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Discussion Starter #1
To reach bigger audience I am thinking of translating my non-fiction book into English (its original language is Spanish).

As a non-native of English, although I can translate it on my own, this would need several proofreading, as my english (is understandable) but not perfect enough to publish a book.

On the other hand, on fiverr paying to translate from Spanish to English costs the same or less than paying for proofreading.

But my question is: if I pay someone to translate my book and publish it, does the translator acquire any kind of copyright on the book?
 

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This can vary greatly from country to country, and also depending on the translator.

I'm a translator myself (English to French) and in France, *usually* the translator owns the copyright to the translation itself.

From my research though this does not seem to be the norm in the States.

My advice would be to discuss it with the translator before hand. Find one willing to go with your terms. And, ideally, make a contract that spells it all out clearly so that you don't have a nasty surprise at some point down the line.
 

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catslover said:
On the other hand, on fiverr paying to translate from Spanish to English costs the same or less than paying for proofreading.
If you find someone on Fiverr that will "translate" your book for cheaper than proofreading, they will almost certainly not give you a good product. In fact, they will likely run your text through a machine translator and hand it back to you after collecting your money.

Real translations cost money. Making sure the translation ends up as a good book (comparable to the original, assuming THAT is a good book) takes a native speaker who is also a good writer.

Bottom line, there are no cheap shortcuts.

As for the rights, though, you should always write your contract so the translator retains no rights. It's work for hire, over and done once the payment is made and the product is delivered.
 

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David VanDyke said:
If you find someone on Fiverr that will "translate" your book for cheaper than proofreading, they will almost certainly not give you a good product. In fact, they will likely run your text through a machine translator and hand it back to you after collecting your money.
^^^ This.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
David VanDyke said:
If you find someone on Fiverr that will "translate" your book for cheaper than proofreading, they will almost certainly not give you a good product. In fact, they will likely run your text through a machine translator and hand it back to you after collecting your money.
I agree, but I have reviewed it a lot and it is so.

Even those with the best feedback on Fiverr are cheaper (or a bit more expensive) translating from Spanish to English than those who do proofreading in English.

I think the big issue here is in which language it is translated.

Most of the Spanish-speaking countries (South America) are low-income countries (I live in one of them currently). This is not the case in Spain, but to compete against South American countries, Spanish translators must reduce their costs.

On the other hand, those who do proofreading in English are usually from the USA, UK or Australia (you are going to want this job to be done by a native). These are high-income countries, then the cost of their services is usually higher.

I can find, even in my country, a translator that charges me for translating what is requested in Fiverr for proofreading.
 

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ASG said:
This can vary greatly from country to country, and also depending on the translator.

I'm a translator myself (English to French) and in France, *usually* the translator owns the copyright to the translation itself.

From my research though this does not seem to be the norm in the States.

My advice would be to discuss it with the translator before hand. Find one willing to go with your terms. And, ideally, make a contract that spells it all out clearly so that you don't have a nasty surprise at some point down the line.
Thank you for your feedback ASG.

As i know in Spain, the translator gets parts of the rights of the book; I think the correct way to do it is by involving some papers.

I also wonder if the law applies according to the author's country of residence or the translator's country of residence. This is a more complex issue than it seems.
 

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David VanDyke said:
If you find someone on Fiverr that will "translate" your book for cheaper than proofreading, they will almost certainly not give you a good product. In fact, they will likely run your text through a machine translator and hand it back to you after collecting your money.
Not always so. I used an English to Brazil Portuguese translator from fiverr for 3 short stories. My wife has qualifications in literature and language in Braziil Portuguese and proof read them. They were fine except for one obscure slang word, but she did point it out. Though I will agree there is a risk unless they have been on there some time and accumulated many recommends. As the name implies, you won't get one done for a fiver. What you have to remember is the exchange rates and average wages in different countries which can enable some translators (not all) to offer lower prices to be certain of regular work.

The cheapst ones in South America don't advertise their services. I worked at an English language school and some of the other teachers translated work to English in their spare time, mostly University papers, then gave them to me to proof. They charged peanuts. (and paid me peanuuts, lol) Whereas those in business as the other end of the scale for such as legal docs, charged just as much as in Europe.

As an example, someone in Brazil would be considered rich if they earned 100,000 br reals per year( $18,000), with the minimum wage there at around 12,000 br reals ($2,181.) In Brazil royaty % are prescribed in law besides the original fee, but with those earnings and a low original fee, I wouldn't begrudge them earning a royalty. In practice though, many don't ask for the royalty, but make no mistake if you became a bestseller, there would be a knock on your door as Harper Collins found out with the translation for Lord of the Rings, even for the film company and the sub-titles, used from the translation sold to them by Harper Collins. They used their standard work for hire copyright waiver contract, but it was defeated in Brazil in the courts, some of it settled out of court.

As for the US, unless it's changed and you contract for "work for hire", to include all rights to market as a book free of royalties to the translator, you'll be fine. In other words, you can contract with the translator to waive what would be their rights to claims of copyright.

Most countries you can't contract out of translator's moral rights if they have signed up to the Berne Convention for translated derivative works, and in some counties, royaties are enshrined in law in addition to other rights. It's down to where the translator resides (not where the author lives or the the language type) and you doing your research on translation rights in law for that particular country where they reside,

In practice, most rights are not to make changes to the translation without permission of the transator, and to name them as the translator. Sayng that, there is always the thorny issue of other rights that could make things complicated for such as film, or say audio rights for the translation, etc

It's not as simple as asking how much does it cost. Take China as an example. Last time I looked Chinese translators contracts last for two years in law, even for work as an employee within a company, then ater the translator can do as they wish with the translation, including to compete.
 

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catslover said:
As i know in Spain, the translator gets parts of the rights of the book; I think the correct way to do it is by involving some papers.

I also wonder if the law applies according to the author's country of residence or the translator's country of residence. This is a more complex issue than it seems.
Decon covered a lot of stuff in his answer, but I can confirm that it's the translator's country of residence that takes precedence.

I can't speak for other countries, but in France translators have the exact same status and privileges as an author. So we usually get paid advance+royalties and likewise own the rights to the translations we do. There can be exceptions, but they'd have to be spelled out in the contract (like giving up on royalties, which is common when working with indie authors).

I also wanted to comment on Fiverr--forgot to do that in my previous message.

A few months ago, I created a profile on that platform to sell my services as a translator. There were only 5 others with the same language pair--four of them were obvious scammers, and the fifth likely was as well, though it was harder to ascertain.

When I pointed those out to staff, I just got a form reply. I tried again, got the same form. After the third time, I gave up and deleted my account. I can't trust a site that won't even do anything when blatant scams are pointed out to them.

Also, note that there are no tests for translators (I've seen tests on other sites) which means that *anyone* can create a profile and claim whatever they want.

BTW, you speak of rates of translators in Spain and Latin America... I'm not sure why? I thought you wanted to translate into English? If so, you should be looking in the States, the UK, Australia...

Here's a useful link to check the average rates for various language pairs:

https://search.proz.com/employers/rates

Note that these are averages for US-based translators. I could give you the averages for France and they'd be quite different ;)

If you absolutely want/need a cheaper solution, I'd recommend trying UpWork or freelancer.com rather than Fiverr. I'm sure they have scammers too, but they're a lot more reactive when one is pointed out to them (freelancer.com removed the two I pointed out very quickly).

But honestly, if I were you, I'd do the translation myself and invest in a good editor.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thank you both, Decon and ASG for your very complete reply.

Yes, it is much complex of than I thought.

My best bet is to translate by myself and get some help with the proofreading.
 
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