October 13, 2015 Last Updated 8:43 am

Amazon’s translation imprint announces $10 million initiative

AmazonCrossing’s investment will be paid translators over the next five years and increasing the countries and languages represented

This makes a world of sense to me: Amazon announced a $10 million initiative to increase the number of translated books the online retailer will be able to offer. Amazon is, in essence, simply going where the content already exists, but is not available in certain languages.

As part of the effort, Amazon has launched a new website where authors, agents and publishers can suggest titles for translation, letting others do their legwork for them.

This should be a reminder, if one were necessary, that content already available in one form, is often even more valuable if used in another. Sure, translating from one language to another opens up new markets. But so does taking magazine archives and creating books and eBooks, or other such uses of existing content. I open toured an office of a magazine where the editor bragged up the years and years of great articles and photography they had, but asked what they were doing with that content all he could do was pull out a file cabinet drawer and show me the clippings. Doing anything with that great content was, in their words, too much work.

Here, Amazon lets others do most of the work (like Apple depending on its developers to populate new app stores), only having to pay the translators to create the new products.

Here is Amazon’s announcement for its AmazonCrossing initiative:

SEATTLE, Wash. – October 13, 2015 — In celebration of its fifth year, AmazonCrossing, the literary translation imprint of Amazon Publishing, today announced a $10 million commitment over the next five years to increase the number and diversity of its books in translation. AmazonCrossing is one of the largest publishers of translated literature in the United States, with 77 titles from 15 countries and 12 languages to be published in the United States in 2015. Today’s announced investment will go toward fees paid to translators over the next five years and increasing the countries and languages represented on the AmazonCrossing list, which since 2010 has included more than 200 titles by authors from 29 countries writing in 19 languages.

AmazonCrossing-400To support this growing commitment to books in translation, AmazonCrossing editors today opened a new website for authors, agents and publishers to suggest titles for translation at translation.amazon.com/submissions. AmazonCrossing is now accepting submissions in mystery, thriller, women’s fiction, historical fiction, literary fiction, memoir, science fiction and fantasy categories. In addition to this new streamlined process for submissions, AmazonCrossing editors will accept submissions for translation consideration in person at the Frankfurt Book Fair on October 14th from 11:00 am-1:00 pm in Hall 3.0, K31.

“We launched AmazonCrossing five years ago to introduce readers to voices of the world through English-language translations of foreign-language books. While we are now one of the largest publishers of translated literature in the United States, translated fiction is still a tiny fraction of new publications. Today we are committing $10 million to translations to bring more international writers to new audiences,” said Sarah Jane Gunter, Publisher of AmazonCrossing and General Manager of International Publishing. “Our new website for submissions will help us cast a broader net in finding great books for translation, with the hope of increasing the number of acquisitions from countries that are traditionally underrepresented in translation.”

Over the past five years, AmazonCrossing has published significant works such as German author Oliver Pötzsch’s million-copy best-selling Hangman’s Daughter series, Korean author Bae Suah’s acclaimed novella Nowhere to Be Found and Turkish author Ayse Kulin’s Kindle best seller Last Train to Istanbul. The 2016 list will continue a commitment to translating books by exceptional foreign-language authors including award-winning and best-selling Mexican author of Like Water for Chocolate Laura Esquivel. Her novel Pierced by the Sun, a gripping tale of murder and redemption translated from Spanish by Jordi Castells, will be published in June 2016. In July 2016, AmazonCrossing will publish award-winning Polish crime writer Zygmunt Miloszewski’s Rage, translated from Polish by Antonia Lloyd-Jones, winner of the 2014 Paszport Polityka prize for literature.

  • Paul Warambo 2 years ago

    This is a good initiative. I want to be part of the translators handling English to Swahili language pair

  • ANH PEARSON 2 years ago

    This is a nice project! I would like to be a part of the translators handling English to Vietnamese language pair.