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Crowdfunding Translations

Andro

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I am currently attempting to come up with a 'system' of sorts to 'solve' all these translation-related dilemmas.

I have so far located two Professional Translators (one from German to English and the other one from French to English), who are also Alchemists and also connected with other Alchemists for double/triple checking. The work of the first translator already speaks for itself, the second translator (who is NOT a member of this Forum) still needs to be verified.

First, a text is chosen, one in which more than just a small handful of people are interested in.
The text should also be one that the translator agrees to work on, with all the much needed dedication.

If it works out, what I suggest is to create a 'pool' of compensation money (somewhat similar to crowdfunding).
The asked amount would be decided by the people involved with the actual work (i.e. the Translator/s, etc).

The asked amount will be made public, a special account would be established and entrusted to someone that all parties agree to consider trustworthy & reliable, and the interested parties will 'donate'/'support this account' until the specified amount is reached, to make sure that nobody looses money AND that a good translation results.

If the amount is met within an established time frame, an approximate deadline would be set and the work would commence.

AFTER the translation job is done, the money from the 'trust' account is transferred to the Translator/s and the Translation is uploaded to the Internet, where everyone can download it 'for free', thanks to the support of the Patrons who donated to the account.

IF, however, the amount is not reached, the donations would be returned to the Patrons and the translation will simply not happen.

The translations would also be in simple PDF format (no hard copies), thus bypassing printing houses/costs, shipping and middle-man fees.

Some sort of contractual agreement could also be drawn, to pre-eliminate any possible breaches and/or misunderstandings.

This concept is not quite polished yet, it's just a raw draft, but I would be interested to hear if you guys think such an arrangement could actually work out.
 

Illen A. Cluf

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This concept is not quite polished yet, it's just a raw draft, but I would be interested to hear if you guys think such an arrangement could actually work out.

The general concept sounds interesting. The only problem (as always) is base (crass) human nature - the huge percentage of people who want anything for free, even if they can afford some sponsorship. Rather than contributing a few dollars (coffee money) to support the cause, they rely on others to sponsor their own selfish needs. Thus they will wait for it to become free rather than make even a token contribution. That really limits the amount of sponsors who don't feel like sponsoring the selfish.

Thus it might be better to password protect the final PDF, and if anyone wants a copy, they pay a small nominal, affordable fee (say $5), plus sign an agreement not to share the document with others, for the password. The sum of the small fees could go back to help sponsor the next project.

Just thinking out loud.

Illen
 
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Andro

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Good ideas, Illen!

This was the kind of development I was hoping for...

As I said, I just suggested a 'draft'... It's open to improvements!

Thus it might be better to password protect the final PDF, and if anyone wants a copy, they pay a small nominal, affordable fee (say $5), plus sign an agreement not to share the document with others, for the password.

Yet, since you mentioned 'human nature', there would (most likely) always be someone who will (maybe) pay the small fee and then put it up for 'free' download...

That's why I suggested the 'arrangement' the way that I did, also hoping that if a small (but significant enough) number of potential Patrons is interested, we could bypass the rest of the 'human nature' factor altogether...
 

Kiorionis

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Have you ever heard of Kickstarter?

It is similar to the idea presented in you OP Andro.

A friend of mine used it to produce one of his music albums. The idea is, whoever is interested donates money and if enough is raised by the 'deadline', then the funds are transfered. If not, then the project isn't funded. Apparently he was satisfied with how it worked.

At least that's how I remember it being explained. Might be a system worth looking into to cover the cost of translation/publication.
 
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Illen A. Cluf

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That's why I suggested the 'arrangement' the way that I did, also hoping that if a small (but significant enough) number of potential Patrons is interested, we could bypass the rest of the 'human nature' factor altogether...

Yeah, I realized that, but thought that the small fee wouldn't really hurt anybody and would encourage more sponsors and also help to support additional projects. Even though one or two may be unethical, break their promise and share the document publicly, hopefully there would still be enough others supporting the project to help build the pot a little. Also, it would be more difficult to admit (and share) the existence of a password than it would if the document did not have one. More people would likely think twice about either sharing or receiving a password-protective document than one that was not protected. Thus it wouldn't prevent, but at least limit unethical distribution. Think of it as similar, in a way, to renting a Movie DVD. The minimal fee allows one to borrow and watch a DVD that others have paid a lot more to own. Some people will still copy it and give it to others, but there will still be enough ethical people who will rent it for the small fee. In this case, people will even be able to own it for the small fee.
 

