publishing translation, magazine translation

Top tips for publishing houses on working with your translation partner to translate magazines and books – close collaboration is key

publishing translation, magazine translation

Projects to translate magazines and books can be inherently difficult. There are a range of factors that can affect the success of a project, from the author’s unique tone and style, to the design and layout of the published content. Whether you’re translating fact or fiction, books or magazines, or anything in between, it pays to work in close collaboration with your translation partner.

Over the years our translation team have partnered with many publishing houses including working on a recent children’s book translation project, which you can read about here. We find these projects very rewarding as they often allow our linguists and DTP team to use all their creative skills to deliver a great publishing translation and localisation project.

Find out more about our publishing translation services here.

Creative content requires creative translation, often using processes like transcreation and original copywriting to successfully communicate emotive messages and complex concepts to the target reader. Localisation may also be required to make content more relevant and appropriate for international audiences. Even in fiction it may be necessary to make subtle changes to the source text prior to translation to effectively convey what the author wants to say, in a way that will resonate with the reader.

All this creative translation work needs to be carried out sensitively, respecting the integrity of the original source content and the author. This requires a collaborative approach to ensure your translation team have everything they need to do a great job.

Tips for working with your language partner to translate magazines or books

Here are my tips to ensure a successful project:

Provide your translation partner with clear details: Who is the translated content aimed at, what are the objectives for the project, what are your expectations for the translation? Try to understand the challenges of translating the content into the target language; this will help you provide your translation provider with everything they need.

Allow sufficient time: Speak to your translation partner early on so that they can allocate enough time and resources. Let them know when the source content will be ready, and when the translation needs to be delivered.

Review your source material: Is it ready for translation? Are there specific considerations for the target market? For example in some fiction character and place names may be changed to a localised alternative name. If possible, provide the translation team with supporting translated content, such as the approved translated versions of books by the same author or in the same series.

Be open to alternative solutions: Understand that not everything will translate in a straightforward way and therefore your translation partner may need to suggest alternative ways of communicating a message or concept. Puns, idioms and humour are classic examples that can be ‘lost in translation’; as are cultural references that in some cases may not mean anything to the target reader, whereas in others could potentially offend.

Be prepared for questions and requests for more information: Your translation partner is likely to have questions throughout the process, which will help them deliver a more successful translation project. Try to provide them with as much information as they need, as this will improve the quality and effectiveness of the translated content.

I hope these tips will help you manage your publishing translation projects and get better book and magazine translations in the future. If you would like to discuss any other publishing translation project with the Comtec team or me, please get in touch. Call +44 (0) 1926 335 681 or email

Do you need magazines translated? Find out about our services here.

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