John Shippey wrote:
I am just coming to the end of an 80,000 word translation of a self-help book, for publication on the US market. Before I started work on the project, I agreed a fee and deadline with my agency, who have also agreed to print my name in the published version, i.e. "Translated from Dutch into English by John Shippey for [translation aganecy]".
The fee I agreed was a bit less than my normal rate, but I wanted to do it for the experience, and to have a change from the short term commercial work I normally do.
I will be handing this translation back next week, but am now wondering about royalties. Am I entitled to any? How much? Should I have arranged this beforehand, or do I have statutory rights? How should I go about arranging this?
Any help, advice, information or links that anyone can provide would be very gratefully received!
In our translation/publishing company we have two different methods of contracting for translation services. The first method is to pay an `upfront` amount based on character count and the translator gets this payment once, no matter how often the piece is published. The translator is immediately paid after s/he turns in the job. We generally prefer this method for non-literary translations. For our literary books, we offer the translator a contract of 6-8% of royalties on retail price of all printings of the book. The translator is paid in three payments: one-third as an advance, one-third upon completion and the final one-third upon publishing. This sum is generally lower than the `upfront/one time` amount, but of course if the book goes into multiple printings the translator can make much more. This payment decision is made before the translator begins working on the book and we work with signed contracts so everyone knows ahead of time what the job and payment will entail.
I think you should have discussed this before you took on the job, but if you feel you are being underpaid then try to get a royalty contract.