Like most authors, I’m exploring different ways to make my writing sell. Ebooks are followed by print versions which are followed by audio and sometimes even graphic novel form. A friend and I were chatting about this when she pointed out that there’s actually a demand for different languages!
Sandy works for a translation service where they help out 80 different organizations in 30 different languages, and that’s just in Central Iowa. According to the US Census Bureau, about 8% of the US population doesn’t speak English at all and around 20% speak another language than English when at home as opposed to work or school.
Not as surprisingly, Spanish is the most common alternate to English with 34.5 million speakers, but Chinese, French, Tagalog, German, Vietnamese, and Korean all have more than a millions speakers. And these numbers are growing rapidly. According to Pew Research, some 2.8 million of those Spanish speakers are not Hispanic.
So have you considered publishing a translation of your work? Amazon Kindle is all for it, of course, but Sandy recommended:
- Starting small, with a short story perhaps.
- Getting to know your translator.
- See more guidelines here.
Translation is not just substituting one set of words for another, but taking into account the idioms and meanings of expressions between cultures. The winner of the Best Translated Book Award took 3 years! This is a project that you’ll need to consider as carefully as selecting your 1st editor.
Speaking of which, you’ll probably need to at least coordinate production and marketing with your original publisher. Still, with the number of languages AND readers out there besides English, it’s certainly something to consider!