JDP

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Speaking from lots of experience on the subject, I can say that finding a professional translator who has a very good knowledge of both English and German and can provide an adequate translation of old German texts, specially on alchemy and chymistry, is VERY difficult. It took me several years to find just two of them who performed well enough for me to hire them, and even then I had to basically still "train" them to get familiar with the "lingo" of alchemy/chymistry.
 
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Andro

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1. No one is 'at the helm'. Perhaps we can see it more as a joint effort/Cooperation.

2. No one is forcing anyone to participate.

3. I have suggested two possible translators for this potential enterprise. They are the only ones I know. If there are others, let them come forward... or be introduced...

4. If there are issues of a more personal nature between previously involved parties, PM is the way to go.
The non-personal (professional-related) position has been clarified from JDP's side.
For strictly professional-related issues with the specific translations, please go to the threads dealing with the respective texts (not on this thread, please).
Also, 'Reason' and 'Common Sense' can often be very relative/subjective terms - so no need for 'name calling'.

5. Personally, I don't believe in such a thing as a 'perfect' translation. Even 'normal' texts are often difficult to translate, let alone the multi-layered lingo of 'Hermeneutics'...

6. Maybe we can evolve from this, and, instead of 'finding fault', actually try to cooperate harmoniously, put egos aside, on ALL involved sides, and get better results in doing so.

7. Maybe 2 (or more) translators could even work together on a project... There are lots of options, we just need to be open to them...
______________________________________________
Or maybe this whole thing was a bad idea to begin with...
 

JDP

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1. No one is 'at the helm'. Perhaps we can see it more as a joint effort/Cooperation.

Obviously one or two of the translators will have to be the one/s coordinating the projects, and therefore "at the helm", so to speak.

2. No one is forcing anyone to participate.
I know, but for the benefit of all people who might be interested (including myself) I thought these comments I wrote ought to be considered.


Also, 'Reason' and 'Common Sense' can often be very relative/subjective terms - so no need for 'name calling'.
In some contexts there is no such "relativity", logic and common sense are one and only one anywhere and by the standards of anyone in his right mind. In this case, if a translator refuses to go over his own translation to attempt to correct whatever problems there may be in his work, and he/she is fully aware that his/her product is not perfect, then that translator is not working according to common sense and logic.

And it is not "name-calling". I attempted to work with "sam" on a translation recently and I found him refusing to work in an appropriate manner for a translator, making unreasonable demands and refusing to go over his own work. That's why our "experiment" in such cooperation work did not get any farther.

5. Personally, I don't believe in such a thing as a 'perfect' translation. Even 'normal' texts are often difficult to translate, let alone the multi-layered lingo of 'Hermeneutics'...
Neither do I, therefore the more reason to be very cautious of working with someone who does not want, or needs "permission" from mysterious third parties, to go over his own translations after they have been reviewed and feedback sent back to him for discussion and possible correction or improvement.

6. Maybe we can evolve from this, and, instead of 'finding fault', actually try to cooperate harmoniously, put egos aside, on ALL involved sides, and get better results in doing so.
It's fine with me, but I am not the one who needs an attitude or work-plan change. I have been working with German and Arabic translators for years now. I know very well how to work with them, and there simply is no better way than the one described above, specially for complicated subjects like alchemy & chymistry: translator makes preliminary translation, submits it for review, gets feedback, answers questions/comments, if necessary corrections are made, and finally a more polished translation is arrived at. This is the best modus operandi. Anyone refusing to work like this simply does not have what it takes to be a good translator.


Or maybe this whole thing was a bad idea to begin with...
The idea is good, I have been proposing it for years, but it's just too difficult to get enough people who will contribute. As Illen A. Cluf explained before, most people lose interest quickly as soon as it starts involving their pockets. Unfortunately for those who want everything for free, translations do not grow on trees, so it is absolutely necessary to invest time and money to get them done.
 
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Illen A. Cluf

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Or maybe this whole thing was a bad idea to begin with...

