Translation of books

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Translation of books

Book translation is a very special type of translation activity. Whether it be fiction, educational, scientific, or business literature — the author invests not only mental, physical, and temporal resources in its creation but also often a piece of soul in order to bring pleasure and/or benefit to the general audience, convey a certain idea, share experience, and of course, obtain a decent reward for the work performed. All this imposes considerable responsibility on the translator: at a minimum, to convey correctly the meaning and style, and at a maximum, to help the author speak the same language with the readers as if the book has been written in the target language.

Profpereklad follows the Maximum principle! We perfectly understand the importance of translation for the success of the book and the author’s reputation in the international arena as well as for the payback of the publishing-related investments. Next, we will tell you the specifics of translation of books and the aspects that you should pay attention to when choosing a service provider.

Important points. You have to agree that whatever the topic of the book is, the material should be presented as simply and clearly as possible. Naturally, only the author can decide what information should be presented to the reader and determine the presentation style, but poor-quality translation can complicate the perception of the book, and, therefore, affect its fate. Therefore, only a native speaker of the target language should handle literary translation — only this can help achieve proper connection with the target audience.

Once you submit your application for translation of a book, we will select an appropriate linguist who will be a native speaker of the target language with professional knowledge of the source language. All our linguists, many of whom have been tested by time and a large number of completed projects, have education and experience in a particular industry and are classified accordingly in our database. Therefore, the most suitable people will work on the book.

Difficult aspects. Impeccable knowledge of the language is not enough for translating literature, especially fiction. Both the translator and the editor (the person responsible for checking the text for semantic, stylistic, and other errors) must have literary education and/or some “writing habits” in order to reflect correctly the style and atmosphere of the publication, the author’s sense of humour, artistic techniques, etc.

It is worth mentioning that our company mainly specialises in the translation of educational and business literature, not fiction. This is attributed to the small number of truly talented and experienced specialists in the field of literary translations and their frequent unavailability due to involvement in various long-term projects. However, we will do everything to help you, so feel free to contact us!

Risks. Translation of books is certainly a laborious and long-term process. Absolute confidence in the completion of the project is required when choosing a linguist. Services offered by freelancers may cost less, but since translation will take time, there is no guarantee that you will not be left with just a fragment of the book and the need to search for another translator at some point in time. In addition, as you know, finishing the work for someone else is an unrewarding task, and as a result, the quality, the timing, and your budget may be affected.

Profpereklad is a serious organization that bears responsibility for the complete, accurate, and timely translation of books. You can safely entrust us with even the most voluminous projects — we will complete them 100% over the shortest period of time.

Strategy. Large volume of literary translation requires a clear strategy to ensure stylistic and lexical unity, including during the detailed acquaintance with the original in order to understand the idea and the style of the author (these concepts are applicable to any publication, even scientific and business-related) as well as to notice key and frequently encountered terms. However, if the deadlines are tight, and several people execute the order at once, it is much more difficult to ensure unity.

We actively use a project management system and have extensive experience in organising teamwork while working on the orders. We ensure the unity of style and terminology through:

  • The use of modern software, in particular the “translation memory” technology that enables us to save developments on the project serving as some sort of terminological reference for linguists working on the order simultaneously.
  • Verification of the completed translation by an editor who is also a qualified language expert. At this stage, all parts of the book translated by different people are painstakingly brought together into one whole; therefore, discrepancies and errors are excluded.

Nuances. It is important to consider the region that the book is intended for. For example, English is spoken in the UK, USA, Canada, and Australia, while Spanish is spoken in Spain, Mexico, Argentina, and Colombia among other locations, but this does not mean that simple conversion of the text into the correct language is sufficient for the success of a book in any country. Each region has its own specifics — not only linguistic (dialects, slangs, well-established expressions), but also historical, cultural, and religious — and therefore certain expressions of the author may be unacceptable or offensive to the readers.

At Profpereklad, we believe that the publication must be adapted to the specific needs of each individual country. We demand our linguists to consider this aspect and carefully check the translated materials for regional compliance prior to handing them over to the relevant clients.
Translation of books from English to Russian represents the most common type of translation; therefore, we will now provide a few examples of errors that can be made during the translation process.
Source text Incorrect translation Correct translation Comments
Lead Контакт потенциального клиента Лид Marketers use the term “лид” (anglicism); therefore, the translator should not have insisted on the Russian version.
Вoromir smiled Тень улыбки промелькнула на бледном, без кровинки лице Боромира Боромир улыбнулся The translator unnecessarily added a lot of extra information disrespecting the author’s choice.
The let-sleeping-dogs-lie approach Подход не-буди-лихо-пока-оно-тихо 1. Подход, который заключается в том, чтобы не напрашиваться на неприятности;
2. Подход в стиле «не буди лихо пока оно тихо».
In the English language, a phrase placed in front of a noun and written through hyphens becomes an adjective; however, the translation of such expression must be implemented in accordance with the rules of the target language.
It’s a Mickey Mouse operation Это Микки Маусная операция Эта операция – просто детская забава In this case, the translation is not absolutely accurate. It has been adapted for the Russian-speaking readers and, therefore, appears more authentic.
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