What else do you need?

When getting a quote, you should probably think a little bit about what you might need besides just the translation of your novel. In this chapter we will review some of the other services that you might be interested in.

Your translator might be able to arrange many of these services for you as project manager, or can recommend someone for them. Feel free to ask your translator about them.


Editing and proofreading

You might be tempted to ask yourself, “Why do I need editing and proofreading? This book has already been edited.” That may be true, but that was in English. Once it’s been translated, it’s important to have another professional go over the text again, because as you probably know as an author, it’s all too easy to overlook your own mistakes. In fact, it’s probably even more important for the translation, which is the result of a process of cultural transposition of your entire work, including puns, sayings, and quotes. This is where a second pair of eyes is essential to ensure that the desired effect is also conveyed in the translation, so the reader can dive right into the text without hitting any cultural “barriers.” To be clear, by emphasizing the need for an editorial reading, we are not trying to say that your translator is inexperienced or prone to errors! On the contrary, the true professional will recognize the importance of an editor. Of course, the easiest approach for you is to go into the project with a translator/editor team, which saves you the search for a good editor once you have found the right translator. Likewise, proofreading is absolutely essential. Grammar and spelling errors are a surefire way to get bad reviews.


Jacket blurb and title

A recent study conducted by the German Booksellers Association revealed that 68% of book buyers make their purchase decision based on the jacket blurb. In fact, this short description of your novel is one of your most important marketing tools! So don’t just have your existing jacket blurb translated, but adapt it for the German reader’s expectations. The jacket blurb is usually the first text that a potential reader of your book looks at, so don’t be afraid to go commercial with it. Whereas an English-language cover blurb is generally a fairly specific description of what’s in the book, in Germany, we prefer to not reveal quite so much of the content and instead incite the reader’s curiosity. Because of this, German books generally have much shorter blurbs than English ones.

Also, remember that a literal translation of your book’s title may not be the right thing to put on the German cover. Here again, you need to take certain reader attitudes into account, and most importantly, adhere strictly to German title protection law, which we’ll address in more detail in chapter 12, “Legal.”


Author bio

Whatever sales platform you choose will let you provide the reader with information about you, the author. Don’t forget to have your author bio translated as well. This is another text that should be tailored to the German reader. For example, a laundry list of the literary prizes you have won is not going to mean much to the German reader, who may not have a sense of the importance of any prizes awarded in other countries. Leave all that out and just write a pithy little text that gets the reader excited about your book. You should post this text on the German Author Central site and list your other books there as well, because Amazon lists some English reviews on its German site, which is quite handy when you still have few or no German reviews.

It may be tiresome to enter your author bio and list all your books on every country-specific page, but it is worth the extra effort. It will increase your visibility and make your fans happy.


From: “Selling your novel in Germany”

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