Contract w/ publisher when author hires for translation
Thread poster: KatKoz
Local time: 18:49
Croatian to English
Jun 5, 2012

I haven't succeeded in finding the answer to this question in the forum, so I've openned a new topic.

An author who is also the publisher in the source language, hired me to translate a short book and paid me a fixed sum. So a contract between the author and me exists in the source language.

Now this author has found a publisher in the US interested in publishing my translation. The publisher has sent the author a contract for the English language rights, and has sent me a draft contract concerning my author rights as the translator. I am satisfied with the conditions of the contract (where credit for the translator is mentioned, font size, inclusion of my biography, and number of copies I receive, % discount for further copies, etc.). Since I was already paid for this translation, and the book will be published by a small publisher, I am not expecting any further income for the first edition.

So, this draft contract does not mention payment in any form at all. My question is:

Should there be a line in the contract such as "The author has financed the translation, and payment for the translation, for the first edition of the Work, is not the subject of this contract"?

and should the publisher add a similar line to the contract with the author?

Or is it OK if the publisher's contract with me the translator does not mention finance at all?


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Tina Vonhof  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:49
Member (2006)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Yes Jun 5, 2012

I think the matter of (non) payment should be mentioned in the contract.

Ideally, the author should have contacted a publisher before having the book translated, and all this should have been discussed and put down in a contract beforehand. As it is now, you accepted the translation without knowing what your options would be if the book was going to be published. Maybe this is perfectly legal, I'm not sure. I think your best bet is to consult a lawyer.

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Local time: 18:49
Croatian to English
the risk of translating for authors w/o publishers Jun 6, 2012

Thank you, Tina.

Since the author is also the publisher for the original book in the source language, I'm sure there aren't any legal issues about him hiring me to translate without having firstly found a publisher in English. This isn't actually that uncommon in CEE. However, usually I just translate abstracts, outlines of the books, biographies, and all else that is necessary in order for the author to be able to approach a foreign publisher. Since this book is so short, and the author could pay me, I agreed to translate the whole book.

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Contract w/ publisher when author hires for translation

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