My motivation was to self-publish an out-out-of print book in translation, but you may like to convert a print-only book into a digital copy for another reason when there is no digital copy available
The scanning process and how I dealt with yellowish book paper
The original translation had been on a floppy disk, but as this is an outdated medium, I had thrown it away at some point and did not save the content anywhere else, because I never expected I might want to use it one day.
I do own a print copy of the book, and I thought it would be easy to scan since I am using the latest Microsoft Office version that allows you to convert scanned PDFs into word files. Unfortunately, the not so white paper made the process more labour-intensive.
I ended up scanning the book with my multifunction printer, copying and pasting the text into a word file. Many mistakes occurred during this process, and another thorough proofreading process was necessary, although it has to be said that you will always find at least some errors in scanned texts.
Why I edited the translation again
I didn’t mind the additional thorough proofreading process too much because I was planning to revise the translation anyway. First of all, I did this because my translation skills had improved over the years and I knew I could make it better.
The second reason for the revision was the fact that the original editor had changed part of my translation to a rather formal language, which I found inappropriate for this novel. Back then, I couldn’t do anything about it, but as I am now holding the translation copyright, I was able to make changes.
This shows you that it is not just the translator who can create a different style than that of the original but an editor can sometimes contribute to this issue as well if he or she has the authority and wish to make major stylistic changes. This can sometimes drastically change the way how a book is perceived by readers in the other language.
A surprising discovery regarding German book formatting
Then I discovered something else only because I had to scan the book: I noticed inverted commas had been formatted «like this» in the German traditionally published version.
When I double-checked with other German self-published books, in almost all of them, inverted commas were formatted „this way‟ which is the usual formatting in most German documents, but not in traditional publishing, and I was surprised to notice that most self-publishers, including myself, never seemed to notice.
Doing it „like this‟ is not wrong and some people might even prefer it, but I think «this other version» looks better and more professional in books and I will definitely do it this way again, whenever I self-publish another book in German.
Digital copy important for print version as well
The e-book of “Knowing Sophie – die Unbekannte” is now available (of course only in German, though) and for a short while at a reduced price.
My next job will now be to create a self-published print book, and for this purpose, I will need the digital copy as well.
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