Before we go any further, let me admit straight up that this is a bit of an ambitious title. Nevertheless, it is the title of a panel discussion I will be part of at the upcoming Guadalajara International Book Fair, on Tuesday, November 29, at 11:30 a.m.

cabeza_filTogether with three other panelists–Paula Arturo, Stacy McKenna and Patricia Oliver–we will certainly do our best to cover many points, in order to orient and illuminate both translators and editors about what to expect and how we can best work together.

Moderator Catherine Pizani will lead the discussion, addressing topics such as how to choose a translator, how to negotiate a contract and timelines, and the future of literary translation.

Beyond offering specific answers to each of these questions, the point we most want to make is that the translator-editor relationships is a partnership, one that can benefit both sides as long as there is open communication and understanding between the parties.

As translators, we want to make sure our editors fully appreciate the work that goes into a translation, the time it takes to do the best possible job, the rights we should be afforded and the contract conditions that are appropriate. Conversely, we must understand that editors have tight production schedules, that there are multiple steps and players involved in producing a book, that translation is not the only line item in their budget and that publishers have rights, too.

While we each come from a different perspective and may each have different needs, ultimately we both want to bring books to the reading public. Ours is a common goal, one we can only accomplish if we work together.

If both translators and editors are open to hearing what the other side needs or expects and we are willing to compromise where possible, our relationship is sure to be smooth, fruitful and lasting.

If you are a writer, translator or editor attending the Fair, please do come to the panel and share your perspective during the question and answer portion!

If you’re unable to attend, what point would you most like to see addressed in terms of the editor-translator relationship? What are some best practices you use and would like to share?

Lisa Carter is an acclaimed Spanish>English translator. Her work has won the Alicia Gordon Award for Word Artistry in Translation and been nominated for an International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. Lisa offers translation, editing and consulting services through her company, Intralingo Inc., at