Yes, this is filled with whisky

Yes, this is filled with whisky

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Duy nIS tlhIngan paq**

How do I go about querying for an American agent, if my book is written in Portuguese? Should I go after a bilingual agent or such a thing would probably be impossible to find?

Thank you again for you attention.

You don't.

There are many bilingual agents (I myself speak Jawsanes of course) but generally we're not the ones doing the translating.

If you want to pitch your book to an American agent, you're going to need a book in English. Whether that means you translate it or someone else does is your call.

There are exceptions to this; sometimes the book is published in another language first, then it does well enough (sales or review wise) to garner the attention of an English language agent or editor.

** this would be funny if the damn translation was consistent.
It's supposed to be "I need an agent for a book" in Klingon.
It's not. 


AJ Blythe said...

I have nothing to add on non-english novels as I speak only english.

But I threw the titale into a klingon translator and got You must book a Klingon agent

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

There have been times when the books I pitched US agents were indeed considered written in a language other than English. At least their responses, or lack of them, seemed to support that assessment.

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

Oh, BTW welcome back from vacation. First days back suck, huh.

LynnRodz said...

Lol! Jawsanes, now there's a language I'd like to learn. And believe me, you can't trust those internet translations, they're worthless.

LynnRodz said...

Opps! Yeah, welcome back, Janet, hope you're well rested. Btw I do know how to say hello and goodbye in Jawsanese. It's the same word, "chomp."

Angie Brooksby-Arcangioli said...

Carolynn, too funny.

This question reminds me of the discussion spurred not too long ago by my question to Janet: Querying my translation of a friend's memoir. All kinds of stringy rights warnings made me stop dead and quit translating. I'm not the author so I'm not querying that memoir. As translator I have no right to query my friend's book. We remain friends and she can do what she wants with her book.

The Portugeuse author could hire a translator (work for hire) then query a US agent.

The problem that I foresaw — one of the problems— was rewrites requested by editors before publication. The author would obviously have to work with the/a Portugeuse to English translator for said rewrites and pay for them as a work for hire OR co-sign.

Another problem that arose from the discussion was the faith editors have in a translation done by an unknown translator. Is it good?

My question is, if the OP does hire a translator and lands a US agent because of the translation, when would OP tell the agent? Let's assume the author has a contract stating 'work for hire'.

W.R. Gingell said...

It strikes me that this is a rather expensive undertaking (ie translating a Portuguese book into English) for the sake of getting an American agent. Would it not be better to get a Portuguese Agent who would then talk translation rights and stuff with the publisher, or is this just me showing my ignorance?

Also, welcome back: hope the holiday was restful!

Colin Smith said...

I feel Opie's pain. Whenever I query US agents, I have to remove half the letters and throw in some "Howdie"s and "y'all"s just to make sure they understand.


Welcome back, Your Majestic Wonderfulness. :D

W.R. Gingell said...

Colin. You made me go pfthfpfofh in my cuppa tea.

My keyboard thanks you. Sarcastically.

Donnaeve said...


Colin, believe it or not, not all U.S. citizens say "howdy," or "ya'll." Since you're likely querying NY agents IMO, you ought to throw in "You'se guys."

Nothing to add to the OP's dilemma except I'm curious - do other agents outside the U.S. sell with the "World Rights" clause in a contract like they do here, which means the publisher can sell outside of their country?

Lisa Bodenheim said...

Welcome back, Janet. For a Monday morning, this sounds too complicated.

First of all, why does a Opie wish to publish a book in North America (I'm assuming they mean U.S. or Canadian)? Is s/he thinking bigger market, more money?

Secondly, why wouldn't the author (btw, congrats on a finished book!) wish to have the book published in their own language? Portuguese is spoken in many other countries besides Portugal: Brazil, Angola, Cape Verde, Mozambique, Sao Tome and Principe, Guinea-Bissau, Equatorial Guinea). I'm curious, Opie, about what genre you're writing.

There are other authors who have crossed the language barrier. Although the only one I'm coming up with this morning is Isabel Allende.

Dena Pawling said...

I have an attorney-acquaintance who represents international businesses. Many of his clients have branch offices in Brazil and Taiwan, and he made a business decision a loooooong time ago that he needed to learn Portuguese and Chinese. He tells me he speaks enough of both languages to be generally conversant and to understand 90% of the negotiations he's involved with, but he also brings an interpreter so he doesn't miss anything.

