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negotiating with publisher
Thread poster: dchild
dchild  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:05
Japanese to English
+ ...
Aug 6, 2007


I have secured permission from a Japanese author and his publisher to translate his work into English. The Japanese publisher is eager to proceed with the project, but wishes me to negotiate with an the English-language publisher, as they do not want to represent the work in English. That, of course, involves my translating samples and so forth.

My question is: What's the best procedure for doing this? Who signs contracts with whom, in this kind of scenario? Clearly the American publisher will need to get rights signed over to them, but how do I secure:

some advanced payment (or at least payment in installments)
a royalty for translation sales
guarantee that they will use me in stead of some in-house translator or other agency

Finally, some of the materials will need to be updated, but this will not be done for the Japanese. What payment scheme is reasonable for such services? (Per project? Hourly? Typical rate if hourly?)

If any of you has experience with the negotiation process for book translations, I'd love to hear what you have to say.


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Robert Tucker
United Kingdom
Local time: 19:05
German to English
+ ...
Publishers / Literary Agents Aug 7, 2007

From what I have seen most publishers and literary agents (some publishers will only allow contact through literary agents) require a proposal and at least three chapters - some will allow an approach first, some want the proposal and sample (if not the whole book) together.

Google for: publisher proposal form to get some examples.

Is an/the English publisher already prepared to accept a translation for publication? Will they not have terms they expect you to abide by or negotiate on? Will they not have experience of handling this type of scenario before?

[Edited at 2007-08-07 11:54]

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