Writing Rights: Writing, Translation, and Copyright

I’ve signed on to give a talk at the February 2013 EAC-BC meeting about editing books in translation. Figuring I should get a translator’s perspective on the topic, I’ve slowly been making my way through Andrew Wilson’s anthology Translators on Translating, and I attended a free full-day workshop yesterday at the Vancouver Public Library called Writing Rights: Writing, Translation, and Copyright. The workshop was part of the Word on the Street festival and was sponsored by the Literary Translators’ Association of Canada, the Canada Council for the Arts, and the Department of Canadian Heritage. It featured a session by Governor General’s Award finalist translator David Scott Hamilton, who took us through the process of how he came to translate Paradis, clef en main into Exit and explained the structure of and eligibility requirements for Canada Council of the Arts grants, which are the main funding source for literary translators in Canada.

Hamilton was followed by copyright lawyer Martha Rans of Artists’ Legal Outreach, who gave a session about copyright issues relevant to translators, including the recent changes to the Copyright Act as a result of Bill C-11.

Literary agent Carolyn Swayze finished off the day with a short session about negotiating publishing contracts.

All three speakers (and many of the workshop’s participants) offered some important insights on translation and copyright, and I’ll summarize their talks here over the next few days. More than one person has told me that my blog posts are generally on the long, indigestible side, so rather than shove the whole day into a single post, I’ll break the workshop up into bite-size pieces by session. Stay tuned!