Posts Tagged ‘copyright’

Translation vs. copyright

Wednesday, September 8th, 2010

There’s been an interesting series of conversations on Sina’s microblog service this week about works of classic literature translated in the 1980s — before China signed on to international copyright conventions.

Some examples:

Janson Yao writes:

今天看到台湾的黄罗谈短篇侦探小说译介之事的文章,感觉台湾和大陆方面相差无多。早期不重视版权,作品随便译;到了九十年代,受版权之制约,译介变少了。黄罗注意到,近些年又出版了一些短篇侦探小说集。似乎多数是一个人作品的anthology,而收入多人作品的选集,版权要一篇篇购买,成本大,很费时。

Today I read an article by Huang Luo about the translation of short detective fiction in Taiwan, and it looks like the situation in Taiwan and the mainland is pretty much the same. Early on, copyright wasn’t observed, and works were translated at will. By the nineties, under copyright restrictions, translations declined. Huang noticed that there have been some mystery anthologies published in recent years, but it seems like most of them are anthologies from an individual author. In collections of works by multiple authors, rights must be obtained separately for each piece. The cost is high, and it takes time.

Wu Yan comments:

我也看到翻译《桃园二村》的译者说,他带着最初的版本找斯金纳签字译本的时候,由于没版权只好盖住,不让原作者看到书是什么。

I read that the translator of Walden Two said that when he took the very first edition to get Skinner’s autograph, he had to cover it up because he didn’t have the rights, lest the author see what book it was.