outside of Albania? That means you could be the second!

All you need is a good literary agent.


Second, I paid only a part of the translation and it was not a big deal (what I received from the Albanian novel I gave it to the translator... since the money I get from Albanian readers will never enable me pay my bills in NY... let's say those money did not count at all :)

My concern is also that you've wasted that money, as most publishers which publish translated works prefer to organise the translation themselves. There's a big difference between translation for business, for example, and literary translation and unless you used a specialist literary translator, preferably one who was translating into her first language, you're not likely to have a good translation.

Also, what sort of contract do you have with the translator? Is she going to expect royalties on your translated book, or did you pay her a flat fee? Do you have to name her as translator if the book is published? Does she have any hold on your work?


My Albanian publisher wants the rights to publish it in English, but I did not find it a good idea. Third, when I told the publisher that I can't give the rights to him he revealed that he is in contact with some American agents who take clients only on recommendation.


There aren't many agents who take clients only on recommendation. Do you know who the agents in question are? If you'd rather not say in public, you're welcome to let me know by private message. I'm happy to advise you on their reputation, if I know them or know of them.


To conclude, there's more to win from this story than to lose (think of my CV, also). The point taken is that from now on I should ask real agents (if the contact of my publisher will not do) and should not spend any dollars in editing and fake agents. The translation is already done. I got some great reviews from some American professors on three excerpts... So, nothing to lose (those 2k bucks, I got from Albania and gave back, here in NY would not feed me even a month lol).

Anyway, as more questions will come in my way.... I will keep you updated. Thanks!

You still have a lot to lose: the rights to your book, for example.

For starters:

http://www.bbc.com/culture/story/20140909-why-so-few-books-in-translation

If you have a good translated piece, I think universities can publish you too... just for the sake of Cosmopolitanism (but do not expect to find many readers :) Rochester and UMass Amhrest are among the many examples.

University presses can and do publish translated works, but some of those presses are much better than others. A good agent will get you into the better ones, and why would you want to work with the less-good ones?

I hope it goes well for you.

RightHoJeeves
07-26-2016, 04:49 AM
Only one Albanian writer has got anywhere outside of Albania? That means you could be the second!

That guy is also meant to be in line for the Nobel Prize. So he's quite good.

Albdantesque
07-26-2016, 05:35 PM
That guy is also meant to be in line for the Nobel Prize. So he's quite good.

There are many Albanian good writers, but except from Kadare those who became famous (in France, Italy, Greece, etc.) write in foreign languages. This is what I was trying to tell Old Hack, i.e. it is almost impossible to expect native speakers of major languages to translate from Albanian to other languages or develop any interest in you if there are not money from Albanian (not foreign) organizations.

Super_Duper
07-26-2016, 06:43 PM
I have the impression that none reads translated novels in English. Anyway, what are the chances that publishers or agents provide some kind of editing for translated novels? I mean, is it worth to pay an editor for my translation when I do not know what the agent will say?

Thanks!

I think you have it backwards -- people are supposed to pay you for your work, not the other way around!

Your agent should be shopping the rights for translations to publishers from other countries. They purchase the rights (they pay you), and then translate and publish it on their own dime.

Albdantesque
07-26-2016, 07:17 PM
Thank you for that link, Albdantesque. I'm sorry I can't add anything to the discussion, but I am now looking through the catalogues of Pushkin Press (http://pushkinpress.com/books/), Open Letter Books (http://www.openletterbooks.org/) and Dalkey Archive (http://www.dalkeyarchive.com/) to find new books to read.

Once you read some of those books, let us know about the quality of the translation. (Do all translators sound as native speakers of English?)

Old Hack
07-26-2016, 08:21 PM
Once you read some of those books, let us know about the quality of the translation. (Do all translators sound as native speakers of English?)

I've read a lot of translated novels. Almost all read beautifully in English, but retain the author's voice (so I'm told by my friends who have read them in more than one language) and have a rhythm and flavour of their original language. Literary translation is an art, which is why it's important to only use people who are skilled in the work.

ETA: I have a friend who is a poet, and who translates Russian poetry into English. He's won prizes for his translations. It's a very specific skill.

Albdantesque
07-26-2016, 09:15 PM
ETA: I have a friend who is a poet, and who translates Russian poetry into English. He's won prizes for his translations. It's a very specific skill.

I just recalled that PEN America supports authors and translators every year. So, anyone interested may give it a try.

https://pen.org/content/penheim-translation-fund-grants-2000-4000

Albdantesque
07-26-2016, 09:51 PM
If you write a story on Sadam or Assad you should expect a lot of money from US and EU organizations/publishers. I hope I did not get everything wrong, but it seems that Europeans and Americans know already everything they need to know; what is expected to learn from these foreign writers is what is "known already".

Old Hack
07-27-2016, 12:51 AM
By the way, there must be a lot of politics (apart from business) in world literature also. I live very close to NYS Writers Institute and all the foreign authors they bring to promote their works it happens to write on wars, dictatorships, women's rights, and so on.

I looked at their website (http://www.albany.edu/writers-inst/webpages4/programpages/vws.html), and saw a list of mostly American writers who work on all sorts of subjects. I did not see the pattern you've suggested here.


I do not doubt that these things are very important, but I have the impression also that being from the Third World means a lot on what you should write for English speaking audiences. If you write a story on Sadam or Assad you should expect a lot of money from US and EU organizations/publishers.

What publishers want from authors in translation is the same thing they want from authors who they'll publish in their own language: great books, with strong commercial potential.