Many years ago, before CA courts budgeted to provide court-certified interpreters in eviction cases, the parties had to bring their own. For one case I tried, each party brought a Spanish interpreter. About five minutes into Plaintiff's testimony, the interpreters were arguing with each other, “that is NOT what he said!” The judge stopped the trial and called in one of the court interpreters from criminal court.

One interpreter case I tried, my client was Korean and the defendant was deaf. If the trial had been conducted entirely in English, it would have required less than an hour to complete. With two interpreters, it required three hours. At least they weren't arguing with each other.................

Then there was the trial that [despite CA law requiring that legal proceedings be conducted in English], about half-way thru the defendant's testimony, the judge asked me if I wouldn't mind conducting the rest of the trial in Spanish. I was losing, so I agreed to do it. My Spanish is rusty, so like my acquaintance above, altho I was able to generally follow along, I used the interpreter for ME. Everyone else involved in the case, including the judge, was fluent in Spanish. This was one of my most bizarre trials also, because not only did we finish it in Spanish, the judge also played judge/mediator. I ended up winning, with the defendant's agreement.

I've been a juror twice, and for one of the trials, the judge allowed the defendant's interpreter to provide testimony on the nuances of certain words in the defendant's dialect from a small village in Mexico.

Translating one language into another isn't easy, it's not just a matter of changing one word into another. That's why in court they're called interpreters, not translators.

Now that I read thru what I just wrote, I have no idea whether any of this is relevant to this blog post.

Colin, I thought it was spelled HOWDY, not HOWDIE.

Welcome back, Janet. I hope your email in-box isn't too scary.

Brian Schwarz said...

This is a timely question becausee my novel is written without paragraphs, punctuation, and lacking the letter "e" and agents keep asking me if I'm a robot... No, but I speak robot. 10101010101

Honestly, if language was just words, a one to one ratio of meaning x and y, it wouldn't be as beautiful as it is. It wouldn't hold the same power that it does. And it wouldn't transcend above the level of a math equation. Because language is this vast mix of shifting meanings and cultural context, I'd stay away from querying a book in another language at all. I'd try to write something that fits my primary language and the culture that I am most familiar with, and hope it is more universal. :) good luck op! That's a tough spot to be in!

Welcome back Janet!

Colin Smith said...

First of all, I wish to draw your attention to the fact I posted that first comment BEFORE 8am. That's my excuse for any typos. :)

Second, you wouldn't believe how many Brits think *all* Americans sound like they're from Texas. At least they did when I lived in the UK. I certainly did back before I came over to these here shores and got me some learnin'. :) Maybe the Internet has made the modern Brit more culturally aware? I'll sip some tea and ponder that one...


Donnaeve said...

LOL Colin! There really are SO many American stereotypes over the pond and beyond. I heard one time many thought all American "housewives" went around in their housecoats, curlers, and slippers all day while watching "soaps" and eating chocolate.

All I could ever say to that one is WOW, really???

This comment also gives me the opportunity to say WELCOME BACK Ms. Janet!!! Here's to a smooth transition from vacation mode to work mode.

Dena Pawling said...

Hey Colin, that's no excuse! You'll notice MY comment is time-stamped 8:55am, which in CA time is 5:55am. Yes, it's early here, and still dark. Which probably explains my usual incoherence. Maybe it's a good excuse after all. I retract my first sentence.

Drink more tea, my friend =)

Happy September!

Colin Smith said...

Dena: In the spirit of multiculturalism, I totally ignore your time zone. Eastern Shark Time is the only time zone that counts, so you're still commenting after 8am. ;) I don't think I could drink more, but I'll certainly give it a go--thanks! :D

If I might digress on to the topic (for once), the subject of non-English-speaking writers securing agents/publishers in the US has come up before, and I think the advice usually given is sage, though perhaps not what the writer wants to hear: Secure representation in your own language first. Most publishing contracts have foreign rights clauses, and if a US publisher picks up your novel, they will take care of translation. This is, perhaps, not so bad if your first language is French, German, Spanish, Japanese, or Australian (just making sure you're still awake, W.R.!). The problem comes when your first language is one which is not so well-known and perhaps you're in a country where getting published is much, much harder. My experience is that most people who speak an obscure primary language usually know a more popular secondary language (the Dutch people I've known, for example, all speak English, French, and German--fluently). Perhaps try writing in that language and get a native speaker to help you polish your prose? This would apply to both query and novel.

