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Name of translator on publications (books or others) - Survey
Thread poster: Morena Nannetti
Morena Nannetti  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 07:49
English to Italian
+ ...
Oct 21, 2006

Dear colleagues,

I would like to ask for your collaboration to find out information about the OBLIGATION for a publisher to print the NAME OF THE TRANSLATOR in the translated book.

I know for sure that in ITALY and in GERMANY the publishing house is obliged to print the translator's name (usually in the first pages) without any need for the translator to ask for it.
However, the practise may contradict the rule, as the publisher wants to avoid having to pay the translator additional money if the success of the book is greater than expected...
I recently went through this experience, as I was contacted from a German publisher who, after an initial OK to my price and conditions, just told me that "for layout reasons it would not be possible to put my name on the book and that I should be understanding". It was not an easy decision, but I answered that the publication of the name was a fundamental condition for me to execute the commission. They withdrew (and probably found someone else who was not so "difficult" as I was...) I am only half disappointed: to have lost an interesting commission, but at the same time a dubious client...

I thought it could be interesting to collect the rules of as many countries as possible (relying on your kind assistance) and maybe to prepare an article on this topic.
I would ask anyone who has direct knowledge to post a message specifying to which country he refers (writing it in CAPITAL LETTERS).
Another point of interest is how translation agencies deal with this matter, for example in the case that an agency receive a request for a translation to be published and assigns the work to a freelance translator, whose name will be published on the book?
Many thanks in advance

Morena


NOTE ADDED ON: 22 OCT 2006
I add a note here instead of writing an answer to all those who have posted a message. First of all, many thanks for your prompt reaction. I found Ivana's message particularly interesting, as I had no idea on how translation agencies deal with this matter.
I hope that colleagues from other countries will give us additional information. I will keep all records and maybe I could prepare a "map" of the situation worldwide.
I know that in Germany (and in the UK, as Stefania wrote) there is a "standard contract" agreed between the Authors' Association and the Association of Publishers. However, not all the publishers are members of this association...

I would suggest a very drastic measure:
every translated book not presenting the name of the translator cannot be distributed and sold. In this way every publisher would respect its obligation.



[Edited at 2006-10-22 11:10]


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Ivana de Sousa Santos  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 06:49
French to Portuguese
+ ...
My personal experience and what I found about it Oct 21, 2006

Hi Morena,

You raised a very interesting question, in my opinion.

I translate Taschen books through a Spanish translation agency and my name always come in the books: Portuguese Translation by Ivana de Sousa Santos for XXX (Name of the agency). So, both names are printed in the book - mine and the agency's.

In Portugal, there is always the name of the translator, so I always thought it was compulsory to mention it. Sometimes, you also have the name of the proofreader, but it's rarer these days. Sometimes you have "proofread by the publisher" and you don't have a name.

When I read your posting I made a search in google in Portuguese on "Translator's name". I found a few interesting articles and... look what I found: an article that states that there is an ISO on that - ISO 2384:

http://cerezo.pntic.mec.es/~ffras/ISO.htm

I read the Portuguese site I found out, then made a search on that ISO in English in order to post it here.

I think you will find it interesting. As you can see, the book has to to state the translator's name, except if it is a patent.

Now, I've never heard of a publisher having to pay the translator if the book is a success.

With the above mentioned agency, I sign a contract for every book I translate that states that I won't have any rights on the book. It seems logical to me: it's not your book, but someone else's; you are only responsible for translating it and you are paid for that translation. It would be great, though...

I hope I helped you.

Regards,
Ivana

______________

Edited to correct two words "rpinted" and "he".

[Edited at 2006-10-21 23:40]


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Klaus Urban  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:49
Member (2005)
English to German
+ ...
GERMANY Oct 22, 2006

Hi Morena,
I can report on my personal experiences in GERMANY which extends to over 10 translations of books involving 4 different publishers in Germany.

In ALL cases my name was printed correctly without request.

In one case I was acting for a translator. In this case my name was stated "acting for ...", so both names were given.

Your experience, indeed, sounds very dubious.

