If you consider becoming a book translator, you should know that it is an incredible job. Also, if you want to become a writer of a language that isn’t your native language, you are here at the right place, as we have some great wisdom to share.
So, getting right to the point – what does a professional book translator actually do? The job of a book translator is to translate a variety of things. But translating a novel might be one of the most challenging things a book translator might do.
Let us talk about some of the important aspects of translating a novel.
Read on to learn more!
Communication is Vital
If you want a final product that you and the client can both be happy with at the end of the day, and you want to avoid mistakes, it is crucial to keep a line of communication open.
Now, while this aspect might go without saying, it can be difficult to put into practice. At the very start of a project, there might be a lot of back and forth as you are getting to know the novel and you are getting to know the client.
However, you will find that once you get on a roll, you are really enjoying it, you are feeling confident, and you feel like firing through it as by now you have gotten a feel for the style and what you want to go for – you do inevitably forget to check your email sometimes.
The thing about long involved projects is that they demand a lot of concentration, such as novels, which can be all-consuming. So, definitely watch for emails and keep checking other sources of communication where your client might be reaching out to you.
You get the point – as a book translator, you will need to keep that line of communication constantly open. Open communication isn’t only important for the client but also for you, the translator, as during the translation process, there are numerous little questions that you don’t think will come up – but certainly will.
Sometimes. These problems are things that come up repeatedly because of something that is specific to the language you are translating from. So, it is always a good idea to ask the author what they mean so that you translate things correctly.
So, communication is key if you want to translate a novel successfully. While translating, there isn’t any question that is too small – and if anything, the client will appreciate your attention to detail and also appreciate the fact that you are talking to them.
Maintaining a consistent style and, within that, a suitable tone and mood and all the other stuff can be quite a challenge while translating a novel.
You might think of it this way – the unique challenge of being a professional translator as opposed to a writer is that once you have honed your own style – you need to learn to sacrifice it somewhat in order to honor the original author’s style.
This aspect is a little complicated as it is not simply a matter of learning the author’s style and then replicating it. On the contrary – it is about kind of incorporating their style into yours or vice versa – depending on how you look at it.
As a book translator, you might just straight up copy their style for the first chapter – but after that, you do have to kind of allow it to become its own beast through the translation. The thing about book translation is that it is not a word-for-word translation job.
How easy the job is kind of depends on how closely the author’s style aligns with your own style. Sometimes, this aspect can be language–dependent. As a translator, you will want to keep an open mind and allow the sentences to come in – one by one before you eventually get through the entire book.
There are a million different ways that you can translate one sentence, and it is quite easy to get bogged down in that. So, an inherent trust in your translating ability and overall work is vital if you want to become a successful long-term translator.
Trust Your Abilities
You need to trust that if you just write instinctively, especially for the first draft, you need to trust that your writing instincts will create a style that is coherent and good.
Even when you are not trying to consciously create a consistent style, you have an unconscious bias for sentence structure and things, and you need to put your trust in that.
Once you have completed the first draft of your translation, you can go through it and change anything that annoys you or anything that sticks out like a sore thumb. Then you can focus on the details – there will be certain lines, paragraphs, and chapters that you have to wrestle with.
And that is fine! It is just a part of the entire translation process.
The important thing is that you don’t end up wrestling for every word. It is absolutely not worth it – if you do so, you should be prepared that the end result will be more disjointed if you do that.
So the two translation rules that you want to live by throughout your translation profession are the following:
Pick your battles wisely
Trust yourself and the process
Proofreading – The Final Stage
Proofreading is crucial as this is the last time you view your work before submission. This is also the stage where you might find yourself doubting your abilities as you go through your work and think about how you could miss certain things when you were redrafting the content.
Once you have completed the final draft, let the client know – they will be elated. After getting some time off from all the writing and translating, only then proceed to the final part of proofreading. Make sure to proofread as uninterrupted as possible from the very start to finish.