Just a thought.

Colin Smith said...

** I meant I don't think I could drink more TEA! I don't want you thinking I have a drinking problem... Gah! Mornings and words don't seem to want to co-exist for me today...

W.R. Gingell said...

I'm still awake- barely! It's midnight here (well, near enough- 15 mins out) and you should know that it's always possible to DRINK MORE TEA. Even on a stinker of an afternoon when the heat waves are melting the air and your clothes stick to you and there's sweat dribbling down places you didn't think could sweat. No such thing as too much tea.

Colin Smith said...

OK, I'm curious--do our friends in Oz, NZ, Korea, and other places where it's almost midnight or beyond, stay up late just to catch exciting things happening on this side of the globe (e.g., all the fun comments on Janet's blog), or do you just say, "Pshaw! I need my sleep. I'll catch up in the morning."? :)

LynnRodz said...

Sticking to the topic at hand, Janet has said it best. If you want to pitch your book to an American agent, you're going to need a book in English.

Not sure if I understand where Colin is coming from. Portuguese is #6 in the top ten languages spoken in the world. German and French don't make the top ten, so, why would OP need to write it in one of those other languages? Maybe I misunderstood.

Anyway, if OP wants their book translated into English, they should have it published in their own country first. Believe me, if it becomes a bestseller in Portugal and Brazil, Opie won't have a problem finding an agent or a publisher and getting it translated/sold in the English market.

Jenz said...

Folks, remember that ignorant stereotypes exist for wherever you live, too.

Julie.M.Weathers said...

First off, welcome back. I hope you had a great vacation. I really hope you were at the party where this happened--and it wasn't you.

Dena, I think the judge was out of line to ask the trial be conducted in Spanish.

Regarding the topic at hand. I completely agree. I know the American market seems much larger, and probably is, but an author would be at a distinct disadvantage if they couldn't get a translator or speak English.

I'm not sure how much I would trust most translators. I have discussions enough about my English usage. "What's a destrier?" "Scandaled isn't a word." "Who uses the words oubliette and murder hole?" Let alone getting into southern and western colloquialisms currently.

Obviously if I were massively successful, and the book needed to be translated, what an awesome problem.

Oddly enough, I do see agents on #tenqueries pop up now and again with, "This is in Russian, Portuguese, Japanese, etc. I don't read_______." So, I guess the problem isn't as isolated as a person might think.

Megan V said...

tlhIngan Hol Dajatlh'a'(I do not speak Klingon)**unless it's a drinking song, I know a few of those...**

But this makes sense to me. It's so easy for things to get lost in translation.

Donnaeve said...

Julie! A scene from American Freakshow! Those really were some of the strangest characters.

Jenz - yep, I realize that.

Colin Smith said...

LynnRodz: I wasn't speaking necessarily of Portuguese, but in Opie's case, if Portuguese is that popular, it might be better to try to publish in Portuguese and negotiate an English language version with an English-language-based publisher. Probably easier said than done (we all know how hard it is to get published in the US!), but that seems to be the gist of the advice usually given.

Laura Mary said...

Ok, slightly off topic... what does the apostrophe stand for in 'you'se guys'?

It does get said around these parts, or at least it did when I was at school, although you'd find it written as 'use guys...' *shudder*

Mind you, these were the same kids who'd manage to pronounce 'ask' as 'arks'...

Colin Smith said...

Laura: Interesting. I would have spelled it yous guys--as if yous is a plural of you. But I only use it when imitating people from that part of the country. Not that there are any ignorant stereotypes here. ;)

Adib Khorram said...

I'm curious what kind of numbers a book in a non-US market has to make to be attractive for US publishers to get a release. I suppose it's part of the echo chamber that is The Internet that I only ever read about books being translated from US/UK editions to other territories, and not the other way around.

Also, clearly more agents need to speak Klingon. Imagine going into a pitch session with an editor, bat'leth in hand, and announcing: bIje'be'chugh vaj bIHegh! (Buy or die!)

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

Raised hand, palm forward, thumb extended, fingers parted between middle and ring finger.
F the Klingons long live the Vulcans.

Unless you can do it with both hands you speak Vulcan with an accent.

