The role of a ghostwriter in translation
Ghostwriting is a term that many people still confuse with copywriting, which is understandable but not quite correct. Although both concepts are related to writing text, they are completely different in use and their essence. Moreover, ghostwriting is not always possible or even legal.
Ghostwriting is a complicated concept that plays an integral role in today’s world of publishing and communications. While it may be an effective tool for certain people, it must be used carefully and responsibly to avoid ethical issues.
Is it worthwhile to use? This article answers that question.
The synergy between ghostwriters, translators, and localisation experts
A ghostwriter’s mission in translating is to create a smooth and precise representation of the text in a foreign language while keeping the original tone and style of the author. It isn’t the translation of existing content from one language to another, nor the creation of texts, articles, or publications on a given topic, but the most accurate imitation of the person who will sign their name to the publication in the end.
Translation ghostwriters must be excellent linguists who deeply understand both the source and target material and language and many different cultural nuances.
Importantly, such a ghostwriter should cooperate closely with the author to ensure that his text reflects the written work’s essence and intention. At the same time, a translation ghostwriter, as we’ll refer to them for this article, should skilfully bridge the gap between two languages to reach a wider global audience.
In this way, ghostwriters combine tasks from different professions, allowing them to work effectively.
Establishing effective communication channels between parties
A ghostwriter’s success depends on a combination of elements: internal, like skills and experience, and external, like working with others, especially the author.
First, it’s important to establish clear and detailed project goals and expectations. The ghostwriter should understand exactly what the author expects from their work and what topics, styles, and tones should be included. On the other hand, the author should clearly state his needs and expectations from the ghostwriter to avoid misunderstandings and inconsistencies during the work.
Second, create a work plan and schedule for contact. The ghostwriter and author should discuss how often they will meet or talk by phone or email to discuss the progress of the work, ask questions, and resolve any problems. Regular communication is key to keeping the project on track.
This allows the ghostwriter to do their job properly, capturing the essence of the text and providing consistency.
Examples of effective ghostwriting
Typically, a ghostwriter works anonymously, so many examples are not known. However, it’s a common phenomenon, especially in the United States, where it has gained considerable popularity.
Ghostwriters are hired by artists who want to write their autobiographies, by authors of popular books who publish several titles a year, or by singers and politicians because ghostwriters also write lyrics for songs and speeches.
Importantly, they don’t create the concept and artistic vision, as that belongs to the original author, but they make a text on that basis, maintaining consistency, style, and the original narrative. This is why translation ghostwriters can work internationally, as they can move seamlessly between languages and cultural nuances.
Ghostwriters often have extensive knowledge and experience in various fields, allowing them to write on various topics. Consequently, they can satisfy their clients’ expectations and deliver high-quality texts that meet the requirements and are linguistically appropriate for the target audience.
And here are some examples of ghostwriting:
- The Count of Monte Cristo
A 19th-century book was written by Alexandre Dumas and… Auguste Maquet, a historian and author of his own works. It’s believed that almost half of this French book was written by Maquet – the ghostwriter of Dumas.
- James Patterson’s Books
A very productive author, he has written several hundred books, most of them with the help of ghostwriters. With the assistance of others, Patterson could move seamlessly through various genres, from romance to action.
- Pope’s encyclicals
Pascendi Dominici gregis – Pius X’s encyclical – is attributed to Joseph Lemius, who served as procurator of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate in Rome, while Pius XI’s Humani generis unitas is said to have been prepared by the American Jesuit John LaFarge Junior.
The cultural sensitivities and potential pitfalls in multilingual content creation
You may wonder if using a translator is better than a ghostwriter. The question is complex, as many factors affect the answer.
The translator works on the source text and transforms it into content that is accessible in the new language. Sometimes this process can result in inaccuracies or loss of original meaning. Of course, a good translation agency will minimise these risks, but a literal translation from one language to another is sometimes impossible. This can make a big difference regarding language jokes or wordplay.
On the other hand, a ghostwriter creates content from scratch, taking into account the cultural and linguistic specifics of the target audience. Working closely with the author, the ghostwriter can adapt the text to the target audience without compromising the original concept.
Both approaches have advantages and disadvantages, so you should consider which is best for you. What’s more, in some countries ghostwriting may be illegal or regulated in various regulations, making it practically impossible.
Building diverse teams and embracing inclusivity in ghostwriting, translations, and localisation
How can you be sure that the ghostwriter you hire will meet your expectations? After all, many of them work as freelancers, making verifying their skills and experience difficult. And these are key elements, especially for a translation ghostwriter.
Translation agencies like ours come to the rescue. Aploq offers a diverse team of people with experience in working with different foreign languages and hundreds of projects and expertise in various fields such as medicine, law, or marketing.
This allows us to provide our clients with high standards in translation and ghostwriting. In addition, as a translation agency, we can verify the skills and experience of our employees and support them in their work, which gives our clients the peace of mind that a professional is doing the job.
If you need any help in this area, please feel free to contact us.