Scientific book translation: any copyright/royalties issues?
Thread poster: Jason Willis-Lee

Jason Willis-Lee  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:37
Spanish to English
+ ...
Oct 19, 2006

Hi,

I´m sure this issue has been well trodden before this but here goes anyway...

I've just started working on a translation of a scientific book from Spanish to English for an agency client. Are there any copyright/royalties issues I need to get sorted with the client before delivering the final draft? I assume that both the Spanish and English versions of the book are to be published.

Thanks in advance for any advice from colleagues who have some experience/knowledge on this subject.

Jason.

[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2006-10-19 16:21]


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Joost Elshoff  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:37
Spanish to Dutch
+ ...
Contact the author(s)... Oct 19, 2006

I don't know if it should be allowed since you said you are working with an agency that commissioned the job, but it might be wel worth your while knowing if the translation of the text was authorized by the people that originally wrote the text.

I know of a situation where a text on sociolinguistics, that was originally published in English, was translated to Spanish without the authors knowing it. It turned out that the Spanish text wasn't as reliable and scientifically correct as one would have expected.

(if anyone is interested, I suggest taking a look at Bilingualism and Language Contact by Muysken & Appel, and it's Spanish translation Bilingualismo y contacto de lenguas).

If the original text has been copyrighted already, I guess your translation needs to be too...


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 16:37
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
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Some thoughts Oct 19, 2006

Jason Willis-Lee wrote:
I've just started working on a translation of a scientific book from Spanish to English for an agency client. Are there any copyright/royalties issues I need to get sorted with the client before delivering the final draft?


I'm not a lawyer. I presume both you and the client is in Spain, so contact a Spanish intellectual property lawyer. Spain is a signatory of the Berne Convention on copyright, which means that usually the translator (you) will be a copyright holder of the translation and will be entitled to receiving royalties. However, not all clients respect this, and in many cases it is impractical for the translator to hunt down royalties. If you can't afford a lawyer, perhaps a lecturer in intellectual property issues at some university may be able to give you some pointers.

Either way, you're being paid for the translation and there is no reason why you should refuse to deliver the first draft merely because or if your copyright and/or royalties issues with the client are not completely resolved.


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