They are not allowing to appear my name on the book I've translated!
Thread poster: Santosh Rai

Santosh Rai  Identity Verified
Nepal
Local time: 00:18
Member
English to Nepali
+ ...
Jan 23

Hi,

Recently I translated a well known book and they are going to print it soon. They have paid me my agreed fee. But before finalizing they said that I should remove my name from the book as a translator because I don't own any right. I really want that my name be appeared! Please let me know on what ground I can claim it?

Thanks a lot!


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Tina Vonhof  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 12:33
Member (2006)
Dutch to English
+ ...
No contract? Jan 23

When you say you have already been paid, what is it that still needs to be 'finalized'? How did you agree on the fee, do you have a signed contract? Having your name in the book is something that must be agreed on ahead of time and should be in the contract. Note that it is a separate matter from having the rights to the translation: you can have your name in the book without having the rights to the translation. Maybe you can point this out to the publisher. It sounds like the publisher is taking advantage of the fact that you are new to this and did not have all the necessary information. My suggestion would be to consult a lawyer and do it as soon as possible.


[Edited at 2018-01-23 05:33 GMT]


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 20:33
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
You have rights, but then there is the reality Jan 23

Tina Vonhof wrote:
Having your name in the book is something that must be agreed on ahead of time and should be in the contract.


No, *not* having your name in the book must be agreed upon ahead of time. The author has the right to be identified as the author. If the translator is not an employee of the publisher, then the translator is the author of his translation (however, if he is an employee of the publisher, then the publisher might be the author).

Whether or not you can sign away your right to be identified as the author depends on your country. Many agency contracts include wording to that effect, and the agencies enforce it even if it is not legal. There is very little you can do about it unless you wish to gamble away all the money you've just earned from doing the translation on going to court about this.

Santosh Rai wrote:
Recently I translated a well known book and they are going to print it soon. They have paid me my agreed fee. But before finalizing they said that I should remove my name from the book as a translator because I don't own any right.


Why can't they remove it themselves?

By the way, in which country is your client? And: what does the contract say that you signed with the client?


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Katalin Horváth McClure  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 14:33
Member (2002)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Work for hire Jan 23

Samuel Murray wrote:

No, *not* having your name in the book must be agreed upon ahead of time. The author has the right to be identified as the author. If the translator is not an employee of the publisher, then the translator is the author of his translation (however, if he is an employee of the publisher, then the publisher might be the author).

Translation work outsourced to freelancers is most of the time considered as "work for hire", where the only consideration the freelancer receives is the agreed fee.
Contracts are important, especially for literary translations, to clarify these details.
Professional publishers do not outsource translations without having a ton of paperwork covering all these issues.


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Ricki Farn
Germany
Local time: 20:33
Member (2005)
English to German
Content? Jan 23

In many parts of the world, the rules for this depend on whether the book is fiction or non-fiction. Which is it?

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Tina Vonhof  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 12:33
Member (2006)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Work for hire Jan 23

Katalin Horváth McClure wrote:

Translation work outsourced to freelancers is most of the time considered as "work for hire", where the only consideration the freelancer receives is the agreed fee.
Contracts are important, especially for literary translations, to clarify these details.
Professional publishers do not outsource translations without having a ton of paperwork covering all these issues.


Exactly. Given that Santosh mentions that the publisher has already paid him his 'agreed fee', this looks like a 'work for hire'. In that case, if you want your name in the book, you need to stipulate that before the contract or agreement is signed. And indeed, as Ricky points out, there may be different rules in different countries.


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 20:33
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
@Katalin Jan 23

Katalin Horváth McClure wrote:
Translation work outsourced to freelancers is most of the time considered as "work for hire", where the only consideration the freelancer receives is the agreed fee.


Yes, we've been here before. In the US (and a few other jurisdictions), a translator and agency can agree that the translation is "work for hire", which means that even though the translator is not an employee of the agency, the relationship is regarded as such for copyright purposes. However, they must still agree to this specifically. If they don't, then the job is not "work for hire" (if I understand correctly). But all that may be irrelevant if the OP's client is not from the US.

I'm not intimately familiar with Nepalese copyright laws, but from what I can see, the copyright belongs to the party that pays for the translation, regardless of whether there is an employer-employee relationship, but the moral right remains with the author (he can't assign it before he is dead). And having your name mentioned is a moral right.


[Edited at 2018-01-23 15:52 GMT]


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Nikki Scott-Despaigne  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:33
French to English
An anecdote Jan 23

I've translated three published books, all three were non-fiction. None of them mentions who did the translation. The anecdote is that on one of the books, the client added an extra chapter at the end and translated it in a rush, in-house by a non-native speaker of English, without any proofreading. I was so pleased that my name was NOT mentioned!

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Bo Wang  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 02:33
Member (2014)
English to Chinese
+ ...
Negotiate Jan 24

You may try to negotiate with the publisher. After all, they don't have any loss by putting your name on the book. For a translated book, someone's name has to appear as the translator. I am wondering why they don't want your name. If you have a term in the contract, this would be easy. If not, you may need to figure out the reason.