Best regards
Klaus


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Özden Arıkan  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 07:49
Member
English to Turkish
Turkey Oct 22, 2006

Hi Morena,

In Turkey, it's publisher's legal obligation to credit the translator. A clause is included to that effect in all translation contracts. And, so far, I have never experienced or heard of a problem in its enforcement.

HTH

Özden


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Hester Eymers  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 07:49
Member (2005)
English to Dutch
+ ...
THE NETHERLANDS Oct 22, 2006

Hi Morena,

I have been working for several publishers: translating, editing, proofreading. As a translator, my name always appears in the book. Sometimes even as proofreader my name appears...


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Stefania Williams  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:49
English to Italian
Useful address in UK Oct 22, 2006

Hello, Morena

I have made some research in the UK.
The Society of authors has template contracts and database of literacy translators. It is perhaps worth it to drop an email to find out more about the rights of translators who are member of an UK association regarding name on translated books and other publications.

The Translators Association
The Society of Authors
84 Drayton Gardens
London SW10 9SB
Telephone: +44 (0)20 7373 6642
E-mail: info@societyofauthors.org
Website: http://www.societyofauthors.org/translators/index.htm


Ciao

Stefania


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Ken Cox  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:49
German to English
+ ...
UK and NL experience Oct 22, 2006

I've only done a couple of book translations for a UK publisher (Wiley), and in all cases I was mentioned on the rear cover and title page as the translator -- all on the initiative of the publisher (i.e. I didn't have to ask). In fact, the publisher specifically asked me to supply the wording (personal/business name and location)

I've also done several translations, proofreading and layouts for a NL publisher (all formally published in the UK). In all of them, I was listed under 'translation', 'layout' etc. (as appropriate) on the copyright and credits page, but not on the title page or cover.

I have no idea what the legal requirements are in the UK or NL.

[Edited at 2006-10-22 11:39]

[Edited at 2006-10-22 11:40]


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xxxLia Fail  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 07:49
Spanish to English
+ ...
misrepresentation Oct 22, 2006

Morena Nannetti wrote:

....a German publisher who .......just told me that "for layout reasons it would not be possible to put my name on the book



Not to indicate that a publication was in fact a translation is surely misleading. It would be interesting to know if your DE publisher was in fact passing off this publication as an original work.


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Claudia Krysztofiak  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 07:49
English to German
+ ...
GERMANY Oct 22, 2006

Ivana de Sousa Santos wrote:

Now, I've never heard of a publisher having to pay the translator if the book is a success.

With the above mentioned agency, I sign a contract for every book I translate that states that I won't have any rights on the book. It seems logical to me: it's not your book, but someone else's; you are only responsible for translating it and you are paid for that translation. It would be great, though...



This is for sure the case in Germany: There is a regulation that states that the amount of payment translators receive for their work has to have a sensible relation to the money a publisher earns with the book. So if a book is very successful and you only received pocket money for your work, the publisher has to give you your share.

As a translator you are the author of a new version of a given book in a different language. You are the copyright owner of this version and this right cannot be sold. What the publisher owns is the right to use your work and publish it in whatever way you agreed upon. It is indeed your book. In Germany you also have the option to reclaim the publishing rights for the translation after some years so the publisher has to re-negotiate or you can offer your work to another publisher. As far as I know, though, there are not many translators who make use of this right, for they try not to enrage the publishers in hope for further cooperation in the future.

A nice German page with basic information and further links is
http://www.techwriter.de/thema/urheberr.htm

All books I translated have my name in them. While I always had some difficulties with the publishers for other reasons and I always wonder why they are so reluctant to mention the names of the translators on their websites, this one point was never questioned. If it was I would ask for the real reasons.
Mentioning "layout reasons" is ridiculous. So I would also stay away. If this very basic right is called into question, what else will come up when actually working for them.


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Morena Nannetti  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 07:49
English to Italian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Original work? Oct 22, 2006

Lia Fail wrote:

Morena Nannetti wrote:

....a German publisher who .......just told me that "for layout reasons it would not be possible to put my name on the book



Not to indicate that a publication was in fact a translation is surely misleading. It would be interesting to know if your DE publisher was in fact passing off this publication as an original work.



Hi, in my case I have no idea. But how could it be possible to pass off a publication (translated in others languages) as an original work?

