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How much are translators paid?

There is no fixed rate for translation, and every publisher and translator is free to negotiate terms. The Translators Association publishes an 'observed minimum' rate which is not enforced but can serve as a useful guideline.

Unsurprisingly, publishers may try to pay less (arguing that this is reasonable for an especially long book, say, or where the translator is relatively inexperienced), and translators may try to claim more (for a job needed quickly, or a particularly difficult one, or one from a language where translators are in short supply). It's about negotiation.


Should translators expect to receive a royalty on published translations?

Most UK publishers will give their translators a royalty on their published translations. However, it's worth noting that the per-word translation fee is usually considered an 'advance', meaning that in practice it may take some time before royalties arise if indeed they ever do. Publishers in the US generally remain less easily convinced that translators should be granted a royalty in their contract as a matter of course, but the situation there is improving, too. Again, it's a matter for negotiation.

The Translators Association have also drawn up a 'model contract' between translators and publishers, and offer their members advice on royalties and other contractual matters.




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