Le French Book Empowers Hybrid Translators
"Hybrid" is a new buzzword in the publishing industry-there are hybrid authors, hybrid publishers, hybrid markets. For translation publisher Le French Book, the publishing world is ready for hybrid translators too. And as they are specialized in translated works, they are committed to empowering this new kind of translator.
Le French Book bills itself as a digital-first publisher focused on making top mysteries and thrillers from France available in English. For the company's CTO Fabrice Neuman, "This means more than just publishing e-books in addition to print books, it means everything digital, including social media, online presence, exploring new printing solutions, and looking forward to where content will go in the future."
This is just one aspect of the changing industry, according to Le French Book. Some people claim such changes open the door for more translations. In June, the translation blog Three Percent announced a 26.3% increase of works in translation (all languages) from 2011 to 2012. Sounds impressive, but this still only means upwards of 453 works in translation in the United States. An improvement, yes, but hardly floodgates opening.
However, the evolving industry does mean some very profound changes for actual translators. As for authors, it is now possible, and even necessary, for translators to take a more proactive and prominent role in publishing. Authors who do so are called "authorpreneurs," which would make translatorpreneurs those who participate in creating a brand around their translations and promoting it through a variety of outlets.
Translation has traditionally been a thankless job. Translators were shadow figures, with their names in small print if mentioned at all, decried by editors, lambasted by the original-language authors, and the first blamed by critics for any weaknesses in a text. In addition, the usual model gives translators such a small percentage of royalties, if any at all, that they never earn out their advance.