A few days ago, I presented my second Proz.com webinar. It was called How to Self-Publish Your Translations. If you unfortunately missed the live presentation, a recording is now available for purchase at the website.
There were about 40 attendees and we talked about what, how, and where you can select the material you'd like to translate and publish all by yourself. We discussed copyright issues, how to put an attractive book cover together, the interactivity provided by ebooks, and how to market the finished product.
At the end of the session, I was able to answer a few questions, but would like to expand on them here, adding links to some resources, and also address questions I've received after the presentation.
How do I know if a book is in public domain?
Public domain laws are different in each country, so the first thing you need to do is study your target audience to learn about the local legislation. One good place to start and learn about the subject in relation to the U.S. market is a webpage maintained by the Cornell University, which summarizes different publishing categories. There is also more in-depth information on a dedicated Wikipedia page, and an article about The Great Gatsby, which as of 2013 was NOT in the public domain, despite the fact that author F. Scott Fitzgerald had died 73 years earlier.
How can I find public domain material to translate?
The main place you want to go is the Gutenberg Project. If a book is available there, it's because the author has passed away quite a few decades ago and their work is now open to the public. There is also a website called Translationum, which is kept by UNESCO and compiles all translations published worldwide. Other sources include FeedBooks, OpenLibrary, and Internet Archive.
Where can I go to publish my own books?
Keep in mind that there are several book-publishing websites out there, so browse through your options and weigh in your costs, as in whether you'd have to order a proofing copy, and how much each website keeps as commission on each book sold. Once you find an arrangement that works for you, go ahead and submit your work to start going through the self-publishing process. The most well-known options are Amazon Createspace and Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing for print-on-demand and digital books, respectively, followed by Lulu, Smashwords, Book Baby, and iBooks for Mac users.
Where can I find copyright-free images to use as book covers?
You may be aware that you cannot use any image you find online in your websites, marketing materials and books. So, in order to be safe and not violate someone else's copyright-protected work, make sure you find images that are free to use for commercial purposes (i.e. selling your own books) while mentioning the original author in the credits. Here are some websites you can browse for copyright-free images: Public Domain Archive, Unsplash, MorgueFile, ISO Republic, PixaBay, Death to Stock Photo, New Old Stock, Super Famous Studios, PicJumbo, Gratisography, Free Refe, ImCreator, Jay Mantri, Magdeleine, Foodie's Feed, Picography, and Raumrot.
RAFA LOMBARDINO is a translator and journalist from Brazil who lives in California. She is the author of "Tools and Technology in Translation ― The Profile of Beginning Language Professionals in the Digital Age," which is based on her UCSD Extension class. Rafa has been working as a translator since 1997 and, in 2011, started to join forces with self-published authors to translate their work into Portuguese and English. In addition to acting as content curator at eWordNews, a collective blog about translation and literature, she also runs Word Awareness, a small network of professional translators, and coordinates Contemporary Brazilian Short Stories (CBSS), a project to promote Brazilian literature worldwide.*