[Help]Professional request for translating rights
Thread poster: Jing Hu

Jing Hu
China
Local time: 17:36
English to Chinese
Mar 9, 2005

Hello everyone,

This is Jennifer, a Chinese translator and new member of the ProZ.com forums. I've been thinking about something that troubles me and I hope friends here can help me solve it.

I am quite a fan of Harry Potter, even though I've been quite old. Because of my occupation I'd like to participate in converting into a Chinese version the upcoming book sixth Harry Potter and the Half-blood Prince. The problem is I don't know how to write formally to Christopher Little Literary Agency (its source publisher) with questions about copyrights and things like that. I know "Hello Publisher, I want to know if I can get the rights to translate the HP" couldn't be of much help.

I'd very much appreciate it if any of you could tell me your experience or ideas relating to this.

Truthfully,

Jennifer


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Kevin Fulton  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 05:36
German to English
Contact the agency Mar 9, 2005

Dear Jennifer,
Bloomsbury Publishing is the UK publisher of the HP series, but you have the right idea of writing to the literary agency, since they would also handle the translation rights to the series. I don't know whether Mr. Little is still associated with the agency, but writing directly to Christopher Little might be a good start
http://www.christopherlittle.net/

I would strongly suggest that you also provide a statement about your past literary translations and related publication information.

If the HP series hasn't been already published in China, you might have a chance, but if the books have been translated, and the publisher is happy with the translations, you would have a difficult time convincing the decision makers to hire you. (being a muggle, I am totally ignorant of the world market for HP)

My own suggestion, if you are new at this, would be to find a lesser-known author who has not been translated into Chinese. Who knows, your author might turn out to be the next JK Rowling!
Good luck, Kevin


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Jing Hu
China
Local time: 17:36
English to Chinese
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you Mar 10, 2005

Thank you, Kevin, for your useful information.

The HP series has been translated into Chinese, but not including the sixth and seventh book, and the translations are not so good, in my opinion. It is just because of these facts that I came up with the idea to write to the publisher, hoping to share a bit of this big cake. Before you really tried it, you'd never know if the chances to win were good.

In fact, I've already done two books (One is a children's book and the other historical) and been working on the third one about politics. But the authors were all dead. I've been thinking about getting a living one with excellent writing skills. It is just as hard as seeing a wizard on the street!

Do I have to attach a sample of my HP translation if I write to the publisher? Or a resume or something like that?

Jennifer


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Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 11:36
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Good idea Mar 10, 2005

Jennifer Hu wrote:

Do I have to attach a sample of my HP translation if I write to the publisher? Or a resume or something like that?

Jennifer


Samples are used in applying for translation grants. These generally do not run into more than 5 pages.


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Jing Hu
China
Local time: 17:36
English to Chinese
TOPIC STARTER
The letter Mar 14, 2005

Thank you, Parrot.

Following is a letter I'm ready to send to the publisher. Would any of you here please tell me if it was aptly written? Do I need to add/remove something in it?

I really want to give it a try.

Thanks to all.

Jennifer

********************
To Whom This May Concern,

This is Jennifer Hu, a Chinese freelance translator who has five years of relating experience. On hearing that Harry Potter and the Half-blood Prince will be released in July this year, I'd like to enquire about rights of the translation.

I've read a popular version of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire in my own language, but how disappointed I was to find that while the translation was generally excellent, some nasty little errors appeared in its translation and, apparently affected the reading fun. Readers would get lost here and there because of these errors. It is not my intention to specify the translation agency's name or to distain my country, but as a Chinese translator and reader, I am responsible to see our children and adults will read a better translation of HP. Therefore, I would like to know what I should do to obtain the rights and how much the possibility is in store for me.

I believe I can do a better job because, besides rich experiences in both Chinese and English, I have more enthusiasm about the upcoming new book and a stronger sense of responsibility. I am now working as a personal translator of a Canadian entrepreneur, having done two books of his and now going on the third. In the earlier years, I rendered into Chinese an old children's book in series called Nancy Drew. The young readers loved it.

I treasure this opportunity. I would be happy to offer you with any samples or Letters of Recommendation if required.

Sincerely,

Jennifer Hu
********************


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Jing Hu
China
Local time: 17:36
English to Chinese
TOPIC STARTER
I really need your help Mar 16, 2005

Hi everyone, I hope you can reply to my previous post with your ideas. Either positive or negative ones are okay. ;->

I'll appreciate it.

Jennifer


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Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 11:36
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Hi Jennifer Mar 16, 2005

Please understand if few people will want to advise you on this. These cases are such a touch-and-go affair that the best of counsels can be a two-edged sword. I myself would personally suggest that you avoid comparisons difficult to substantiate, be constructive in your criticisms and propose a concrete approach or alternative, perhaps even submitting your own version of a particular part of the work already published. This is based on remarks I have heard from certain Nobel Prize authors who hand-pick their translators, persons with whom they would only part in a case of force majeure -- such relationships tend to be more than professional in these cases (Günter Grass personally supervises his translators and works closely with them, for example). However, I can also say that sincerity would be a merit in such cases as yours, since a heartfelt proposal often goes the sufficiently necessary distance into making that first hurdle: not to have your letter thrown into the bin as soon as it is opened, which is rather a typical reaction in busy and successful enterprises (nothing personal with them).

Good luck!