Colin Smith said...

Oooh... great example of a *true* translation, Adib--not just rendering the English words into the target language, but using the cultural equivalent to make sure it's meaningful.

OK, I'm talking too much. Sorry. :)

Janice Grinyer said...

"si fueris Romae, Romano vivito more; si fueris alibi, vivito sicut ibi"

or better known as

"When in Rome, do as the Romans do"

There is a reason why that phrase still exists!

Also, wouldn't it be the socially/culturally acceptable thing to do? If I am talking to someone in another country, I shouldn't expect them to speak English, I should be making healthy attempts to not massacre their language in order to communicate, right?

Or is this my second generation off the boat Eastern European heritage speaking? Which I recently took one of those ancestry website's DNA tests, and found that I am 96% Eastern European, 2% Great Britain, 2% Scandinavian (Varangian! Okay, maybe...). In fact I am more Eastern European then Eastern Europeans, and I live in Montana.

Though my husband did ask me this- "your people didnt get around much, did they..."

Welcome back Janet!

Jenz said...

Donnaeve, I knew you got it. My comment was aimed at the guy who thinks he's funny by mocking Texas. *gives Colin side-eye*

Donnaeve said...

Jenz - between you and I giving him the "side-eye," I'd said he's been well edumacated for the day. If not, then I say we go all out and give him THE STINK EYE.

Donnaeve said...

2N's - both! Although strangely (weirdly?) my left hand is more coordinated and FAST at it than my right. And I'm right handed!

Colin Smith said...

Hey y'all, now stop that! :)

If you could hear me doing a Southern accent, you'd be too busy laughing to be offended.

On a serious note, speaking of stereotypes, I am getting weary of the Southern stereotype on TV. Why is it stupid people always come from the South, and evil geniuses are English? Southerners are not all stupid (I know a lot of very smart and articulate Southerners). And English people are not all geniuses.


bjmuntain said...

I am just impressed that you *tried* to translate something into Klingon. You really should rep science fiction, you know. ;)

For the original poster: There are agents in Europe. And Europe being the multilingual land that it is, I'm sure you'll find agents who can represent a Portuguese book in an English market. Such an agent would be able to advise you on translations.

Many American agencies have partners in Europe, and I'm sure many (most?) European agencies would have partners in America. America is a huge market to leave out of any equation.

WR: Exactly.

Dena brought up a topic that currently interests me, though I have nothing really to add. A court case I'm researching took place in 1916, where the plaintiff and 90% of the witnesses spoke English as a second language - their first language being either Ukrainian or German. There was an interpretor, and even those who spoke English well enough to testify in English still needed the interpretor to help them with certain words now and then.

Nope Jenz. No ignorant stereotypes here, eh? Now turn up the air conditioning - the igloo's melting in this heat!

Laura Mary: I wasn't going to mention it, but there is no apostrophe in 'you'se guys'. Youse doesn't need an apostrophe. (BTW, that's not just a NYC thing. It was commonly enough used elsewhere in the early to mid-1900s. My grandfather - first language German but born in Canada in 1909 - used it all the time. Maybe because English no longer has a plural second person, and if you're raised in a language that does, you might want to use an equivalent, even if it's slang.)

Colin: Not only are all English people not geniuses, but those that are, are all evil geniuses, aren't they? (Another nasty stereotype - very common in the US)

Colin Smith said...

bj: As my Scots-Irish/Welsh blood would like to make clear, the English are not all geniuses. >:-]

Donnaeve said...

Maybe Ms. Janet will weigh in on this OFF TOPIC discussion in the WIR - if she's caught up and does one, but my understanding of youse or you'se (both seem to be allowed) is to mean "you is a damn fool," or "all you is all damn fools."

To me the apostrophe IS required considering the usage. Correctly, "talking to you's (you is) always fun."

That's about all I knows about it.

Colin Smith said...

Donna: I always presumed "yous/you'se/youse" was a plural: "yous guys." Authoritative voices from the North... and other places that use this term?

bjmuntain said...

On a quick Google search: Google for youse

The first page has one that lists 'you is', and the rest are all plural of 'you'.

Using 'youse' as 'you is' is considered an African American Vernacular English term. So not wrong, but not as common as the plural. Wiktionary for youse

Donnaeve said...

Laura started it. And then, like just for fun, she threw in "arks." Lordy, I can't even go there.