No, as a past and potential contributor to several books, I think that it's a necessary topic that's long overdue. My main surprise is that only four of us have joined this discussion so far - I'm very thankful to the three of you. I suspect that most members are likely bored at work and only post there on Company time and therefore we see so few posts on weekends from the more serious students of the art. Also, so few seem to realize the amount of effort and devotion that authors take to make material available to them, since most of it has become free after some individuals break authors' conditions or Copyright Protection to distribute works, thereby removing much potential opportunity for authors to recover their costs. This applies to other media as well, such as music and movies. There's widespread copying of Copyright material, causing products to increase sharply in price and discouraging many authors and artists from publishing.

As mentioned earlier, that is one reason why we currently hesitate to publish the "Recreations Hermetiques and Scholies" (which provides a most valuable perspective) and other works in progress. The concerns discussed by a previous author of the "Thirteen Secret Letters" is a real concern. Human greed is also a real concern, and from my perspective it has increased sharply over the last few decades as selfish greed increases and moral ethics decreases. It's great to maintain a positive attitude with respect to human behavior, but that positive attitude has done nothing to improve the situation over the years. Tolerance has only made it worse. People now EXPECT and DEMAND others to slave for them for free so that they can benefit their lazy asses while the contributor spends countless hours of time, resources and money of his/her own to provide that benefit for the greedy-minded, often without so much as a "Thank you". I know, because it has already happened to me numerous times. The more you share, the more that people take advantage of you and abuse the conditions of that sharing. I don't mind making material available for others, but I do mind when it continually costs me (and other authors/translators) plenty of personal time, resources and money to do so, especially when often there is almost no appreciation whatsoever.

I have therefore only tended to share the results of much of my work over the years amongst a few trusted friends. I wish it could be otherwise, but as you can see, only the four of us, out of what, hundreds of members?, have even bothered to share our thoughts.

Let's hope that others will join in with their thoughts.
 
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sam

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Hi Andro,

I see you churned on our little discussion re: crowdfunding. Very good. I have of course also digested the stuff but haven't come up with a fully satisfying (or rather polished enough) version for public consumption, so for today I wont discuss it here any further.

IF there are issues with any of my books / translation I am more than willing to look at them and of course let necessary correction be made to the book(s). Anyone going to the respective LULU page can see that "Naturweg" is now in its 14th incarnation, so quite a few changes have already be made.

I hope to find time tomorrow to work on my crowdfunding version and will then add this here as appropriate. Today our little group has a Skype discussion round for which I have yet to translate a longish text, so that has priority.

-sam
 
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Dendritic Xylem

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I wish it could be otherwise, but as you can see, only the four of us, out of what, hundreds of members?, have even bothered to share our thoughts.

Let's hope that others will join in with their thoughts.

There are others interested in this discussion...but not all of us have something constructive/productive to add to the thread. So I'm eagerly lurking. :eek:
 

Andro

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I have carefully read everyone's input so far, and of course there are lots of valid points on all sides.

I am well aware of the ethical angle (of scanning/uploading after someone else has done all the work), but what I am much more concerned with, is to have a 'system' in place that achieves these two main goals:

1. Obtain high quality translations of well-chosen and sought-after texts.

2. Make sure that the ones actually doing the work are duly compensated, within an adequate framework of 'checks and balances'.

Everything else is (IMO) up for discussion and rectification - ethically, professionally, logistically and inter-personally.

So why don't we bury old hatches, admit we're not 'perfect' and that there is no 'one single/best way' to accomplish this, start a new page and actually attempt to COOPERATE and get good results.

I'm eagerly looking forward to more input/ideas on how to actually implement this, iron out the differences of opinion/perspective and make this suggested project a 'reality'.

And I mean it in the most 'practical' way. As in 'result-oriented' :)

I'm grateful to everyone who has responded so far, and I hope more will join in with ideas and suggestions that we can actually discuss and implement.

Thank you!
 

Salazius

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I think this is a very nice idea.

It's not an easy project, but it worth the pain.

RAMS is already doing this, but the translators work for free. Here it complicates the things because it is not the case.

So, we need a special team, a dedicated page, and a system to sell, afterward, the translation to all person who want a copy.

My preference for such thing is paperback LULU printing. On demand only. Or, a house made print and binding, sent by mail. I know it is not cheap, but the fact is that a translation is not cheap.

