Deadly games, a blaze, and a song: book titles in translation

Speaking from experience, it is often incredibly difficult to come up with a good title for a book. A buzzword we often use is ‘catchy’. But what makes for a catchy title? And what are the implications for other markets? Once you’ve decided on what you proudly think is the best book title anyone has ever come up with, your job is done. Or is it? Unfortunately, there’s a chance that somewhere in the world there’s a publisher who has acquired the translation rights for this great book with this even greater title. Then suddenly a brilliant translator informs them that a word for word translation won’t work: maybe a word or expression doesn’t exist in the target language, or the syntax is too different, or maybe it just wouldn’t appeal to the target market which has different cultural values, tastes, and preferences. Now what? You have to come up with something that works!

Read more: Oxford Dictionaries

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