Industry & Advocacy News
December 15, 2017
2017 Authors Guild Survey of Literary Translators’ Working Conditions
NEW YORK, NY, December 15, 2017 — The Authors Guild today released results from a survey of U.S. literary translators. The survey, conducted in collaboration with the American Literary Translators Association, the American Translators Association’s Literary Division, and the PEN America Translation Committee, collected information from 205 translators on payment, royalties, copyright, and various other aspects of the literary translation profession.
“Advocacy for literary translators is increasingly important to us. Many of our members are both authors and translators, and with the number of books in translation growing each year, many of which are very high-profile titles, it is important for us to understand the landscape,” said Authors Guild executive director Mary Rasenberger. The Guild’s translator members are also working with Guild legal staff on a model contract for literary translation, which the Guild is planning to roll out early next year as part of its commitment to incorporate translators’ concerns into its ongoing Fair Contract Initiative.
The survey confirmed some long-held assumptions, while shedding light on new issues.
“It’s so wonderful to have this detailed information about translation contracts and earnings finally available,” said Susan Bernofsky, director of the program Literary Translation at Columbia and a past chair of the PEN America Translation Committee. “I hope translators across the country will take advantage of the Authors Guild’s contract-vetting service, and also that more publishers will step up as champions of translator-friendly contracts. I’m grateful to the team at the Authors Guild for this significant contribution to translator advocacy.”
About the Survey:
The survey was distributed online in April 2017, to members (approximately 1,200) of the Authors Guild, the American Literary Translators Association, the PEN America Translation Committee, and the American Translators Association’s Literary Division, and was also publicized on social media. The survey was open to all translators, but focused on those who work in the U.S. and/or work predominantly with U.S.-based publishers.
Click here for the main findings of the survey, with commentary and advocacy recommendations.
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ABOUT THE AUTHORS GUILD
The Authors Guild has served as the collective voice of American authors since its beginnings in 1912. Its over 9,000 members include novelists, historians, journalists, and poets—traditionally and independently published—as well as literary agents and representatives of writers’ estates. The Guild is dedicated to creating a community for authors while advocating for them on issues of copyright, fair contracts, free speech, and tax fairness. Please visit www.authorsguild.org.
Chief Operating Officer
The Authors Guild
Phone: (212) 563-5904