Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Copyright for Translations

The New York Times recently reported on a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that returns works published abroad and previously not protected under U.S. copyright to protected status under U.S. copyright law. Since many such works were presumably originally published in languages other than English, it got me thinking about copyright for translations. According to the Copyright Advisory Network of the American Library Association, translators have a copyright to their translations, but need to obtain permission from the rights holder of the original work in order to publish that translation.

Technical text, such as computer documentation, is usually written as a "work for hire", i.e., the author either is an employee of the end client or relinquishes his/her copyright in the freelance contract. Most of my contracts with translation agencies also specify that I cannot claim copyright to my work. Since I translate mainly technical and legal documents that have little commercial value beyond their specific uses, such as documentation accompanying a certain device or a contract between two specific parties, this lack of copyright does not particularly concern me.

It did make me wonder, though, how contracts for literary translations are worded. Do they include the same language on copyright as most standard agency contracts? Given the relatively low rates most literary translations command, it would only seem fair that translators should be able to retain rights to their work. This is particularly true since the absence of such rights for the translator generally does not mean that the translation is in the public domain, but rather that a corporate entity (usually a publishing house) benefits from the translator's work.

An interesting perspective is provided by Lenita M. R. Esteves, who translated J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings into Brazilian Portuguese. She wrote about her experience with copyright issues after that book became a bestseller on the Translation Journal's blog, Translators Around the World.

If you translate literary works, what has your experience with copyright been?

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  1. You have covered an interesting topic....This is particularly true since the absence of such rights for the translator generally does not mean that the translation is in the public domain.

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  3. Slightly off topic: who has the copyright for a literary work which has been out of print for 80 years and the publishing house is defunct?

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  19. لو كنت من الباحثين عن الأسعار المنخفضة خدمات تنظيف دبى شركة متعددة الخدمات رائدة في عالم التنظيف شركة مكافحة حشرات بدبي من خلال خبراتها الواسعة خدمات تنظيف عجمان بأيدي محترفين وخبراء وعمالة ماهرة ومدربة شركة مكافحة الحشرات بالشارقة تقدم خدماتها في جميع أنحاء دبي باستخدام أفضل وأحدث التقنيات والتكنولوجيا المتطورة شركة تنظيف بالشارقة وكذلك أفضل أنواع أدوات التنظيف معنا النظافة أسهل وأسرع نقدم خدمات محترفة ومتقنة من خلال فريق مدرب على أعلى مستوى شركة نظافة بدبي مستوى جودة مرتفع نتيجة إلى العمالة المتخصصة والمدربة العاملة لدينا

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  20. لأن أعمال نقل الأثاث تتطلب كفاءة متميزة ؛ فقد اعتمدت شركتنا على العديد من المتخصصين والأفراد المحترفين لكى يتم أداء أعمال النقل على أكمل وجه شركة نقل عفش بمكة يتم أيضا الاعتماد على مفتشين مميزين لكى يتم متابعه أعمال النقل بشكل سليم حتى لا يتم الاختلاط بين العمال والعملاء ومن بعد التعامل المباشر سوف تري الكفاءة العالية فى التعامل مع العملاء

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  21. توفر الشركة أفضل خدمات مكافحة الصراصير شركة تنظيف دبى نظرا لأنها أكثر شركة تنظيف عجمان الحشرات انتشارا، فالصراصير تتكاثر في الأماكن الرطبة شركة مكافحة الحشرات بالشارقة بالمنزل وخاصة في المطبخ والحمام نظرا لوجود الماء وبقايا الأطعمة شركة تنظيف بالشارقة ، لهذا توفر الشركة جميع أنواع المبيدات التي تقضي تماما على الصراصير شركة مكافحة الحشرات ابوظبي مهما كان أماكن تكاثرها شركة مكافحة حشرات بدبي
    ووضع يرقاتها وهذا بدون أي تأثير على صحة الموجودين بالمكان شركة تنظيف ابو ظبي وبدون تحريك أي أواني بالمكان


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  22. شركة تنظيف بالبخار تقدم لك كافة أعمال التنظيفشركة نقل عفش بجدة التى يمكنها القيام بالتغلب على كافه منافسيها نظرا للإمكانيات المتخصصة التى تمتلكها شركة تنظيف بالبخار بجدة فسواء كان سلم منزلك ضيق أو كان الاثاث الخاص بك له أحجام مختلفة شركة مكافحة حشرات بجدة بأفضل سعر في المملكة العربية السعودية

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  23. إذا كانت لديك رغبة في تنظيف المكان شركة تنظيف بالبخار بجدة من جدة الى اى مكان اخر داخل وخارج شركة تنظيف خزانات بجدة وإذا كانت لديك رغبة في التخلص من الجراثيم والبكتريا شركة مكافحة حشرات بجدة وارقام شركة أميرة كلير للقيام بهذه الخطوة شركة تنظيف شقق بجدة فإن التنظيف بالبخار يعتبر هو الحل الأمثل لهذه المشكلة وسوف يعطي أفضل النتائج التي ترغبين بها



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