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Jing Hu
China
Local time: 17:36
English to Chinese
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks Mar 17, 2005

Thanks so much, Parrot! I used to be a moderator of a forum and know what it was like. You've got to make it warm for all visitors and help them and read every post. I see that this forum requires a lot more effort than that I had been in charged of, for every post awaits you to "make visible." Because of my past experience, I respect every forum masters.

I'm as new to this forum as at the translation affairs. I have not lied about the amount of work I've done, but all came from my Western friends who wanted to help me establish my business. I am young, ambitious, and puzzled, like most people who stepped into the working world. Things are particularly complicated for me as I lead a difficult life. I am limited to many abilities that normal people take for granted.

I have passion for English literature and see that China needs good books, especially for children. I love the character Harry Potter, because I once had that troubled life and don't know yet where my life will lead me. I know getting this bid is nearly impossible, right now. I just wanted to have my dream tested and to find a reason to challenge the impossible.

Oh, what did I write??? Well, I wrote just to thank you, but to save your "visible making" time I thought I just had to write more than the two words "Thank You."

Jennifer


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Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 11:36
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
How ProZ.com forums work & other things Mar 17, 2005

Jennifer Hu wrote:

Thanks so much, Parrot! I used to be a moderator of a forum and know what it was like. You've got to make it warm for all visitors and help them and read every post. I see that this forum requires a lot more effort than that I had been in charged of, for every post awaits you to "make visible." Because of my past experience, I respect every forum masters.


Not every post has to be made visible. If you look through the profiles, you will see some with checkmarks: these are people whom we know to exist ("verified identities"), having met them in person or conducted transactions with them using credit cards in their registered names. (Note, the "registered name" is a field that may be made visible only to the staff. Usernames are sometimes real and sometimes simply a character string). When these people post, their messages are published at once. By clicking on the checkmark, you will see who verified their identities. Apart from the evident sobriety of the procedure (we have some 85,000 profiles registering activity, not all of it straightforward) this makes contact easier for prospective clients, who can be sure there is a real person at the other end of a verified profile.

The normal waiting time for a forum posting from unverified members to appear is 24 hours, since the forum moderator may live in another time zone (you are several hours ahead of me. I am at GMT+1).

The verification procedure is explained in the FAQs: http://www.proz.com/faq/profile#how_to_idvid

Another way of getting verified is to attend a ProZ.com event called a "powwow" at which an authorized verifier, or someone eligible to become one (i.e., has the verified identity checkmark), is present.

I'm as new to this forum as at the translation affairs. I have not lied about the amount of work I've done, but all came from my Western friends who wanted to help me establish my business. I am young, ambitious, and puzzled, like most people who stepped into the working world. Things are particularly complicated for me as I lead a difficult life. I am limited to many abilities that normal people take for granted.


We all started somewhere. Had I known this, I would've said, "welcome to the profession". Your background sounds interesting.

I have passion for English literature and see that China needs good books, especially for children. I love the character Harry Potter, because I once had that troubled life and don't know yet where my life will lead me. I know getting this bid is nearly impossible, right now. I just wanted to have my dream tested and to find a reason to challenge the impossible.


You have a good motivation, so I wouldn't rule out any possibility. But with your last post I just suddenly found myself wearing the boots of my PhD thesis director...

Oh, what did I write??? Well, I wrote just to thank you, but to save your "visible making" time I thought I just had to write more than the two words "Thank You."

Jennifer


As I said, our "visible making" time only requires a few hours of sleep... so no problem there.


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Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 11:36
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Better explanation Mar 17, 2005

I just found the Verified Identity rationale by clicking on my own checkmark (isn't it funny how we miss the obvious?)

http://www.proz.com/?sp=vid_application&viewPage=faq

Hope it helps.


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Jing Hu
China
Local time: 17:36
English to Chinese
TOPIC STARTER
Chit-chat Mar 18, 2005

I see, Parrot ( I like your name. It's interesting), how to make my ID verified. Alas, that's also something beyond my reach...now. I understand this forum better, anyway. Thanks.

Did I reveal some of my background? Ohhhhh. Well, even though to you it's interesting, I haven't decided to tell you all about it...yet. )

By the way, how do I use the Smileys like your funny grinning little face?

Jennifer


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Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 11:36
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
... Mar 18, 2005

Jennifer Hu wrote:

I see, Parrot ( I like your name. It's interesting), how to make my ID verified. Alas, that's also something beyond my reach...now. I understand this forum better, anyway. Thanks.


"Parrot" first logged into the site when the Username field only accepted 8 characters. I have a fairly common first name, so I only got in after several attempts and some frustration.

ID verification isn't that hard. With the active support of some of our helpful members, we have been able to extend it to India and the Arabian peninsula free of charge. For the moment, I am sure some people are eligible in China, but we still haven't heard from them. You might want to initiate a discussion in the Chinese forum. Kevin (the Chinese forum mod) could have some better ideas.

Did I reveal some of my background? Ohhhhh. Well, even though to you it's interesting, I haven't decided to tell you all about it...yet. )


Somewhere in the literature about the profession, Mona Baker draws up a typical translator's profile (related discussion on http://www.proz.com/post/153685#153685 ). Seems it's never easy, but that translators basically share many aspects of background in common.

By the way, how do I use the Smileys like your funny grinning little face?

Jennifer


Look at the top of this page and click on "FAQs". (Those are the forum FAQs. There are different FAQs for the different sections).

The page also accepts some newer emoticons.



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Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 11:36
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Jennifer Apr 12, 2005

In case it's accessible to you, some prozians are holding an event in Beijing: http://www.proz.com/powwow/649

You can take advantage of this to have your ID verified.


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