Piketty’s translator didn’t take the royalties.
Goldhammer won’t say how much he was paid to translate “Capital in the Twenty-First Century”. The money a translator makes is decent, he says, but it is much less than a tenured professor’s salary.
Goldhammer says most translators are paid a fee for every 1,000 words.
“In this case, I probably would have made out if I had taken royalties, but I didn’t,” he confides. Goldhammer and the book’s publisher, Harvard University Press, had expected the translation to sell maybe 20,000 copies. So far it has sold 15 times that.