You may have noticed your English Language books already selling copies in other countries, but have you considered having your self-published book translated into different languages? Just imagine the incredible opportunity from having your books translated in additional languages. Think of all the new readers.
How big is the opportunity?
Having your books available in other languages creates brand new avenues for sales, and well over half of the global ebook market is in countries whose native language is not English. Germany alone holds 8%. The ‘rest of the world’ segment of the market encompasses many native languages such as Spanish and Portuguese.
Source: Publishing Perspectives.
How can I have my books translated without paying a lot of money upfront?
The primary barrier to translation for most self-published authors is the cost of hiring a translator. It can be expensive, and you’ve already invested a lot in your book: editing; a cover designer; marketing. The average budget won’t necessarily stretch to hiring a translator.
Fortunately, there’s another way. What if you could upload your book to a secure website and make it available for translators to bid? You can choose the translator you want, and then there are no upfront fees. Your book is distributed for you in the languages you choose, and you receive the royalties that you share with the translator.
Sounds great, right? Well, that model does exist, and it’s being used by thousands of authors already to increase their revenue with minimal effort and no additional costs at Babelcube.
How are the translation costs covered?
Everything is paid for by sharing the royalty revenue from the sale of the translated books. The percentage amount you receive depends on how much income your book has generated and ranges from 30% to 75% of net sales receipts. You can find the full royalty share information here, but the more income you generate, the higher the percentage you earn.
You retain copyright to all versions of your book and their covers, but Babelcube initially retains the distribution rights to that book and will distribute it via their channels, ensuring the translator is given their fair share of the royalties. After five years the distribution rights revert to you in full, and you are free to distribute the translated versions yourself alongside the English versions and receive full royalties.
Is it easy to do?
Setting up a Babelcube account and getting your books translated couldn’t be easier. I tried it myself a couple of years ago. As a self-published author with three genres and pen names, I was intrigued. I put one of my short, non-fiction books up on the Babelcube platform and waited for translators.
I didn’t have to wait long, and within two months I had my book translated and distributed in Portuguese, German, Italian and Spanish. Working with the translators was easy, they kept me updated every step of the way, and I was delighted with the end result.
How do I know the translation will be good-quality?
You do get the transcription to authorize, so it won’t be published until you are happy.
When I received mine, I spot-checked sections with the help of Google translate and friends-of-friends who were modern language teachers because I was aiming to keep my costs to zero upfront fees. If you want to check them more robustly, you could always hire a native speaker to read them for you.
Based on those checks, all the translations were great and had picked up on turns of phrase that don’t translate well, and either removed them or replaced them with something more appropriate for that language. The result was a manuscript that reads smoothly.
After three years of them being available, I’ve kept an eye on the reviews, and they’ve all been positive with no mentions of anything that seems lost in translation. Overall, I’ve been very pleased with the quality of the translations considering I paid nothing upfront.
What could I earn from translated versions of my books?
Just like sales in English language books, it can be difficult to predict. To give you an idea of the revenue you could generate, 15% of my global annual income on my translated books last year came from Babelcube royalties. Depending on the size and genres of your self-published catalog, you could be sitting on a little goldmine.
How do I know if it’s the right option for me?
Babelcube is perfect for you if:
- You have books that you’ve written that you think could sell in other languages, but you don’t have wads of cash to have them translated.
- You don’t want the hassle of arranging distribution and handling the foreign language translations.
Having your books translated for an upfront fee is suitable for authors who:
- Have the cash upfront to pay the translator’s fee.
- Are confident they will sell well enough in other languages to make back more than the translation fee.
- Already have a large fan base in other countries where English isn’t the national language.
- Want full control of the international distribution of their books.
Written by Lisa Flynn. Lisa Flynn is a freelance writer, content marketer, and social media manager who developed a love of reading and writing from an early age. She has self published over eleven racy novels under several top-secret pen names and also ghostwrites in the romance and erotica genres.