Colin Smith said...

Good coogli mooglis! I arks you...


Julie.M.Weathers said...


As infallible as Google is, I'd have to disagree with them on "youse" as do most dictionaries. That phrase has been around the Dakota/Minnesota etc area forever. I think it comes from the German settlers, but it could be Scandinavians. It used to drive me nuts in North Dakota to hear the old honyockers sitting around the coffee shops, loud voices, probably because most of them were deaf, talking about youse guys. "Youse guys don't realize it, but I tol' you right now. Dem Russians are coming!"

"Ya, he's right. Youse just wait. Phoom! Dey gonna blow us right off de map."

Because, you know, Zap, North Dakota deserved to be zapped I guess.

It's common in Pennsylvania Dutch country. It's even in Australia where they think it was started by the Irish and have a flap about including it in the dictionary.

Janice Grinyer said...

Julie.M.Weathers - There are so many empty missile silos left in North Dakota, that Im not surprised they were a little paranoid!

Also, I agree with you on the use of "youse" in the area, as I myself have witnessed the "use" :). It is known that Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota, and even parts of Eastern Montana are predominantly descendants of German and Scandinavian backgrounds. Im sure you know this; when the Homestead act came into play, immigrant families generated towards land that was familiar to them from "back home"; easier to farm. 160 to 320 acres of "free" land after 5 years of use was a hard bargain to pass up...

In fact, it always surprises me how much Miles City, Montana, looks like a rural community from Minnesota! :)

bjmuntain said...


That was my point. 'Youse', as a plural for 'you' is more common than 'you's' as a contraction for 'you is'. And probably an older use.

Like I said earlier, my grandfather, whose first language was German though he was born in Saskatchewan, always used it in the plural. (And note: Saskatchewan is due north of North Dakota.)

And yes, Minot, North Dakota, was considered a prime spot for the Russians to hit, since it had nuclear missiles. And since the bombs would have gone right over Saskatchewan, we were just as worried as the Americans about a third world war.


Julie.M.Weathers said...

BJ and Janice,

The conversation referred to was about a planned Great North Dakota Zap In which was started by the Laugh In show. Thousands of hippies converged on a tiny, one horse town in 1969 I believe. For whatever reason, some of the locals thought the Zap In was going to be an excuse to blow Zap up because a town with about a 100 people in the middle of nowhere western North Dakota was strategic for something.

One of my classmates drove down the street on his motorcycle, wearing his letterman jacket and Ella raced into her "steakhouse" screaming, "The Hell's Angels are here! Lock the doors!"

I, fortunately, missed the Zap In which, as anyone with common sense might have predicted, turned into a nightmare.

BJ, the point was, youse probably doesn't derive from African Americans as Google thinks it does.

Craig said...

Duy sumqu' chemvaH paq

bjmuntain said...

Julie: Yes. Originally, it was not derived from African Americans. As I'd said, it was probably used most often by people of other nationalities whose first language had plural second person forms. It's really a deficiency in the English language not to have a recognized standard plural second person form. That's why 'youse' and 'y'all' are so common.

The African American Vernacular English version is a homonym - that is, it sounds the same. So Donna isn't wrong - that contraction does exist - but that's not the way it's usually used, even in New York.

I didn't know there was a town called Zap in ND. That makes me smile. :)

Theresa said...

I still can't believe I got to read Klingon today!

Welcome back, Janet.

Janice Grinyer said...

Julie: and every August some locals in Sturgis, SD still feel the same way! They estimated over a record breaking 1 million bikers this year; however most businesses have embraced the capitalism ideals that come with having that many people descend on a small town in two weeks :D For the regular folk, everyone nearby knows not to visit Sturgis or the surrounding area in August!

BJMtn: Your explanation makes so much sense to me. Having immigrant Grandparents who lived in areas of Chicago where there are many nationalities represented, I had the opportunity to pick up on language similarities/differences. I recognized early on that when learning a new language, verbs, adverbs and nouns come first; the vernaculars come later... And when there are no vernaculars, then you make it up :D

Going back to JR's subject at hand - I just assume that if I were to query a novel in France, that it most definitely should be in French in order to reach as many French agents as I could... However,finding a quality French editor without living in the country would be difficult, no? I can see where an international writer would be tempted to query in the USA, as there seems to be a broader supporting writer's "market" here?

LynnRodz said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
S.D.King said...

As to all American's sounding like Texans, I can't tell you how painful it is to hear a British actor/actress play a Yankee. They usually slaughter the accent with a Texas twang built in to some words and not others. It hurt my ears to hear David Tennant in the Americanized version of Broadchurch.

Having said that, Hugh Laurie is the exception. He nailed it on House. (But keep in mind that he will always be Bertie Wooster to me.)

bjmuntain said...

Janice: Even Canadians go down to Sturgis. Otherwise respectable Canadians - business owners (because who else can really afford those bikes?) and professionals and such. Some friends of mine were there this year. I don't know what happens there, but they seem to enjoy it.

Me, I don't like crowds. Or riding motorbikes, for that matter. Nothing against those who do - I'm just not comfortable either in crowds or while moving very quickly without some metal walls around me. I don't like rollercoasters, either. I am a wuss.

Recaptcha made me choose boats. One of the boats was on a trailer in a garage. Tricky, Recaptcha! said...

I have nothing to add about the topic, but reading the comments is making me laugh . . . at the realization of how very well behaved we were while Janet was on vacation. I think this is the first significant off-topic diversion we've had since before she left.

Which, of course, means it's all her fault. :)

Welcome back, you troublemaker, you.

Donnaeve said...

BJ, Julie and the rest - I agree! (Why I feel the need to add the exclamation I have not one clue.) I.e. I agree that the contraction usage of you'se or you's stems from the African American language vs youse of Scandanavian/German origin. I wish my Grandmother had lived longer so I could have remembered the nuances of her speech. She was born in Waverly Minnesota, eventually moved to Bath, Maine, and finally Auburn, where she passed. Her maiden name was Foster.

Regardless, all very interesting to me!

Julie.M.Weathers said...


"and every August some locals in Sturgis, SD still feel the same way!"

Yes, but they have cause to. There are a lot of pretty nasty types that show up for Sturgis as well as the fine upstanding sorts. My mother's last husband gave her two Harley's. He owned five. They went to Sturgis every year and she was not overly thrilled about the crowd he consorted with. My mother the 68-year-old biker chick.

Lord, life is interesting at times.

Lance said...

Welcome back from vacation, Ms. Reid. Hope it was all it was hyped up to be and more.

Have any books been published in Klingon? Who was the agent?

I'm curious that Colin hasn't mentioned Klingon literary agents (I know it's a different movie) on Carkoon.

bjmuntain said...

Lance: - The Tragedy of Khamlet, Son of the Emperor of Qo'nos, a powerful drama by the legendary Klingon playwright, Wil'yam Shex'pir

Recaptcha: Boats again. I assumed they didn't mean the old Pontiac...

bjmuntain said...

I hope it's okay I posted that Amazone link above - it's not to get people to buy it, just to show them that it exists...

Colin Smith said...

S.D.: And I first saw Hugh Laurie on "A Bit of Fry and Laurie" in the 80s. Speaking of which:

Lance: Klingon literary agents wouldn't last 10 mins on Carkoon. ;)

Lance said...

bjmuntain, thanks for the reference. Important to know. May need it for my collection.

Colin, I think your statement says more about the conditions on Carkoon than whole pages about Lima beans and kale could ever impart.

Her Grace, the Duchess of Kneale said...

tlhIngan Hol vIjatlh.

I've got the tlhIngan HOl translation of Hamlet and a Klingon dictionary lying about somewhere.

Best anecdote evahr: About twenty years ago I went to the San Diego Comic Con. There, I encountered a Japanese couple. They couldn't speak much English and my Japanese is all but non-existent. However, we both could speak Klingon and had a lovely conversation over lunch.

Anyhoo, the phrase Janet would like is:

Duy vInIS paqwIjvaD

I need an agent for my book.

Shimmin Beg said...

Lurker popping my head tentatively into the water...

As a languages person, I'm intrigued because I seem to have read this differently from everybody else. They don't actually mention translations. I assumed they were just a Portuguese-speaking US citizen looking to publish a Portuguese book in the USA, and that seems like it would call for a different set of responses.

Of course, one of them might be "there is nobody who would publish a Portuguese book in the USA". Or maybe it's such a small market you have to approach publishers directly? It seems like home-grown Spanish books get published, but then there's more Spanish speakers...