Not pdfs. A password can be given with the pdf and the result is that we gather no funds for the future translations.

One person should be in europe for the printing, and another one or two, for US.
They will, of course, have the expenses, mailing, and work covered.

I suggest that everything must be under only one flag, like "AlchemyForums Translations" (AFT) or something alike. My opinion is that the community and the forum should be linked to such thing.

-------------
I have, on my side, a french translator able to translate german and old german into french. But I guess it is not relevant here since you want english versions.
This person works for publishing house (Sesheta Editions) and works very well.

So this person could probably help for some technical terms.
--------------

Another option would be this :

Only the persons interested on the books/paper to translate will give money for the translator. The more we are, the less the price by person will be high. They get their copy/pdf, whatever.

If people are interested afterward by such a books, they'll pay for a paper version/printed (less susceptibe to be pirated/copied and share freely). The money will be splited unto the first "sponsors" up to the point they are refunded.

When refunded, the money of such sales are given for future translations or for the forum expenses.

------------
I was also thinking about such a "purse" for the AlchemyForums Congresses, because some of us are very far and spend a lot of money in the travelling.
 

sam

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Have you ever heard of Kickstarter?

It is similar to the idea presented in you OP Andro.

From my own experience I have to agree with the "base human nature" argument.

The "crowdfunding" model however would defy such behavior by design. The translator would ONLY work if the TOTAL amount is already in the pot so to speak.
It would be a nice extra to then also publish it as a printed work and sell it, but even if that eventually got scanned and uploaded for "free" nobody would be unduly hurt (like I was in the Naturweg case).

I would also suggest to make the printed version EXPENSIVE rather than cheap. I have observed that people who know the value of this work are willing to shell out 50 or even 100 bucks for a book whichs translation, if done solely for them, would cost 20 times that money. The cheap characters will never pay that kind of money (unless they create a mafia style cooperation - but thats far fetched). Thats saves us from "uploads" indefinitely.

However, I would also consider that after a grace period, may that be 5 or even 10 years, the document should be made available for free thru RAMS or a similar function.

As much as I disagree with JDP on other issues, here we will likely have common ground, as he has paid heftily for his translations AFAIK. And on another issue: There should be a coordinator - if not this will likely not really take off as in my own experience over 6 decades functional services work thru responsible people and "socialism" usually doesnt work very well.

Because I am one of the 2 translators Andro pointed at and because I am a "computer guy" with my own server and some 20 years experience in server management I could easily install crowdfunding software exclusively for alchemical purposes. There are various versions, some are even free (but I had a look and the paid versions do offer many advantages so I would go for that because it saves a lot of time in the long run).

If someone else out there wants to do it - no problem. I am interested to get the dice rolling, even if another person owns the dice :)

-sam
 

sam

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........
When refunded, the money of such sales are given for future translations or for the forum expenses.

------------
I was also thinking about such a "purse" for the AlchemyForums Congresses, because some of us are very far and spend a lot of money in the travelling.

I would disagree. The function should be free of any mandatory association with this or any other forum. There are quite a few forums out there and a translation will need all the support it can get. Undue loyalties to one platform can only hinder here. also forums do die. Translators also die but usually at a later date. The copyright remains with the translator unless its a paid contract work (which is wont be if done thru crowdfunding). Unless its not crowd but forum-members-funding which I would not support for reasons mentioned above.

This is how crowd funding works: you basically DONATE funds, which are only paid back in case the work is NEVER done. If, however it IS done you receive your PERK, which in this case obviously would be the printed book.
For that reason there must also be a minimum amount for any entry into the funding system, which should reflect the later market price of the book, which, for reasons mentioned above, should be relatively high.

So we basically set up a system where people WHO KNOW THE VALUE OF THE WORK come together to make it happen for their immediate own gain, and at a much later point in time, to the gain OF THE ENTIRE COMMUNITY (after said 5 or 10 years).

I think that would be very workable as approach - say my "fee" for the Naturweg would be $ 2000,-, which is relatively low considering the work, only 20 people would have to pay $ 100,-. If we can not come up with 20 people the work is likely not worth the effort.

Of course if there is one rich patron who wants the book, no matter what, he can just chip in the total or missing amount and be done with it.

