Re: RARA-AVIS: Foreign HB novels

Date: 29 Jul 2002

>Well, I don't know who your acquaintances are but most of the novelists I
>are getting quite a few peanuts. Certainly not what they deserve (in
>cases), but enough to do the math and realize that a translation could
easily be
>factored in to the advance a publisher paid a good foreign author and
>publisher would still come out ahead if the book found an audience. Since
>U.S. publishers don't buy a lot of foreign product that would make this
>buyer's market for them, thus making it easier to lowball the writer in
>question. You know, just like they do here.
>> Translating isn't cheap, and you probably couldn't
>> get a good (above Babelfish level) translator to work on a possible
>> percentage sometime in the future, the way writers do.

Have you really tried pricing competent to damn good translators lately? As a gaijin living in Japan who only has a child's command of Japanese, I consider myself lucky when I end up paying about $400 US per 10 double spaced pages. I also know from first hand experience, when proofing translations from Japanese to English, I get $10/page. So sit down and think about the costs in a 400+ page novel...

Admittedly, frnech or Spanish rates aren't as high, but when you start dealing with fictional works which have very nuanced and subtle meanings at times, you get what you pay for in many cases (cheap translation, lousy translation).

  Later, Mark E. Hall (MEH)

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