Digital books (more commonly known as eBooks) and whitepapers are popular. This makes sense; it’s relatively little work to write and publish one. So in this respect it’s actually a shame if you’ve created a winner and only make it available in one language or country. Have your eBook or whitepaper translated and use this handy checklist!

You can obviously translate your eBook yourself. With a little help from Google Translate you can come a long way. Right? Yes, in theory this is completely true. In practice, however, you’ll see that the result is not as good. Translating is not a matter of literally converting words into another language. It’s much more than that. It’s a profession. In this blog post you’ll learn how your eBook or whitepaper can be translated in such a way that it makes an impression. Where you want it, the way you want it, and for whomever you want it.

✓ A good time schedule

An eBook, e-paper or whitepaper usually consists of a substantial amount of words. Translating your eBook is not a job that can be done within an hour. So it would be good to have a time schedule in place. Translation agencies that stand for quality and therefore work with human translators — instead of machines — calculate a maximum number of words per day. That maximum also depends, among other things, on the difficulty level of the text. If the text you’re translating is very difficult, you will do fewer words per day. After all, doing a good job takes time.

✓ Translate or localise your eBook?

Having an eBook or whitepaper translated – Handy checklist

You have two choices when it comes down to translations; translate by converting the text into the target language or having the texts localised. The first option speaks for itself and we will explain the second option.

If you’ve written an eBook about the tastiest snacks, it may be that your literally translated eBook isn’t necessarily a hit in Mexico. In the UK the traditional snack “Pigs in a blanket” is hugely appreciated, but it doesn’t exactly stand an excellent chance outside the UK borders. No matter how well you translate it — the content just doesn’t catch on. If you have a text localised, the translator will change the content into something that fits. By writing about enchiladas, for example. And not by simply replacing the words “Pigs in a blanket”, but by creating a text that will appeal to your target audience.

In addition, localisation is about nuances. An English joke can fall completely flat in another country. A translator immediately sees this and turns it into a joke that will make the average reader laugh. But also units such as euros, pounds, kilometres, miles and even area codes for your telephone number are correctly converted. After all, it does come in useful if your contact details for your foreign target group are correct.

Localising an eBook or whitepaper is more specialist work than just translating. Always consider carefully whether your texts need to be translated or localised. Not sure? Then our Project Managers will be happy to share some ideas with you.

✓ Determine the tone of voice of your company

You’ve worked on your eBook or whitepaper with care and if things worked out well, it became exactly what you hoped it would be. Or maybe even better. If you’re having your text translated, you want it to be at least as good. So, create a style guide with a translator briefing:

• Describe the writing style and tone of voice, as in ‘only use short sentences with a maximum of 30 words, do not use exclamation marks, always write numbers in full, use a personal, accessible and informal writing style.’
• Indicate which specific technical terms you want to use (and those you absolutely do not).
• Write down what you think the translator should be aware of.

In fact, all of your wishes (except winning the lottery and other non-text related dreams) should be reflected in your style guide. So feel free to use it to the fullest!

✓ Find the right translator

The last and perhaps most important point for translating your eBook or whitepaper is to find the right translator. You won’t find a good translator just like that. Chances are that it will not be the first one you come across. The right translator must, in any case, meet 3 requirements.

1. The right tone of voice for your translated eBook

What if you choose a translator who doesn’t suit your tone of voice? Then your image is at stake. That’s why it’s not smart to have texts translated automatically. It’s really not a matter of cranking up Google Translate and taking your text through it. Your text may have been translated, but the quality often leaves something to be desired. In addition, your target group may not enjoy the readability of your eBook at all. A human translator doesn’t just replace the affirmative “ja” with “yes” — he or she will translate your eBook in such a way that it makes for pleasant reading and conveys the message as it was intended.

2. A translator who can work with the correct file format

eBooks and whitepapers come in different formats. From ePub to PDF and HTML. Not all translators work with all file formats. So look for a translator who has experience in yours.

3. A translator with experience in your industry or sector

Your eBook or whitepaper probably has a very clear subject and falls within a specific industry or sector. A good translation is only possible if the translator actually understands what it says. That’s why we work with native translators who specialise in specific industries or sectors, have a university education and with more than enough translation experience.

Would you like to know more about translating your eBook or whitepaper?

Have you written an excellent eBook and do you want those beyond our borders to enjoy it as well? Can be done! Our native translators will gladly convert your eBook or whitepaper into another language. Whether you’re an author, publisher, educational institution or company.

Would you like more information or would you like to receive a non-binding quote? Get in touch and within 2 hours a quote will land on your digital doorstep.