How to become the world’s most translated author

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Becoming the world’s most translated author is no easy feat. Many of those in UNESCO’s Index Translationum list of the top 20 most translated authors have held a place in the list for some years. Or decades. Or, in the case of William Shakespeare, centuries. But that doesn’t mean that the list isn’t open to new entrants. Danielle Steel and Stephen King are both within the top ten, giving hope to those still writing away in the hope of making it big enough to need to engage an army of professional translators to spread their novels around the world.

The Index Translationum reveals some interesting information about those whose works have been translated more than any other authors’ in the world. Here we drill down into the detail in search of the winning formula for becoming the world’s most translated author.

Clearly, being an incredibly talented writer is the most important element behind making it onto the Index Translationum list, but analysis of the other factors reveals some interesting results. When it comes to becoming one of the world’s most translated authors, less is definitely not more. All of those on the list are (or were) prolific writers. The most recent entrants have all written dozens of novels, with Danielle Steel being known for writing up to five novels at a time.

Language is also a key factor. Of the top 20 most translated authors, English was (or still is) the language used by nine of them. French comes next, with four authors writing in French, followed by Russian and German with two authors each.

Gender is also relevant. Of the top 20 authors, only six are female. While the literary world has become far less dominated by men – in particular over the last 50 or so years – there are still many countries where women are not encouraged not to become authors (or are forbidden from doing so altogether). Given these facts, that four of the top ten most translated authors are women is actually very encouraging. Men might still have the edge, but the ‘fairer sex’ is catching up fast.

Subject matter is the final important element when it comes to the criteria for making it onto UNCESCO’s list. Six of those in the top 20 wrote books for children, while five chose murder/mystery/suspense as their genre (including the author at the very top of the list, Agatha Christie). Other genres in the top 20 were as varied as religion, romance and politics.

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Based on these fascinating insights, it’s possible to identify the key characteristics of the winning formula for becoming the world’s most translated author. If you’re a man who’s writing dozens of murder/mystery fairy tales in English, you might just be in with a chance!

About the author
louLouise Taylor is a freelance writer who writes for the Tomedes Blog.

Why Datasheet Is Not Enough for Today’s Freelancer

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As a freelancer or a small company, your business is closely connected with computers. You receive and fulfill various orders from different clients; your business is prosperous, it grows, and as you gain experience, the amount of orders gradually increases.

You have to find a way to keep records about your tasks, because you have to know exact sums and the currency of payments received, the client who sent it, the files to be delivered, the deadline, etc. This work can be tedious, and, what is even worse, it diverts you from performing your skilled work, as it is not directly connected with the creative/productive side of your business.

At the first stages of your business, an ordinary Excel sheet is entirely sufficient for that. But the more orders you have, the more time you need to spend on accounting. Furthermore, as everyone knows, losing time means losing money. And one day you find that you forget to issue an invoice and a client has not paid you for six months, or you miss a deadline, or you do not remember a contact’s email or phone number, or a client complains about a project you performed a year ago, but you cannot even recall what that project was about, and so on.

In this moment, you try to find a program or a service which can save you from these accounting tribulations. But the first links provided by Google may dissatisfy you, as they can lead to huge and expensive TMS’s. For you, they look like a Ferrari or an Alfa Romeo, when what you need is a Smartcar.

Here is where Protemos comes in handy. It allows you to significantly reduce the amount of time you spend on drudging accounting. It is a solution specifically designed to simplify your business.

Protemos is an online tool. To be more exact, it is a so-called ‘SaaS’ (Software as a Service). That is what determines its advantages. Since full-time internet access is a must in today’s globalized, digital world, ‘onlineness’ is its main benefit. With Protemos, you are not limited by which device or OS you use, or hindered by their file storage and retrieval. On the contrary, you can receive incoming files on your home Windows PC, create a Protemos project on your Android tablet, perform the task on your iMac and then deliver the processed files from your iPhone. All you need is a browser and an Internet connection.

Protemos does all the monotonous tasks for you. It automates the routine actions, reminds you about the assignments and deadlines, stores information about your clients (and possibly vendors) and keeps financial records about costs and revenues.

Yet, it is very simple: you do not need to take a two-week course to learn it. Its intuitive interface lets you get started in no time. All you have to do is create an account and enter data about your clients and/or vendors.

Here is how Protemos looks on a usual laptop screen:

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Image provided by the author.

And here it is on a standard 5.5″ Android smartphone screen:

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Of course, smaller mobile screens do not provide the same seamless experience as PCs. Not all the items fit on the screen and you have to scroll the page to find the option you need. But the main actions are still possible, so you can, for example, accept or deliver urgent files on a smartphone, even when you sit on a bench in a park.

