June 2, 2022
The important labor of literary translators deserves fair contract terms and pay. Bringing literary works from one language into another requires great creativity, knowledge, and skills. This is often overlooked or taken for granted, leading many publishers not to credit translators properly or pay them royalties.
To help change practices in the industry, the Authors Guild has created a publicly available Literary Translation Model Contract and Commentary, for the use of translators and publishers alike. The model contract explains the standard terms of a publishing contract for book-length translations of prose, and offers important suggestions for translators to negotiate a better deal.
In this webinar, Authors Guild attorney Umair Kazi, Guild Council member and leader of the Guild’s translators’ rights group Julia Sanches, and veteran translator Alex Zucker will discuss how to use the model contract to negotiate higher fees and royalties, ensure proper credit, retain your rights for sublicenses, and more.
Umair Kazi is the Director of Policy & Advocacy at the Authors Guild. He studied law at the University of Iowa, and creative writing at Columbia University.
Julia Sanches has translated more than a dozen books from Spanish, Portuguese, and Catalan into English. Her translations and writing have appeared in Granta, LitHub, The Paris Review Daily, and The Common, among others. She has received support for her work from the PEN Heim grant, PEN Translates, and the New York State Council on the Arts. Born in Brazil, Julia now lives in Providence, Rhode Island.
Alex Zucker’s translations from Czech include novels by Bianca Bellová, Petra Hůlová, Jáchym Topol, J. R. Pick, Magdaléna Platzová, Tomáš Zmeškal, Josef Jedlička, Heda Margolius Kovály, Patrik Ouředník, and Miloslava Holubová. He has also translated stories, plays, subtitles, young adult and children’s books, song lyrics, reportages, essays, poems, philosophy, art history, and an opera. Zucker has two books out in April 2022: his translation of the novel The Lake, by Bianca Bellová (Parthian Books), and his translations of essays by Czech phenomenologist and cultural critic Jan Patočka, in The Selected Writings of Jan Patocka: Care for the Soul (Bloomsbury). His translation of the Jáchym Topol novel A Sensitive Person is forthcoming from Margellos World Republic of Letters at Yale University Press in 2023.
Book Contracts 101
Model Literary Option Agreement
Paths to Publication: Alternatives to Traditional Publishing