First, I would like to set out my credentials to the translators and narrators reading this article.
I have been writing for many years, but before that, I was a translator of six languages into English. Then audiobooks began to take off in about 2018, but I am a little dyslexic, and so am a hesitant, unreliable reader.
However, I have written 175 books, and I got into translating them quite quickly. So, to sum up, I have about 800 publications in forty languages as I am writing this piece.
Translators and Narrators
I am indebted to many translators and narrators for getting us to this point. For I truly believe that big things can only come from co-operation.
Having said that, very few of those translators and narrators have earned enough to draw a payment from the publishers It saddens me greatly, and this is the point of this article.
Why is that?
After years of thought on the matter, I am convinced that it has to do with out-dated, old-fashioned snobbery. Sorry, guys, but in the good old days, translators and narrators went to university, got a good job, performed it and earned their money per job or per week. They had a status.
However, nowadays, a lot of these guys are out of a job, and are taking gigs translating and narrating books privately. All well and good, but who is going to sell these books?
Previously, it did not concern them. That was the client’s responsibility.
Sales and Marketing
The translators and narrators have no experience. In fact, in many societies, selling is considered menial. It is not something that a university graduates think they should have to stoop to.
My point is that those days have gone!
Many translators and narrators rely on the author to sell their product, but talking from my own experience, I don’t know anyone in most of the languages that my books exist in.
I may know two or three Arabs, a couple of Hindus, a few Spanish people, a Dutchman and a German, but I can’t sell enough books to that little lot to keep a hundred people going! Not with the best will I the world.
The only people who do know enough are the translators and narrators!
They have to sell the books or no books get sold!
Having said that, the author has to provide all the marketing material and support necessary to enable success, and translators and narrators have to climb down from their high horses and accept that the world has changed, and that sales and marketing are not dirty words.