Addendum: Indies and Translations, Should I or Shouldn’t I?

Posted April 6, 2017 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Miscellaneous / 0 Comments


Aaaaand something I completely and utterly forgot to mention explicitly in my post about whether indies should invest in translation and feel is too important not to create a new post for it:Sometimes writers will have personal reasons to want their works translated. This is totally and absolutely a valid reason!

I focused the initial post on just the practicalities of it deciding whether or not a translation is worth it for you from a business perspective, but there are many non-business reasons why someone might want to translate a work into a different language.

These reasons are also reasons that you should take into account when making the decision about whether or not you’re happy to translate your works into or out of a language. There can be a tremendous emotional boon to translating your works into more languages.

I suspect this is a boon you’re most likely to see with multilingual authors who feel like they have to publish in English because market practicalities. That’s because these authors are, by and large, asked to set aside a large chunk of who they are in order to get their works out there in a way that is palatable to the majority.

You see it in the setting changes in books like HEX or The Dream Merchant. You see it in the way that, for example, a South-East Asian author may talk about how their work was rejected from a Western-based, English-language market because it was ‘too Asian’. When you’re not part of the majority (and in English-language/international publishing “the majority” is very much “white Americans”), there’s a tendency to expect people to conform to that majority and to hide away any traces of foreignness.

In these cases, translations can provide a lot of solace. Or just excitement that your story is available in a language that is important to you. You may not always be able to recoup the costs (which sucks), but it may well be worth it to fight back that tiny little bit against the linguistic and cultural dominance of English.

And that is totally valid! If these are reasons why you’d want to see your books translated, get them translated! <3 It does matter! Your voice matters.