Translating Books
Thread poster: yomsg

Local time: 09:29
Arabic to English
+ ...
Feb 20, 2015

I am a certified Arabic/English-English Arabic translator. I read the works of Irish authors and i want to translate their books into Arabic. But I do not know how to buy copy rights. I attempted to contact the publishers even the authors themselves via internet but I got no answer. Is there someone who can tell me what to do?
Best regards


Tim Friese  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 02:29
Member (2013)
Arabic to English
+ ...
Personal connections often work Feb 20, 2015

I'm somewhat familiar with the Arabic-English literary translation world as I know a number of authors and translators, and I can say that it seems to work based on personal connections to a large extent. Here are some brainstorming options for how you can move forward in this world:

Go to literary events and talk to people, authors, critics, publishers, book store owners, etc.
Definitely talk to any published authors/translators you already know.
Go to Ireland and/or the UK and repeat the above.
Translate a short segment of a work to serve as a portfolio piece for you and also possibly attract interested readers. Consider publishing it in a journal of literature or translated literature.
Are the authors active on social media like twitter? Engage with them. In any case, consider tweeting one-sentence translations of a work and tag the author.

Maybe others will have more ideas!


Usch Pilz
Local time: 09:29
English to German
+ ...
Older works Feb 20, 2015

Hi yomsg,

A small addition to @ Tim:

If you are interested in older publications: After so many years the copyright expires, and literary works become public domain.
The protected period differs greatly from one country to the next. But you can find info about in on the web.

After that, you still need to do some research, especially find out if the book has already been translated into your language of choice. (Why do it again if you have nothing substantial to add ...)

This might help:'_copyright_lengths

Some more thoughts:
What about the post-translation process? Do you have anybody who will edit for you? Do you intend to self-publish? Find a publisher?
Maybe that is another angle to consider before you take on the workload of a book translation.

Best - Usch

[Edited at 2015-02-20 20:44 GMT]


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