you hold an English translation of a title by a
traditional or known author, you don't have to sell your
work to a publisher for a fixed price (which is usually
small). You can publish your work directly to an
English-language market and benefit from the
compensations specific to an author.
Editing a translation of an already
published book is subject to the same rules for
publishing in English (see the section titled Author guidelines) and the translator becomes author or coauthor. In
addition, you must to carefully study the availability
of the respective work with respect to the authorís
rights, then check the legislation of the territories
where the book will sell with regard to this subject.
Before you start translating a book, you must be sure
that the author's rights in that text are in the public
domain, both in your country and in the countries where
you intend to sell the book as well.
You may also translate works from
any language and publish in your own language if the
author's rights for the respective work are in the
Here are the steps in the process:
1) Choose the work to translate and
identify its author.
2) Documentation: find the year of the
author's death; in most countries, the author's rights
enter the public domain 50 to 70 years after an author's
death. Once this condition is ascertained, you may make
the translation for publishing, except where the
published work has a printed copyright note that
prohibits this action. If the author is dead, but
insufficient time has passed after his or her death for
the work to enter the public domain, you cannot use the
text for publishing in another language except with the
approval of the author's legal successors. If the author
is still alive, you can contact him or her and propose
the translation and publishing as a coauthor. Such an
agreement is valid only if the English rights are not
the subject to ceding the rights stated in a contract
running between the author and another publisher.
3) Do the translation.
4) Documentation: check the legal
provisions for the various countries (in which the new
book is to be sold) for copyright length for works
published abroad. As of the date you intend to publish
the translation, the rights must be in the public domain
of each country.
5) Setup the new title and choose the
distribution territories from those in conformance with
the conditions in step 4.
Generally, if an author's rights are in the
public domain in the country of origin (70 years from
author's death in the European Community), they are also
accepted in the public domain in the U.S.A (the main
distribution territory for English titles).
The section titled Resources
gives information and excerpts from international
legislation for the terms of termination of copyrights
for various countries and situations.