I am finishing writing my first book (in Slovak, SF) and will be looking for publishers soon. I was considering self-publishing but I don't think I can do more then them in this field. Well, except for the translation.

We have all heard the 3% problem where only this many books are translated to english. So I think about translating my book to english by my own money (i.e. paying someone to translate it - I'm not the one doing this).

Few reasons: 1) publishers in my country don't try hard to do it yet they keep the rights 2) sometimes they sell the rights but the other side doesn't hurry much and the translation is stuck somewhere in the middle.

So if I have an english version of my book - what can I do next? Should I proceed like any other writer writing in english and look for an editor? Have you ever heard about anyone having the same idea? How did it work out?

Thank you

2 Answers 2


If you are looking to hire someone by yourself to do the translation for you, there are a couple of websites which are essentially 'directories' of freelance translators: ProZ and Translator's café

You can look for Slovak > English and see if you find someone suitable – this may be difficult, as skill levels in the industry can be patchy (I'm a full-time translator/proofreader myself, and I have seen the kind of unreliable quality that's out there). Above all, you'll need someone who writes well in English – ugly prose won't sell, regardless of how faithful the translation is to the original text.

If you write short stories too, it might be a good idea to 'test' a translator on a small scale with a short piece before committing to hiring them for a novel. I also know that English-language SF short story magazines welcome translations, and many specifically mention them in their submissions guidelines, e.g. Clarkesworld, so taking this route could get you a good publication credit too.

Commissioning a translation and then submitting it yourself might be a bit of a gamble (just as much as writing a novel in the first place!). You would also have to consider who gets the rights and make a deal with your Slovakian publisher in your contract; a good lawyer familiar with writer's contracts might be able to help.

Unfortunately I don't know enough about the business side of fiction to give any tips on what to do after having it translated; hopefully someone else on here will.


Go for it, I'd have it translated and then I'd have the translated version edited again by a native English speaker and then send it off to beta readers to make sure it reads well.

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