Updated : Apr 25, 2019 in Tutorials

Top Tips for Good Book Translation

If you want to work for translation services, you have to work like a professional. That being said, you need to do your job properly and make sure you make no mistakes. Just like any other job, being a translator is asking you for some responsibility, so you can’t go wrong about it. While the smallest mistake won’t kill anyone, it can mislead a lot of people and who knows what could result from it.

Whether you’re just starting your translation career, or you’ve already been doing it for a while, tips won’t do any harm – on the contrary, they may help you step up your game. As such, we’ve compiled this list of tips for book translation to guide you.

  1. Keep the Same Style

Your job might be translating, but when you’re doing it, it’s not hard to almost change the wording style and make it sound different compared to the original. There will still be your touch in the style, but it’s essential to maintain the style of the author as much as possible. Therefore, whether the style is dull or lively, you have to make sure the same tone will be maintained in the translated version. Otherwise, you might kill the whole spirit of the book.

  1. Look Over Everything

Before and after translating the materials, reviewing your documents is essential. Your clients will have to send you papers with instructions. Basically, you will receive instructions about how the translation should look like, including the tone you must use, and any other thing relating to translating. Doing this is crucial as it could lead to a better translation without ruining it.

  1. Don’t Omit Anything

Sometimes, when you’re focusing on translating a book, there will be details that you might not want to include in the translated version anymore. They might either seem unnecessary or are difficult to translate. However, you must not leave anything out.

For a book, details are essential. It’s what helps world-building and offers the reader any information he wants to know. If you don’t include something, you might very well end up removing an integral point of the story and ruin the whole thing. Having said that, ensure you don’t modify a character or plot by removing particular details.

  1. Talk to the Author

When you work to translate someone’s work, one of the best ways to make the whole process easier is by contacting the author. He/she will help you understand the book much better, as well as give you advice on whether your translation resembles the original style.

Nevertheless, in some situations, you are not lucky enough to talk to the author. Especially is it’s an older book, the author may either be too old or even deceased at this point, so this option would not be available. Still, there’s something you could do, which is looking up the author and reading a little about his/her background. This might help you a little bit with the translation.

  1. Focus on Cultural Specificity Too

One mistake done by many translators is thinking that cultural elements are not important, so they don’t focus on them and have no idea what they mean. If you end up translating someone while having no idea what you’re talking about, not only you might do something wrong, but it might also take away the whole spirit of the book.

You might have to do research on the cultural specificities which means more time spent, but it’s better to translate them properly if you want the book to sound authentic.

Final Thoughts

When someone’s looking for a book translator, they want someone worthy, who can deal with maintaining the same tone and translating it in a culturally appropriate way. Using these tips, you can prove yourself and become a successful translator.

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