Working as a translator for the publishing industry


This article presents the preliminary results of a 10-question survey focusing on translators working for the publishing industry. The survey was conducted in May and June 2010. Answers have been received from 93 people. The statistics of the answers are presented below in tabulated and graphical form.

Most questions contained an open ender option; the present dot deal with the answers received there. Some of these answers may be included in further survey reports or incorporated into other analyses of the publishing industry.

Attila Piróth , president of RateLinx, translation specialist

Further surveys may be conducted in the future, to separate the impact of various important factors (target language; geographical location; subject field, etc.). The present survey has nonetheless clearly indicated the importance of the subject – and much more. Some of the open-enders have confirmed that in several countries the generally prevalent conditions for working with publishers are so unfavorable that professional translators cannot pursue a professional career working exclusively with this type of clients. Other answers have confirmed that this is also clearly reflected in the quality of published translations in some markets

Since the general perception of the general public about the translation profession is based primarily on published translations, this situation has far reaching consequences on translators’ general livelihood in those markets. Improving the situation in that segment is of the utmost importance. The survey results have also shown that many the working conditions are particularly bad for one’s first book translation. One of the contributing factors is a lack of proper knowledge about the market reality, the applicable regulations, and the recommendations of various associations safeguarding translators’ and authors’ interest. Sharing one’s experience with other professional translators should therefore be strongly encouraged. Dialog with other stakeholders – authors, publishers, etc. – is also indispensable.

An analysis of the publishing industry, from a translator’s viewpoint, will be presented on June 26, at 16:00 CET, in the framework of an open webinar organized by the International Association of Professional Translators and Interpreters; the details are given on the last page of this document. And now, let’s see the survey results.


Mark Newson

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