Morena


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Morena Nannetti  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 07:49
English to Italian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Additional payment Oct 22, 2006

Claudia Krysztofiak wrote:

Ivana de Sousa Santos wrote:

Now, I've never heard of a publisher having to pay the translator if the book is a success.

With the above mentioned agency, I sign a contract for every book I translate that states that I won't have any rights on the book. It seems logical to me: it's not your book, but someone else's; you are only responsible for translating it and you are paid for that translation. It would be great, though...



This is for sure the case in Germany: There is a regulation that states that the amount of payment translators receive for their work has to have a sensible relation to the money a publisher earns with the book. So if a book is very successful and you only received pocket money for your work, the publisher has to give you your share.

As a translator you are the author of a new version of a given book in a different language. You are the copyright owner of this version and this right cannot be sold. What the publisher owns is the right to use your work and publish it in whatever way you agreed upon. It is indeed your book. In Germany you also have the option to reclaim the publishing rights for the translation after some years so the publisher has to re-negotiate or you can offer your work to another publisher. As far as I know, though, there are not many translators who make use of this right, for they try not to enrage the publishers in hope for further cooperation in the future.

A nice German page with basic information and further links is
http://www.techwriter.de/thema/urheberr.htm

All books I translated have my name in them. While I always had some difficulties with the publishers for other reasons and I always wonder why they are so reluctant to mention the names of the translators on their websites, this one point was never questioned. If it was I would ask for the real reasons.
Mentioning "layout reasons" is ridiculous. So I would also stay away. If this very basic right is called into question, what else will come up when actually working for them.



Hallo Claudia,

many thanks for your information. I was aware of the issue you mentioned ("payment translators receive for their work has to have a sensible relation to the money a publisher earns with the book. So if a book is very successful and you only received pocket money for your work, the publisher has to give you your share"), so I thought that might be the reason behind not publishing the name.
You raised also another question: that of the rights. I have serious doubts that this problem is treated everywhere in the same way. I have also heard that if a translator translate a book and the publisher does not publish the book within a certain period of time (2 years?) the translator can claim back his rights for pubblication and offer them to another publisher...

Morena


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nordiste  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 07:49
Member (2005)
English to French
+ ...
In France - for books Oct 22, 2006

In France the translator of a book is paid with a flat amount on the volume translated AND an aditional % on sales exceeding a agreed number of copies.

This is exactly the same as for a author : the translator owns the rights on their translation, including movie or TV adaptation.

There is a "standard" contract , finalized and recommended by the ATLF (Association of French Literary Translators) and some publishers (but not all of them) , with all clauses to be found in a translation contrat, including commission, dealing with rights, etc.. . Following this agreement, the name of the translator MUST be printed on the front cover. However, it is sometimes printed only on the back cover or in the first page inside the book.
Unfortunately, this standard contract is not mandatory, and some publishers might try to "forget" about commission and other rights.


So, French translaters of Harry Potter, The Name of the Rose and Da Vinci Code and the likes are happy and rich !

There is usually one thing the translator doesn't translate : the title. It's the publisher's decision to find a title for the book.


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Angeliki Papadopoulou  Identity Verified
Greece
Local time: 08:49
English to Greek
+ ...
In Greece too... Oct 22, 2006

...publishers have to print the translator's name together with the names ot all persons and companies who were involved in its production. My contract for the two books I have translated also mentioned that the fee was for a certain number of copies, after which I would be entitled to additional money, based on a percentage (same as in France).

Having said that, I once did a job for a film company, and when we were invited to view the finished documentary, my name was not in the credits.

The explanation I was given, was that the producing company did not want it known that they could not produce the original text in English!!!

No, I have not worked for them again.


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Kristine Sprula (Lielause)  Identity Verified
Latvia
Local time: 08:49
Member (2005)
English to Latvian
+ ...
Hi Morena, Oct 23, 2006

I think that might be the issue of copyright.... If you have the copyright to the translation, your name must be printed. If the publisher is the owner of copyright to the to the translation, its their choice to publish the name of the translator or not.
Though in Latvia in all translated books the name of the translation is printed.


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