3 Cs for Translators: Copyright, Compensation, Credit

By Avery Fischer Udagawa, Bangkok

As Translator Coordinator for SCBWI Japan and the first International Translator Coordinator for SCBWI, I often encounter questions about recognition and remuneration of translators.

Translators need to know if they are accepting terms that uphold the profession. Publishers need to know translators’ roles and needs.

All translators deserve certain terms and conditions, what I call the 3 Cs:

Copyright

  • Translator holds copyright to the translation
  • Author holds copyright to original text
Copyright information for The Devil's Whisper, authored by Miyuki Miyabe and translated by Deborah Iwabuchi. Published by Kodansha USA.

Copyright information for The Devil’s Whisper, authored by Miyuki Miyabe and translated by Deborah Stuhr Iwabuchi. Published by Kodansha USA.

Compensation

  • Adequate advance
  • Royalties

Credit

  • Name on book’s cover, title page
  • Profile in biodata
  • Name on publisher’s website and entries with online retailers

For examples of appropriate crediting of translators, please click here.

Translation of a children’s book is a creative act. The translator reads and interprets what an author has written—and not written—and renders it in a language that may look, sound, and act utterly unlike the original.

The translator considers cultural gaps, the background knowledge of new readers, and literary values of the target market. The translator must also write well—as well as established authors in the target language.

Far from converting a text, a translator renders or performs it much as a musician performs a piece. The composer has notated music in one form, and the musician brings it to life in another.

As a harpist deserves the 3 Cs for recording a sonata composed by someone else, a translator deserves the 3 Cs for translating a story authored by someone else. The translator’s task differs from the author’s, but it is creative and essential. In children’s publishing it is also a freelance not in-house task, so must be credited for the translator to build a career.

Increased awareness of the 3 Cs promises to help translators pursue their vocation, resulting in a great body of world literature for children. There’s another C!

Further information:

Skirting the Juniper Brambles: A Translator Narrowly Misses Getting Trapped in the Copyright Thicket
By Anne Milano Appel with legal commentary by Erach F. Screwvala, Esq. in the ATA Chronicle

Copyright “Rustling” in English-Language Translation: How Translators Keep (and Lose) Rights to Their Work—Data from Translations Published in 2014
By Wendell Rickets on ProvenWrite.com
Copyright “Rustling” in English-Language Translation: How Translators Keep (and Lose) Rights to Their Work—Data from Translations Published in 2014

An Author Asks: Why Should a Translator Get Royalties When the Story is Mine?
By Lisa Carter on Intralingo.com

Intellectual Property and Copyright: The Case of Translators
By Linda M. R. Esteves in Translation Journal

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: