Having a non-published novel translated into another language

So I am wondering - is there a particular niche translation service offered by some folks who are willing to translate either unpublished novels, or novels with a very limited run (i.e., only 600 copies) into a foreign language? Let’s say a novel of about 400 pages of length in English.

The bestseller novelists with books that sell many thousands of copies don’t have a problem finding translators, but what is the smallest extent to which these translation services would say, “Nah…we can’t do that?”

Or if they are being paid on a per-page basis, then is it all the same to them? And where would one find them?

Writers don’t usually pay for translations; their publishers do. I have heard the rate to translate one particular book from German to English was $10,000, but that was for a professional translator; you may be able to find one who charges less (though of less certain quality). You also might get a better rate from a translator in the country where you plan to sell the book.

It’s the number of pages that determines the price, not the number of copies you plan to print. It’s the same amount of work for the translator if you print one copy or ten thousand.

Thanks. Thousands of dollars, yikes…but then again I’d probably charge that much if I were translating, too…I could try to translate it myself, and turn out a far more unintentionally entertaining book than it was meant to be previously :slight_smile:

I have family who are academics that do translations. It’s long, slow, difficult process. They have to read the work several times just to get a feel of the style. Then each sentence has to be thought over to be sure that it fits the original and - this is a big thing - that it works in the context of the paragraph and page and chapter. Doing a good translation is almost like writing the novel anew. So of course people are going to charge for all that time and expertise. How much would you expect to pay for a mechanic who worked on your car for a couple of months?

I wrote a marketing piece once that the client wanted to translate into German. Our translator got into a fight with the client’s translator over style, colloquialisms and who knows what else.

And this was a marketing piece, not intended to set any particular mood, not trying to define subtle differences between characters, etc. I can’t imagine the bloodshed that would have taken place over a more complex piece of writing.