Translation

I specialize in Chinese to English translation. I am not available for English to Chinese translation.

Businesses and Publishers

My rates vary depending on the complexity of your text. All prices are based on the Chinese character count of the original manuscript. Here are some sample rates:

  • Customer-facing copy for a general audience: 0.15 USD/character
  • Specialized information like medical and scientific texts: 0.20 USD/character
  • Science fiction: 0.25 USD/character

Projects require different amounts of research and may employ different skills depending on their content, so I’m unable to provide one-size-fits-all rates for translation. I also negotiate whether or not a project is work for hire on a case-by-case basis. Please query me at s@qiouyi.lu for my availability and a custom quote.

Writers

I sometimes agree to do work on spec for individual writers. Whether or not I choose to translate your piece depends on fit and my availability. Here are the steps we’d be taking if I translate your piece:

Authorization

You must provide written authorization for me to translate your work. Publishers will also require proof that the writer has authorized the translation. I will also need your permission to submit the work on your behalf.

We will formalize the translation process through a contract, such as the one below, modified from Ken Liu’s sample translation agreement:

  1. Authorization of Translation: ____________________ [author’s name] hereby authorizes ___________________ [translator’s name] to produce a translation (the “Translation”) in the English language of the story titled “_____________” (the “Story”). The Author retains the copyright to the original Story. The Translator retains rights in the English translation.
  2. Exclusive Agency: The Author further appoints the Translator to act as the Author’s exclusive agent for the limited purpose of marketing and selling the Translation. Pursuant to this agency relationship, the Translator is authorized to submit the Translation to English markets, the choice of markets being within the Translator’s discretion.
  3. Author’s Promises and Warranties: The Author further promises not to authorize other English translations of the Story as long as this agreement is in force. The Author warrants that a) the Author owns the copyright to the entirety of the Story (or has a valid license to such parts of the Story to which the Author does not own the copyright); b) the Author has the right and power to convey the rights granted to the Translator under this agreement; c) the Author has the right and power to enter into an agency relationship with the Translator with respect to the rights covered by this agreement.
  4. Translator’s Promises and Warranties: The Translator further promises to a) produce a faithful translation of the Story in the English language to the best of their ability; b) market the English rights in the Story with reasonable diligence; c) endeavor to explain all deviations, modifications, or changes to the original text necessary in the process of translation to the Author, with the Author acknowledging that there is a range of reasonable choices for each translation decision and the Translator should be given reasonable discretion in picking among such choices; d) not finalize or market the translation until the Author has approved the translation text, which approval shall be solely within the discretion of the Author.
  5. Term: This agreement shall last for twenty-four (24) months and may be extended from time to time by mutual agreement. Upon termination, the Translator retains all rights in the Translation.
  6. Kill Fee: If the Author has approved the Translation, the Translator has made diligent efforts to market the Translation, and First Rights have not been sold by the end of this Agreement, the Author agrees to pay a kill fee of 0.01 USD per Chinese character of the untranslated manuscript to compensate the Translator for their labor on the Translation.

[Author’s Signature]:            ______________________
[Date]:                     ______________________

[Translator’s Signature]:      ______________________
[Date]:                     ______________________

Translation

I will translate your work and keep you updated on my progress. As I do translation for writers on spec, your translation may be completed at a slower pace than my commercial work. Once I have a completed translation draft, I will send it to you for your approval. You are free to ask for clarification on any translation decisions or to request changes before approving the translation.

Submission

I will submit the translation to eligible markets for publication. Market response times vary, so I’m unable to provide an estimate for when markets will get to your piece. I will immediately inform you of any acceptance. You may choose to be informed of rejections and overall submissions on a quarterly basis.

Publication

If the translation is selected for publication, I will negotiate with the publisher for two agreements: (1) a contract with the author to obtain the translation rights for the story, and (2) a contract with the translator to obtain rights to use the English text of the translation. Publisher contracts for translations vary. I will do my best to negotiate for fair terms and pay.

Nonresponse

While translating is entirely under my control, publication is not. In some cases, despite my best efforts translating and marketing the piece, it is not accepted for publication over the term of the agreement. Unless we mutually agree to extend the agreement, I request a kill fee of 0.01 USD/character as compensation for the time I have nonetheless spent translating and marketing the work. You will only be asked to pay this fee if the translation does not sell. If the translation sells, even to a non-paying market, you won’t pay a fee.

If you have any questions, or if you’d like to see if I’m available to translate your piece, please email me at s@qiouyi.lu in either English or Chinese.