Request for translation rights from the author of a published newspaper article
Thread poster: Winston Szeto

Winston Szeto
Local time: 01:33
Member (2017)
English to Chinese
+ ...
Mar 30

Dear fellow translators,

I have read a commentary recently published on a US national newspaper that I really want to translate into Chinese and get it published on a well-known Hong Kong newspaper. I have asked the author on LinkedIn for permission to translate his/her work, specifying my purpose of the translation to make it accessible to the local Hong Kong audience. The author made a positive reply. But I feel that I should at least prepare a formal translation rights request agreement for both of us to sign. I'm totally new to this area, so how should I write an agreement like this? When I pitch to a newspaper where I want to publish the translation, should I first of all show this agreement to them as a proof that I have obtained permission from the author? Should I prepare another agreement with the target language newspaper specifying that I have the copyright of the piece of translation? Should I seek permission from the newspaper where the original article was published as well?

Thank you very much for your help!


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Robin Levey
Chile
Local time: 14:33
Spanish to English
+ ...
Applause - and a word of caution Mar 31

I applaud your willingness to do things properly. It’s so rare in the everyday world of copyright infringement that it merits our respect

That said, the mere fact that the author has “made a positive reply” to your request “for permission to translate his/her work” does not (necessarily) constitute a copyright assignment in your favour. It doesn’t even imply (necessarily) that the author is the current copyright owner – and if (s)he is not, (s)he cannot legally assign the copyright to you even if (s)he wanted or intended to. What if the author was on a “work for hire” engagement, for example? Or maybe the author works as freelancer/stringer and assigned the copyright to a press agency in exchange for payment, after which the US newspaper you refer to simply reproduced something from that agency?

Step 1: Check the facts.
Step 2: Proceed (perhaps) with caution.

RL


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Winston Szeto
Local time: 01:33
Member (2017)
English to Chinese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Terms of service of the newspaper found Mar 31

Thank you. I have found this terms of service, which means that I will have to contact the newspaper for permission:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/ask-the-post/reprints-and-permissions/?utm_term=.7264c082f680


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Request for translation rights from the author of a published newspaper article

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