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Translation And Copyright
Thread poster: Ritu Bhanot

Ritu Bhanot  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:15
Member (2006)
French to Hindi
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Jul 17, 2007


This is one of those topics that we discuss again and again. Here's an interesting article for those who are interested:

Another interesting link:



[Edited at 2007-07-17 14:38]

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Ritu Bhanot  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:15
Member (2006)
French to Hindi
+ ...
Berne Convention Jul 17, 2007

This is the convention that is used as the basis of copyright law in most countries.

Here's a link:


Please note:
Article 2
(1) The expression "literary and artistic works" shall include every production in the literary, scientific and artistic domain, whatever may be the mode or form of its expression, such as books, pamphlets and other writings; lectures, addresses, sermons and other works of the same nature; dramatic or dramatico-musical works; choreographic works and entertainments in dumb show; musical compositions with or without words; cinematographic works to which are assimilated works expressed by a process analogous to cinematography; works of drawing, painting, architecture, sculpture, engraving and lithography; photographic works to which are assimilated works expressed by a process analogous to photography; works of applied art; illustrations, maps, plans, sketches and three-dimensional works relative to geography, topography, architecture or science.


(3) Translations, adaptations, arrangements of music and other alterations of a literary or artistic work shall be protected as original works without prejudice to the copyright in the original work.

Looks like it includes almost everything...

List of signatories of Berne convention:

[Edited at 2007-07-17 15:09]

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Evonymus (Ewa Kazmierczak)  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:15
English to Polish
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very useful Jul 17, 2007

thank you Ritu, very useful info. rgds Ewa

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Bernhard Sulzer  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 20:15
Partial member (2006)
English to German
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questionable conditions for translating a literary work Aug 5, 2007

Dear Colleagues,

Very recently I came across a job posting which defined the job as "'work-for-hire'" project and subject to US copyright laws.
The text is a literary text (short story/3000 words) by a very famous German writer of the early 20th century, to be translated into English, and would supposedly be the first of a total of 13 jobs. The poster indicated also he would prefer to work with one translator.
Is "work-for-hire" a euphemism for "just translate for nickles" and let us keep the copyright on the translation (which, technically, I think should not be possible because of copyright laws), then sell the work and keep all the profits?

If so, why would/should anybody want to do the job or why should it be considered a legitimate and legally sound offer?

And how can we as translators prevent any abuse of our work, especially in the literary field?

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