Facts about the state of translated literature in the United States:
Very few works of literature written in languages other than English ever find their way into the US market. Statistics suggest that of all books published annually in the US, less than 3% are works of translation, and that includes retranslations, reissues, and non-literary works. The number of literary fiction, non-fiction and poetry is more like 0.3-0.7%, mostly comprised of European literature since countries such as France, Germany, Greece, Italy, etc., provide support for the translation of their literature into English and other languages.
Therefore, translations of Iranian literature, especially contemporary Iranian literature, are far and few between, but growing. Historically, emphasis has been placed on the translations of classical Persian literature, but things are shifting: the number of excellent literary translators is growing and more interest is placed on translating contemporary Iranian literature.
The standard process by which publishers consider a work of translation is through the submission of a proposal and a sample translation. The proposal is submitted either by an author, or better yet, by a literary agent. To find a literary agent, writers are generally required to have several samples of their work in translation.
Writers interested in pursuing a professional writing career in the US should consider their decision in commissioning a work of translation as a financial investment in the future of their work. They must research and select a translator who has experience in translating works of the same genre and who can create English versions of an original text that stand on their own and do not read like a work of translation. A fluent and fluid translation is what all writers of literature hope for.
Services we offer:
The Translation Project is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to bring Iranian-inspired literary and multimedia projects to audiences around the world. Because the US book market and publisher practices–which we do not control–allow for very few translations, the reality is that very few literary works from Iran get translated into English and published, far less than the number we would like to see. At the Translation Project, after an extensive editorial process and fundraising, we edited and translated, BELONGING: New Poetry by Iranians Around the World, published by North Atlantic Books (August 2008). We have also produced collaborative multimedia art projects based on Iranian literature and culture for added exposure, encouraging the integration of Iranian culture into public consciousness.
We are not a publishing house, nor can we sponsor the translation of the numerous unsolicited submissions we receive. However, we do provide translation, editorial and proposal writing services, and refer the requests we receive to professionals to proceed with at their own discretion.
We offer translation and editorial services at standard market rates:
-The fee for professional literary translation is generally $100 to $250 per 1000 (English) words, depending on the nature and complexity of the original text.
-Editorial services, which can include proposal writing, co-writing/translation, and others services, are listed on the Editorial Freelancers Association site are as follows:
In exceptional cases, a translator might agree to a different fee if he or she feels strongly about the work and believes it stands a good chance of being matched with a publisher. In those instances, writers and translators can seek funding assistance from organizations that offer grants and awards to literary translation projects. A list of these organizations is available through The American Literary Translators Association (ALTA) and the PEN American Center. Both these organizations can also provide writers with names of potential translators.
Translators, when working with a living writer, work closely with the writer to fully grasp the style, structure and substance of his or her work, and they often do their best work when they are entrusted with the final decision in creating the English text. It is therefore essential for writers to select a translator whose work they believe in and who they can trust to make those ultimate decisions in rendering their work into English.
We would be happy to quote you a fee after examining your text and assessing your needs. Please send us and email with such inquiries.