pencil on a keyboard

What are the Risks in Outsourcing Editing Overseas?

In Discussion by Edward Nawotka

By Edward Nawotka, Editor-in-Chief

pencil on a keyboardIn today’s feature story, “Klopotek’s Berlin Publishers Forum Pushes Big Data, Lean Publishing,”¬†consultant Aljoscha Walser¬†advised German publishers to send their manuscripts to Bosnia, where German native-speakers will edit them for 38% less.

Certainly there might be a financial savings for publishers, but what are the risks? Bosnia, to focus on that country specifically, is notorious for pirating print books. Two prominent Turkish publishers I spoke to recently complained of finding pirated editions of their books, translated into Bosnian and published by a legitimate publishers, for sale at the Sarajevo airport.

If this happens with books that need to be translated, imagine what might happen if one sends along an original manuscript as a file to be edited? How much easier would this make the process of pirating the book be, should someone want to go ahead and do so.

Many English-language publishers outsource some editorial work, often copyediting, to India. But, again, piracy is a high risk, as English language books in foreign editions are among the most pirated books on the subcontinent.

It’s not a huge leap to make to find a corollary between outsourcing and the availability of those pirated editions.

Is the risk worth the potential cost savings? That decision is up to individual publishers. But when you factor in cultural differences and the different use of language, grammar and other factors, it might just tip the balance against outsourcing of editing jobs overseas.

Agree, disagree? Let us know what you think in the comments.

About the Author

Edward Nawotka

A widely published critic and essayist, Edward Nawotka serves as a speaker, educator and consultant for institutions and businesses involved in the global publishing and content industries. He was also editor-in-chief of Publishing Perspectives since the launch of the publication in 2009 until January 2016.