I’ve spoken about Cory Doctorow before – he is the foremost advocate for the new online publishing paradigm. And I’ll keep talking about him while he’s experimenting with online media. Recently he blogged about all the free translations of his books. The books are released under a Creative Commons license, so they are free for all to translate into their language of choice as long as the translation adheres to the CC licence.
This is smart internets. Facebook famously and successfully translated their interface in a similar manner for a reason – it works. And as Cory riffs repeatedly (originally in 2006):
That’s because my biggest threat as an author isn’t piracy, it’s obscurity. The majority of ideal readers who fail to buy my book will do so because they never heard of it, not because someone gave them a free electronic copy.
I think translators should be taking note of this concept. And now you can see the quality of some translators via their translation of Cory’s works. It’s essentially the same as free and open source software (and lets face it, a lot of great punk bands) – get known by virtue of your work, it’s the easiest way to prove yourself.