Conditions (rights) for translating non-literary books?
Thread poster: Anne Patteet

Anne Patteet  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:41
English to French
+ ...
Aug 5, 2007

Following Bernhard's question here:

Does anybody know if those rights or similar ones exist for other kinds of books (not literary, but informative for instance)?
When (if) you translate a book that is not literature, how do you negociate the deal?

Thank you,



Paul Merriam  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:41
Member (2008)
Russian to English
+ ...
See an attorney Aug 5, 2007

As I understand it, the copyright law is the same whether you're translating modern novels, a microbiology textbook, a railway timetable or a parts list. As a practical matter, given the number of people willing to translate the railway timetable or the parts list, I think your negotiating position would be somewhat limited there. For the other two, I imagine that people negotiate royalty agreements because the client is unwilling or unable to pay a flat fee up front and/or because they involve intensive discussion with the client. But an attorney will be able to tell you more.


Anne Patteet  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:41
English to French
+ ...
Hello Paul, Aug 6, 2007

Thank you for your answer. I will check that. I think one also has the right to ask to have one's name mentioned at the beginning of the book.


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Conditions (rights) for translating non-literary books?

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