In April of this year I started exploring the various options that were available for publishing my novel, Bloodlines: Cove Point Manor in different languages. The two languages I was most interested in having my book translated to were Chinese and Spanish.
I started to do some research online and after a fair amount of research, I chose to work with Babelcube for the Spanish translation and Fiberead for the Chinese translation. You can read about my experience with Fiberead in an earlier blog post.
Babelcube is an online crowd-sourcing translation service that connects authors and translators and then publishes and markets the translated books. The royalty structure is somewhat more favorable than Fiberead and is set up on a sliding scale as shown in the chart below.
For the initial sales up to $2,000.00 (US), the author receives 30% of the sale, Babelcube receives 15% and the translator receives 55%. When sales go over $2,000.00, the author's share increases to 45% and the translator's royalty is reduced to 40%. When sales go past $8,000.00, the author's royalties increase to 75%, the translator's decreases to 10%. Babelcube's royalty rate remains the same at 15% regardless of the amount of sales achieved.
For translators, this is an opportunity to earn additional income while building a portfolio until they can freelance at standard translator rates (which are quite high). For the author, this opens up an opportunity to enter different markets.
The one significant caveat is that the author must be able to review the translation to ensure that the meaning of the story is not lost in a "literal" translation. There are subtle and not so subtle nuances when writing in one's own language that may not translate literally from one language to the next. For example, the English word "mansion" when translated into Spanish may be "la casa grande" which translates back to "the big house" in English. The more appropriate phrase would be "el palacio" meaning "palace" or "mansion".
Translating words from one language to another is easy, but translating the intent behind the words is an art form.
Bloodlines: Cove Point Manor, is now being released in Spanish courtesy of the hard work of my translator, Gisela Rodriguez and Babelcube. My book will be made available through over 100 e-book retailers through the Babelcube service so I am hoping that it will find a new audience in Spanish.
In a few more months, the same book is being released in Traditional and Simplified Chinese in one of the largest e-book markets in the world.
If all goes well with my first foray into selling my novel in different languages, I will proceed with having my 2nd novel, Bloodlines: Of Noble Blood, translated as well. Time will tell if these two translation services will work, but in the meantime they are opening potential new markets for me and I didn't have to spend thousands of dollars to have them translated.
Once the book is launched in these two new language markets, I will update my readers on how sales progress.
Nothing ventured, nothing gained!