Financial aspects

Of course, the big question is: how much is my translation going to cost?

In the end, we can’t give a specific answer; the final cost will depend on a variety of factors, and will be different for every novel.

A figure often cited as a rule of thumb for an edited and proofread translation of an average-length novel is €10,000. The authors’ association PEN UK gives a figure of 90 British pounds per thousand words as a guideline (source: PEN America/Translation FAQS). This corresponds roughly to 10 to 11 euro cents per word for translation only. We consider this realistic, and it should give you a ballpark figure to go on. Naturally, the length of your novel will also affect the price, as will any additional services you need. Are you looking for just the translation, or do you need a full package including publication-ready edited and corrected copy plus a jacket blurb in German and a fully formatted, ready-to-upload cover?

Are you going to need marketing help, or do you already have contacts to help you with that?

Translators are professionals – their job is to make sure that your book comes across to the German public just as it does to your English-speaking audience. This involves knowledge and experience, and a healthy dose of creativity. In a way, translating is like writing, but with someone elses’s hand, dissecting and analyzing the text and the ideas behind it.

You can’t simply replace the English words with their German dictionary equivalents – with every sentence, the translator has to think carefully about what exactly the author is trying to convey. Always think twice if you are offered a surprisingly cheap or surprisingly fast translation.

Remember that quality always comes at a price, and there is no such thing as a free lunch.


From: “Selling your novel in Germany”

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