-sam
 

Andro

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To Salazius: Too complicated IMO.

Lulu, printing costs, etc... all this can be bypassed, and this has been already tried before, with the translators loosing money.

So I still say:

FIRST raise the funds for currently pending projects.

IF the funds are raised by the Patrons, then the work begins, not otherwise.

Once the work is finished and checked, the funds are transferred to the translator/s.

The work is uploaded in PDF form. Whoever wants a hard copy, can go to LULU/elsewhere and have one made (I think).

Eventually, someone will either scan or upload 'for free', so the point I'm making is to raise the funds BEFORE the work begins.

Future projects can be treated the same way. Funds raised first, then work. No need to 'set aside' for future projects, as this is a per-project concept.
Of course, anything raised above the asked amount can be either kept for future projects, or given as a bonus to the translators, etc...

But I still suggest to upload 'for free' after the work is done, with a donation option which would of course go into the reserve fund.

The nice 'trick' here is that, no matter how much people want to have everything for free, IF the amount is not reached, nobody will have anything!

So, hopefully, genuinely interested people will realize that it's better to donate smaller amounts in larger numbers than to have nothing at all.

Am I giving humanity too much credit?

And for those who prefer to have it ALL 'for free', I say let them have it and see what good it does them :)

Again, my main concerns are that we have good translations and that the translators receive proper compensation.

The rest seems less important to me (pdf or hard copy, charge later for downloads or not, etc...)
 

sam

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Once the work is finished and checked, the funds are transferred to the translator/s.

Problem: I would not work under such conditions - if other people were to have a say in the "quality" of the work, it would likely be three times as time consuming. And not necessarily any better.
Also: No translator will work without advance. No translator will submit his work BEFORE receiving payment - unless it is a long and proven relationship with the patron.
You may be able to retain, say 20% - much like its done in house construction. But paying in FULL only after you agree to the quality of the work - that will likely never happen.

The work is uploaded in PDF form. Whoever wants a hard copy, can go to LULU/elsewhere and have one made (I think).
the delivery to the patron can be in any format. whoever has the original word or whatever file can deliver any format easily, including single prints via LULU. It costs near to nothing compared to the input of the patron.


Eventually, someone will either scan or upload 'for free', so the point I'm making is to raise the funds BEFORE the work begins.
that is the definition of crowdfunding

Of course, anything raised above the asked amount can be either kept for future projects, or given as a bonus to the translators, etc...
that will not happen, the software will close the case and inform the associated parties to start the work. However, at a later date the translator CAN have further income thru additional book sales.

and that IS a VERY GOOD thing because I at least would be willing to start working at much lower entry point than if that option would not exist.
Example Naturweg: at least $ 4000,- with no further option - $ 2000,- with that option. Of course other translators may calculate differently and maybe you get a cheap chinese to do it for pennies :p

So, hopefully, genuinely interested people will realize that it's better to donate smaller amounts in larger numbers than to have nothing at all.
based on my experience that will not work. There are a number of intelligent people who know the value of the work - and a TON of idiots who want it for free. There is very little middle ground.

Am I giving humanity too much credit?
as it stands: Yes!


also, look here for add. options:

[link broken]



-sam
 

Andro

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Sam - good points. I haven't thought of these angles, as I obviously lack any sort of experience in this field.

But I still think this is a good discussion, and hopefully a 'system' will/could evolve from it, with which all/most parties can agree...
 

Illen A. Cluf

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RAMS is already doing this, but the translators work for free. Here it complicates the things because it is not the case.
.

That's not quite correct. The people doing translations/transcriptions here are working for much less than free. The point was to try to primarily recover the out of pocket expenses, such as the costs for acquiring the treatise in the first place, costs for having someone design covers for the book, and publishing costs. Any extra amount would go towards the incredible amount of time it takes to do the work.

For example, I once worked on transcribing a long treatise, which had very difficult old handwriting. It took over 300 hours of my time. At say $15 per hour, that means $4,500 of time. Even if one were to make $5 per book, it would take 900 books to cover the time alone. Thus, because of the limited number of people in the alchemical community who are willing to sponsor such work and purchase a book, the translator/transcriber would likely never recover his time, unless he happens to produce a blockbuster.