I hope I did not get everything wrong, but it seems that Europeans and Americans know already everything they need to know; what is expected to learn from these foreign writers is what is "known already".

I think you need to clarify that. Because I'm sure you don't mean to sound dismissive or rude.

There's a good market for translations in the UK, where I am. If you search for "fiction in translation", or something similar, you'll get lots of results, most of which prove you wrong.

I do wish you well with your novel, and I do hope it works out for you. But I think there's more chance of that happening if you approach this with a more open, less judgemental mindset.

AW Admin
07-27-2016, 12:59 AM
I hope I did not get everything wrong, but it seems that Europeans and Americans know already everything they need to know; what is expected to learn from these foreign writers is what is "known already".

You pretty much got everything wrong. This is the New York State Writer's Institute (http://www.albany.edu/writers-inst):


Hosted by the University at Albany, the New York State Writers Institute is the fruition of William Kennedy's vision for a literary crossroads in Albany. Since its creation in 1983 as a UAlbany-based center and its expansion a year later to a state supported cultural program, the Writers Institute has provided the broadest possible educational base for readers and students of writing to promote the literary arts. As its program offerings continue to grow, the Institute's central aim is to celebrate literature, writing, and performance, and to enhance the role of writers as a community within the larger community

These are the Spring visiting writers (http://www.albany.edu/writers-inst/webpages4/programpages/vws.html).

Here's the Summer visiting writers schedule (http://www.albany.edu/writers-inst/).

Helix
07-27-2016, 02:17 AM
Once you read some of those books, let us know about the quality of the translation. (Do all translators sound as native speakers of English?)

Will do.

Like Old Hack, I've read a lot of of translated novels -- mostly crime fiction -- and the quality is very high. I can't recall any that have sounded as if they've been translated, if you know what I mean!

At the moment I'm looking for Indonesian novels. Indonesian literature is definitely underrepresented in English.

RightHoJeeves
07-27-2016, 04:44 AM
Will do.

Like Old Hack, I've read a lot of of translated novels -- mostly crime fiction -- and the quality is very high. I can't recall any that have sounded as if they've been translated, if you know what I mean!

At the moment I'm looking for Indonesian novels. Indonesian literature is definitely underrepresented in English.

Huh. I've never even thought about reading an Indonesian novel. Would make sense, given they're our close neighbours. Apart from Saramago, does anyone have any good Portuguese novels?

Albdantesque
07-27-2016, 07:13 AM
You pretty much got everything wrong. This is the New York State Writer's Institute (http://www.albany.edu/writers-inst):



These are the Spring visiting writers (http://www.albany.edu/writers-inst/webpages4/programpages/vws.html).

Here's the Summer visiting writers schedule (http://www.albany.edu/writers-inst/).

I did not see any foreigners (from the Third World) in your lists. I was referred to posters on Third World Writers (not on whatever the institutes and organizations do with local authors). Anyway, thank you for the info.

Albdantesque
07-27-2016, 07:42 AM
I do wish you well with your novel, and I do hope it works out for you. But I think there's more chance of that happening if you approach this with a more open, less judgemental mindset.

Due to the people I read I am mostly on the critical/pessimistic worldview of everything that's going on... even on my writings. Thank you for your advice, but I can't become someone else....

By the way, above optimism, pessimism, "open mindedness", "judgmental mindset", and so on, there's always something higher, something that philosophers from ancient times called truth. And yes, I can take critics for failing to see the truth (if that is what you meant).

Old Hack
07-27-2016, 10:12 AM
I did not see any foreigners (from the Third World) in your lists. I was referred to posters on Third World Writers (not on whatever the Institute does), and that was the impression I got (that there's some kind of politics). Anyway, thank you for the info.

AW Admin and I were responding to this post you made earlier:


By the way, there must be a lot of politics (apart from business) in world literature also. I live very close to NYS Writers Institute and all the foreign authors they bring to promote their works it happens to write on wars, dictatorships, women's rights, and so on. I do not doubt that these things are very important, but I have the impression also that being from the Third World means a lot on what you should write for English speaking audiences. If you write a story on Sadam or Assad you should expect a lot of money from US and EU organizations/publishers. I hope I did not get everything wrong, but it seems that Europeans and Americans know already everything they need to know; what is expected to learn from these foreign writers is what is "known already".

You were the one who first mentioned "Third World Writers" in this thread, and you were the one who insisted there was a political slant to the writers the NYS WI invited to speak.

Now you're telling us we're right that this isn't true, and that you were "referred to posters on Third World Writers", as if it's the way you've been steered in this thread.

I strongly suggest you read through this thread again, and improve your understanding of all that's been said.


Due to the people I read I am mostly on the critical/pessimistic worldview of everything that's going on... even on my writings. Thank you for your advice, but I can't become someone else....

By the way, above optimism, pessimism, "open mindedness", "judgmental mindset", and so on, there's always something higher, something that philosophers from ancient times called truth. And yes, I can take critics for failing to see the truth (if that is what you meant).

There's not always something higher beyond someone who is judgmental or highly critical or needlessly pessimistic. Sometimes they're just refusing to see the truth that's right in front of them.

You've been given a lot of good advice here about novels in translation but you've argued against a lot of it,and you seem to be struggling to understand or accept much of what you've been told. I'm going to lock this thread now, because I don't see it going well if it remains open: but if anyone has a pressing reason for me to reopen it, you're welcome to send me a PM.