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Michael Wetzel  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 20:33
German to English
If you look it up, I think you will see that Samuel is right. Jan 24

Samuel Murray wrote:

Katalin Horváth McClure wrote:
Translation work outsourced to freelancers is most of the time considered as "work for hire", where the only consideration the freelancer receives is the agreed fee.


Yes, we've been here before. In the US (and a few other jurisdictions), a translator and agency can agree that the translation is "work for hire", which means that even though the translator is not an employee of the agency, the relationship is regarded as such for copyright purposes. However, they must still agree to this specifically. If they don't, then the job is not "work for hire" (if I understand correctly). But all that may be irrelevant if the OP's client is not from the US.

I'm not intimately familiar with Nepalese copyright laws, but from what I can see, the copyright belongs to the party that pays for the translation, regardless of whether there is an employer-employee relationship, but the moral right remains with the author (he can't assign it before he is dead). And having your name mentioned is a moral right.


[Edited at 2018-01-23 15:52 GMT]


To repeat Samuel: If you do not specifically agree to anything, it is not a work for hire. If you are outside the US, there is a very good chance that the relevant country (Nepal or the client's country) does not even permit "work for hire" clauses in the US sense. Issues like this are a good reason to avoid signing contracts or at least to try to sign the most minimal contract possible in civil law countries. These kinds of things are generally automatically regulated in a reasonably equitable and rational manner if no other agreement is made.

However, Samuel's other statement is even more important: If you cannot reason with your client, it does not really matter what the legal situation is, unless you are willing and able to go to court for something like getting your name put in a book.

If the contract went through an agency, then you might suggest some kind of compromise: "Translated by YOUR NAME (for AGENCY NAME) or, more confusingly, something like "Translated by AGENCY NAME (translator: YOUR NAME)". I have seen that in books before. If it is very important to have your name in the book (for example, if it is required in order to get your money from a copyright collecting society), then explain to them why it is important.

I've never translated a fiction book, but non-fiction books and articles almost always include my name as translator. I'm sure there are exceptions, because I don't really care or regularly check, but in some countries (Germany, in my case) that seems to be the standard assumption and expectation if you are not working through an agency.


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DZiW
Ukraine
English to Russian
+ ...
As agreed: Read your papers Jan 24

Certainly, it's a deal only when everything's agreed and approved--for all parties.

I find that rather many agencies and publishers often abuse so-called 'editing' (namely rewording/rewriting) just to skip translators' names.
Why, most of them consider any credits as a 'free' advertising!

However, when it was about a rush job and provisional translation, several times I did announce that I officially didn't want them to mention my name and wanted this term explicitly stated in the papers.


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Ricki Farn
Germany
Local time: 20:33
Member (2005)
English to German
Ramifications Jan 24

Bo Wang wrote:

After all, they don't have any loss by putting your name on the book. For a translated book, someone's name has to appear as the translator.


I have a friend who translates fiction (in Germany for a German publisher). Her name is mentioned in the books -- and she has certain rights to royalties in addition to her one-time fee. She once mentioned that one of her translations was reprinted, and that she was paid accordingly.

So yes, the publisher had a "loss" by mentioning the translator, but that's the way the cookie crumbles in fiction, while it is unheard of in non-fiction (again, in Germany!).

I have no idea what the rules or customs are in Nepal, I just wanted to say that mentioning the translator in a book can cost more than a few millimetres of printer ink on paper.


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Tina Vonhof  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 12:33
Member (2006)
Dutch to English
+ ...
It's all about negotiation Jan 25

[quote]Ricki Farn wrote:


I have a friend who translates fiction (in Germany for a German publisher). Her name is mentioned in the books -- and she has certain rights to royalties in addition to her one-time fee. She once mentioned that one of her translations was reprinted, and that she was paid accordingly.

So yes, the publisher had a "loss" by mentioning the translator, but that's the way the cookie crumbles in fiction, while it is unheard of in non-fiction (again, in Germany!).

I have no idea what the rules or customs are in Nepal, I just wanted to say that mentioning the translator in a book can cost more than a few millimetres of printer ink on paper.


That is indeed one possibility of what a contract can look like. Your friend was paid for the translation but in addition she negotiated to keep the rights to her translation and royalties and to have her name in the book. But in a work for hire, you get paid for the translation period, just like for any other translation job. If you want more, such as rights to the translation and/or royalties and/or having your name in the book, each of these conditions must be negotiated separately and included in the contract. That is the situation in North America, I can't speak for other countries.

As Bo Wang points out, you can negotiate to have your name in the book without having any other rights, and in that case there is no 'loss' to the publisher. So there may still be room for Santosh to negotiate about the name, depending on the rules in his country. That's why I suggested he consult a lawyer, to find out what the rules are and possibly to speak for him.




[Edited at 2018-01-25 16:50 GMT]


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Santosh Rai  Identity Verified
Nepal
Local time: 00:18
Member
English to Nepali
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks a lot to all who took the time to answer. Feb 28

Thank you very much everyone for taking the time to answer. It was a hired for work condition. I will keep all the suggestions in mind for my future works.

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