Translation Editorial Policy

Comma is committed to publishing fresh and innovative international work of the highest quality and aims to ensure this work reaches the English-speaking audience in the best English translations possible.

Comma aims, at all times, to foster cultural engagement and understanding between writers and readers of different languages and cultures, and to encourage the dissemination of ideas and experiences between people of diverse cultural backgrounds. It aims to source fiction which celebrates difference and uniqueness above homogenised representations of nations and cultures.

Comma will only publish new translations which have not previously been published in hardcopy in English.

Comma will not consider excerpts from longer works, or from works which originally appeared as illustrated texts, or in any form other than as a self-contained short story or short story collection.

We will not publish anything that could be deemed libellous in character, or offensive to any individual or any specific groups or communities. If a translator suggests any work to Comma which contains any of the above, or material that could be regarded as racist or blasphemous, it is very unlikely that Comma will be interested in publishing it. If a translator comes across any such matter in an original piece of work, they must inform Comma immediately. Translators are warned that Comma cannot pay for any amount of work done by a translator, either speculatively or by commission, which contains material that could reasonably be viewed as offensive in the above matter and which is not brought to Comma’s attention immediately. Translators are strongly advised to bear this concern in mind when considering any work for recommendation to the editors.

As a rule, Comma will look to prioritise translations from smaller, regional languages.

Comma is always looking for short fiction that has firm roots in the realities and specificities of the places and times it is set in.

Comma looks to publish work with a resolutely contemporary aesthetic. Though Comma is not prescriptive with regard to the style of translation it publishes, and appreciates that each individual text sets out its own needs, stylistically, there are some features that we would encourage translators to take particular care with; the rendering of slang and dialect words and syntactical constructions, for example. We want the translations we publish to preserve the texture and character of the original texts as far as possible, and would discourage over-domestication and the elision of textual idiosyncrasy which results in an overly smooth, generic or simplified rendering in English.

Comma cannot pay for work translated 'on spec' – e.g. sample translations or synopses, but only work that has been officially commissioned to be featured in a title published by Comma.

Work in translation is also subject to the standard conditions laid out in Comma’s Editorial Policy.