The structure of an ordinary project is straightforward:

  • Receiving files (and possibly creating a quote, if you do not use/have a set price for a client)
  • Creating a project (or converting the existing quote into a project)
  • Uploading incoming files to ‘project input’
  • Fulfilling a task (or assigning it to a vendor)
  • Uploading ready (or received from a vendor) files to ‘project output’
  • Closing a project
  • Issuing invoice(s)

At any moment you can add files, create new jobs, reopen a closed project, and much more. Protemos is highly customizable, because, from the very beginning, it has been developed with flexibility in mind.

The next benefit is pricing. Compared to other systems, Protemos’ rates are very competitive: you will not have to work for it. Also Protemos allow you to receive a referral bonus for involving new users.

And last but not least: Protemos is developing very quickly. New features appear regularly. Some enhancements introduce new features, while others are intended to simplify the interface. The developers readily respond to user’s requests and implement changes in the following builds.

Thus, the main aim of Protemos is to streamline your work processes and free you from boring, routine tasks, so you can spare more time focusing on what is more interesting and profitable for you.

Sign up to try it today!

About the author
vkOver 16-year career in translation Volodymyr Kukharenko advanced from a freelancer to CEO of translation agency and founder of software company. He managed all types of tasks associated with language production: translating and self-training as a freelancer, editing and teaching as an editor, managing the pipeline as a PM. In 2010 he co-founded Technolex Translation Studio and led the company to its current leading positions on Ukrainian market. Having the deep knowledge of the processes in the translation companies and the translation industry as a whole, in 2014 he created Protemos, a software startup to create the new tools for the translation industry which he was missing on his previous positions. By now, the company have released 3 tools: ChangeTracker, Protemos and TQAuditor, and thousands of users are already using them.

Tricky to master

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Although it takes years to learn a foreign language and to use it fluently in writing or communication, it is not unattainable or impossible mission. A translator knows how to do the best translation which will suit desires of the language it is translated into.

People often joke about translation fails; there are a lot of pictures and photos presenting various and funny mistakes.

The purpose of this short article is to avoid those little and horrible mistakes and to do your job in an adequate manner.

  • You have to bear in mind that when someone tells you, “Pigs might fly,” it does not mean that pigs suddenly became mythical beings or birds – it means that something is not possible. You should always choose the adequate proverb for the country in which language you are translating.
  • You have to be familiar with the right meaning of the word, with the field that you are dealing with. Think about “net,” for example, whether it is related to sport or economics.
  • Try to avoid spelling mistakes. This kind of inaccuracies are not likely to be accepted, for example:

Thank you for you’re [instead of your] time.
Are there any dinner specirals [instead of specials]?

  • Be aware of punctuation!

Incorrect: Big boy’s drive big toys!
Correct: Big boys drive big toys!

  • Your grammar has to be perfect. You need to know where nouns, verbs, adverbs, or adjectives take place in the sentence. Respect the word order and see how the adequate structure of the sentences makes you an excellent translator!

Did John cut an apple with a knife?
or
Did John cut a knife with an apple?

  • Bare in mind names of people and places. They are not likely to be translated! It is acceptable to transcribe them but it is gaffe to change them in that way.

John (Gia, Ivano – Italy, Ivo – Bulgary, Jean – France, Jock – Scotland…)

  • Your vocabulary needs to be excellent. Turn two sentences into one, or three if you please, but please, do not change their meaning! It is the worst sin in this field of dealing with language. Sentences need to sound best possible in the language they are translated and they have to be understandable and correct.

Dogging point!  (?)
(It may not mean the same thing in Germany as it does in car parks in Essex)

  • If your language does not have an adequate word for the one that needs to be translated, you can use apostrophes and leave it as is or you can describe it using the appropriate sentence or homonyms and synonyms. Try to keep it original and not “destroy” it.
  • Some jokes cannot be literally translated. So, if the joke you have to translate keeping it funny is about cheap Scots, remember who is considered miser in your country!
  • I have already mentioned that your grammar needs / has to be perfect. If not so, you can be laughed about or you can change the meaning.

Your Grammar has to be perfect.
Not: Your Grammar has to is perfect.
Nor: Your Grammar has to will perfect.

Translating and interpreting is not an easy job to do. The fact is that people work on the above-mentioned skills for years and often make mistakes. The interpreter needs to know both languages he/she is working with. If only one language is mastered, the result can be catastrophic. Grammar,  verb tenses and vocabulary are essentials in this field of work. If one of these lacks, the job will be done poorly and in an inadequate way. It is important to follow the rules and to respect them.

Stay calm, check everything a dozen times and keep it original, whether you are ordering a shirt or translating official political documents!

About the author
cristina-oliveiraCristina Oliveira is an English and German translator and works as a freelancer, mainly on the online market. At the moment she is taking a master degree in teaching English as a second language for young learners at the ISCE Douro.

 

 

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