The PEN panel at ALTA, "The Marketing Toolkit: How Translators Can Make Their Work Matter," put together by PEN Translation Committee members Minna Proctor (who moderated splendidly), Margaret Carson (who sat on the panel) and Mary Ann Newman, featured four publishing professionals who made additional suggestions about how a translator can help promote the books she translates.
|Silverberg and Lependorf|
Jeffrey Lependorf, Executive Director of both the Council of Literary Magazines and Presses and Small Press Distribution, says: "Until a book has reached the reader's hands, it has not yet been published, only printed." He says that readers want to hear the same sorts of meta-stories from translators as they do from authors - in this case: "Why did you love this book and want to translate it?" He encourages translators to record brief (3 mins or under) videos about the book to be added to a book's page on the publisher's website. This can be a brief interview between translator and author, translator and editor, translator and movie star [oops, my addition], or just the translator solo speaking engagingly about the project. The question to answer is: What's the interesting story behind this book?
More tips from Lependorf:
•Don't underestimate the marketing power of your own personal networks. Put a link to your new book in your e-mail signature.There were surely other good suggestions as well that I didn't manage to capture in my notes, so I'll post a podcast of the panel once the video is made available (one of the conference organizers recorded it). Watch this space.
•Write a one-page statement (no longer!) about why you translated the book. Come up with a list of up to ten questions (comprising a study guide to the book) that can be used by reading groups, or by teachers in the case of a book that might be appropriate for course adoption.
•Ask a blog you regularly read to post an interview with you.
Meanwhile I do have one request from the members of the subcommittee putting together the new "Translator's Toolkit" for the PEN website: One of the new features on the site will be a "Reviewer Hall of Fame" that includes links to reviews that speak particularly thoroughly and illuminatingly about the translation of the book under review. Readers of Translationista are invited to nominate candidates for inclusion. We don't want examples of reviews that praise the translation with a single epithet or phrase ("skillfully translated," "eloquently translated," "a translation displaying skillful eloquence," etc.); nor do we want "Professor Horrendo"-style reviews that criticize the translation by picking apart particular word choices on the translator's part. What we want are reviews that speak intelligently about the translator's overall strategy and contribution to the book, evaluating the strengths (or weaknesses) of the translation overall and using examples to support the reviewer's findings. If you have come across reviews of this caliber, please send us links to the complete review here. Thank you so much for your help!