WHY YOU SHOULD OFFER YOUR BOOKS IN MULTIPLE LANGUAGES
As a native speaker of Portuguese and fluent in English, you might say I’m biased when the topic is offering my books in more than one language. But the fact is that since Amazon created KDP Unlimited for their Brazilian marketplace, my royalties in that market multiplied more than four times with only three titles – short-stories, by the way – published in Portuguese.
Well, I guess I’ll need to explain myself to you, guys. I don’t know why but before I started writing, I thought I’d write in Portuguese and translate the texts into English. It sounded like the natural process to me. Surprise, surprise!!! The first time I sat down to write anything, the words came to me in English and that’s how I’ve been producing since then – I write in English and translate the stories to Portuguese… Go figure!! 😀
That is why I have had time to publish only three books in Portuguese but they are doing quite well in the Amazon.com.br marketplace considering I literally DO NOT advertise them. hahaha Check the rankings:
‘Sem Força’ is the Portuguese version of ‘Powerless’ and as of today (Mar 25th 2015) it’s listed as # 1,907 PAID in the Brazilian general Kindle store; #1 in their Books > Romance > Lesbian romance and Books > Literature and Fiction > Gay & Lesbian > Lesbian; and #9 em Kindle Store > eBooks Kindle > LGBT/GLS. Click on the cover above to check for yourself because rankings vary from time to time.
‘Halloween no Clube Desire’ is the Portuguese edition of ‘Halloween at Club Desire’ – I think that one was easy to guess, right? – and is also doing quite well on its own. It is # 3,311 PAID in the Brazilian general Kindle store; #24 in their Books > Literature and Fiction > Women Literature. Click on the cover above to check if ranking hasn’t changed.
‘No Clube Desire’, Portuguese edition of ‘At the Club’, is performing similarly to HACD above. It is # 3,436 PAID in the Brazilian general Kindle store, which puts the short-story in #26 in their Books > Literature and Fiction > Women Literature. Please, click on the cover above to check the current ranking.
My point here is that the more versions of your story you put out there, the more chances you’ll have of being discovered. The numbers above show only these books’ performances in the Brazilian Kindle Store. They sell well in other marketplaces too.
I’m so happy with these results that I’ve hired a friend, who is a native speaker of Spanish and fluent in both English and Portuguese, to translate my books to Spanish. Soon, I intend to take the Mexican and the Spanish Kindle Stores by storm!!! LOL 😀
You don’t believe me? Fair enough. Here’s what other authors have said about translating their books. You can find the original text at Amazon KDP website: https://kdp.amazon.com/help?topicId=A25ML2TL5OQQ11#words.
Some Things to Consider
Here are a few questions you may want to ask a freelancer to help make a decision:
• How much will the translation cost?
• Are they a native speaker of the desired language? (Keep in mind, translators generally translate into their native language.)
• Will they need specialized knowledge to translate my book, i.e. computer skills?
• What other books have they translated? Can they provide a resume or curriculum vitae?
• Do they work with an editor as part of the translation?
• What are the payment terms?
• Who will hold copyright of the translated work?
Words from Authors Who’ve Translated Their Work
Here are some testimonials from KDP authors who have had their works translated:
My Spanish translation of Area 51 is selling well on Amazon ES and also in the United States. I’m currently having over a dozen titles translated into Spanish, German and Italian and plan on expanding that list. As Kindle sales increase in those countries, I know I will see exponential growth in the marketplace.
In the digital era, non-English readers are just a button-click away. All you need are qualified, willing translators who see the opportunities in the new publishing era. I pay my translators a royalty percent of my sales on the belief that we will reap long-term benefits together, and I have independently published 10 foreign editions of my books. As Amazon continues to expand into new countries and languages, my catalog and audience will grow as well. Plus it’s fun and exciting to work with creative partners around the world. The way I look at it, I still have seven billion readers to meet, and Amazon is making it possible.
I work hard to find a great team of translators and editors for each language, putting them together one by one via referrals from other writers and translators, and posting project proposals at companies like odesk.com and Craigslist. I hire a translator, 2 proofreaders, and a QA person for each language to try and make sure the translation is of the highest quality.
With regards to how long it takes per book that depends on the length of the book and each translator’s schedule. Usually I will have a translation back within 4-12 weeks. The proofreaders then need the time to work on the book. I usually have future translations in progress while I am in the process of production on each title – making the foreign cover, assembling the foreign metadata, etc.
The price depends on length and language. I’ve paid between $1,000 and $5,000. Some languages are less expensive (Spanish, Portuguese) and some are much higher (Swedish and Japanese).
It is a very exciting process – I love seeing all the titles go up in each language and it’s even more exciting when they start selling so well right out of the gate, as many of my self-published translated titles have been in the top 100 best seller lists at the Amazon stores in each country already! I have done German, French, Italian and Spanish so far. I will have Portuguese and Swedish out soon and am considering other languages as well.
Keep in mind, the service descriptions above are based on public information available on the service providers’ websites. Amazon doesn’t endorse or recommend any one company over the other.