Building a dialogue with publishers


Oh, publishers! Friends or foes?

A little bit of both maybe, but, in the end, they are translators’ main inevitable working partners.

So it’s also matter of mindset, really, if you want to think of your constant partner as an enemy or as an interlocutor. Dialogue with publishers can bring associations development opportunities for better working conditions and raise the profile of the profession.

Have you already tried these?

  • Encourage your members as often as possible to negotiate with their publishers and to establish a personal relationship.
  • Look for publishers’ associations and research their activity.
  •  Identify the publishers your members mostly work with and:
    • Find common goal for translators and publishers;
    • Befriend the editors.
  • Smaller publishers are easier to build a dialogue with.
  • Think what you would like to ask from the publishers and then what you are realistically in position to ask from the publishers, depending on your association’s current status (number of members, public image, feasibility etc)
  • Organise public events together: talks, university visits, book fair and literary festivals participations etc.

It is important to keep in mind that changes might take a long time to happen, months, even years, sometimes. Also important to note that, though common agreements may be reached between translators’ and publishers’ organisations, it will be necessary afterwards to monitor the situation case by case, in order to check if changes are actually implemented.

If the friendly approach doesn’t work, there is also the strike option, as a last solution, if your local context allows it.

Check out some of these success stories:

Norwegian translators’s work to rule action in 2006

Groundbreaking contractual agreement with independent publishers in Italy