Therefore, the main concern is the recovery of just the costs associated with publishing the material. Any additional amount recovered would only go towards a very small portion of the time. So it's obvious that the translator/transcriber works for much less than free. In just about all cases it even costs the translator/transcriber money/time out of his/her own pocket to make the material available. So if not enough people contribute, become more ethical in how they obtain this work, or even show appreciation, it greatly discourages a translator/transcriber from doing any further work.
 

Kiorionis

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I'm interested in seeing this idea develop as well. But I'm also unfamiliar with the process. I assume the translation/publication cost depends on which book is being translated?

What other systems are there to raise money besides crowd-funding?
Starting a nonprofit company and fundraising to "preserve and promote the Arts"?

Roughly how much money is needed to be raised to complete the whole process for one book?

And is it best to have one translator working on a project, or more? How many is too many for one work?
 

Awani

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Thus they will wait for it to become free rather than make even a token contribution. That really limits the amount of sponsors who don't feel like sponsoring the selfish.

There are always assholes. Why not include a list of the Patrons in the finished work? At least something of a carrot.

I can print a few copies as I have a publishing company registered, which means I have some ISBN's... so whatever book is made it will at least be forever enshrined in the Swedish Royal Library. ;)

:cool:
 

sam

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I assume the translation/publication cost depends on which book is being translated?

of course -

What other systems are there to raise money besides crowd-funding?
Starting a nonprofit company and fundraising to "preserve and promote the Arts"?


that MIGHT work, but it is unlikely in this unspecific form. usually the concrete issue, in this case one particular book, raises the interest and subsequent payment into the funding pot.


Roughly how much money is needed to be raised to complete the whole process for one book?

that would of course entirely depend on the book. various factor play a role:
1) handwriting or print (the latter is cheaper to transcribe)
2) Print of the end product in a formal way or "nice layout" - the latter costs around 300 $
3) possible unforseeable issues with parts of the book - e.g. with Naturweg the printing of the symbols turned out to be a major stumbling block.
4) The amount of correction due to differing interpretations might make the process more cumbersome. If I myself translate a book I also decide when its ready for publishing. If a crowd decides that it could become a problem.
5) Finaly of course the sheer length is a determining factor.

If you aim at $ 15/h (a meager payment IMO) a book like the naturweg would end up costing roughly 2800$ if printed nicely, less if published formal and as ebook.

And is it best to have one translator working on a project, or more? How many is too many for one work?

that is a good question.
our group that has so far published "for money" 2 books and a few short texts for internal use, works with 3-5 people. One is the native speaker of the original who provides the raw translation and the transcript. then a native speaker of the target language does editorial work and finally several alchemy experts go over the interpretation of difficult or ambiguous parts as well as latin inserts etc.

its quite involved - in the end the text is formatted in a publishing software like adobe indesign and the front & back covers are designed.

LULU as the outlet provides ISBN for free so no worries there. If the number of patrons is known those books can be ordered bulk and are cheap (roughly 1/4 of the sales price).

-sam
 

Kiorionis

Thoth
Magus de Moderatio
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Interesting stuff, sam.

that MIGHT work, but it is unlikely in this unspecific form. usually the concrete issue, in this case one particular book, raises the interest and subsequent payment into the funding pot.

I suppose I was thinking of people outside the alchemical community who want to make charitable donations for the tax breaks involved (at least in the USA).

But that might be on too grand a scale if the goal is just to translate one book that we forum members are interested in having an English translation of.
 

sam

Terrae
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I suppose I was thinking of people outside the alchemical community who want to make charitable donations for the tax breaks involved (at least in the USA).
But that might be on too grand a scale if the goal is just to translate one book that we forum members are interested in having an English translation of.

not at all, the software itself WILL of course allow for such "donations" and they always will be a major aim for those who "advertise" the project.
after some time is is conceivable that a database of wealthy donors exist who may be likely to input more than just the book price. But that will take time to evolve and will also depend on how good the idea as such is accepted. some may think it too progressive or even doubt the quality gained by this process.

to solicit unspecific donations, e.g. for no particular book will be inherently problematic. who decides which project gets the funds? Of course the operational costs of such a platform will have to be recoved too, but that is done thru a percentage out of the total project - at least thats how crowdfunding works in the "real" world.