Are you thinking about how to translate your book?
Translating a book for self-published authors is a challenge.
Of course, the biggest hurdle is usually the cost.
The market price for a professional translator for a full-length novel is probably out of financial reach for most self-published authors.
An interesting model, which overcomes the expense of translating projects for fiction, is offered by Babelcube.
It uses freelance translators to help you publish a book in a foreign language.
The introduction to its services sounds promising.
Publish Your Books In Other Languages!
Cost = $0. Just share the royalties
Sell your book in 10+ languages
Choose your translator. Or a team of them
Sell through 300+ language-specific online retail channels with ease
Earn additional income from new markets
While this sounds interesting, you need to check the fine print of the FAQs.
There are a few issues that authors would need to consider carefully.
The most important one, of course, is who holds the rights when you translate your book.
Who owns the copyright of the translated version of the book?
The rights holder of the original version of the book, typically the author or publisher, maintains the copyright of the translated book, including the associated material such as the cover.
What rights does Babelcube want?
Babelcube owns the distribution rights for the translated book for the first five years.
After which, the rights holder can decide to continue using Babelcube’s global distribution network or sell the book via any alternative method they choose.
This ensures the translator(s) will be fairly compensated for their efforts.
Another issue is about the sales of translated versions.
In Babelcube’s FAQs, it answers this question:
Where will the translated books be available?
We will sell your books through numerous sales channels:
All major global retailers: Amazon, Google, Apple, Nook, Kobo, Scribd
300+ regional and country online retailers
1,000+ public libraries (for books in English)
However, when you click on the link of numerous sales channels, it looks very much like standard aggregation and distribution through Smashwords and Amazon.
When you then look at the revenue share offered by Babelcube, you would have to factor in net royalties from aggregators such as Smashwords.
These would probably be in the vicinity of 60% or less of the retail selling price.
With such a low return to the author of 30% of net royalties, plus the consideration that translated books might not sell in huge numbers, it may not be a big moneymaker over your English language version.
However, if you are interested in knowing how to translate a book, it is an opportunity for authors who wish to test the water or expand their readership.
If you would like to investigate the pros and cons of translating self-published ebooks or books, I found these two interesting threads worth reading.
This conversation thread on Proz.com, which is a site used primarily by translators, looks at Babelcube from a translator’s perspective.
While this thread on Kindle Boards is obviously from the author’s perspective.
Have you used the services of Babelcube for translating self-published titles? Or any other publishing houses that offer literary translators?
Did it work well for you?
Related Reading: What You Need To Do Before You Self-Publish A Book