#TranslatorsOnTheCover – update and sample letters

Martin Reed

Martin Reed

Martin leads the SoA's Communications team. He oversees our strategic communications and campaign-based activities, including PR, social media, events and partnerships.
An update on the campaign and some sample letters to send to agents and publishers.

Illustration © PureSolution / AdobeStock

The #TranslatorsOnTheCover letter of intent has received an overwhelming response with over 1,900 having signed it since we published it on 30 September. Thank you to everyone who has signed the letter so far.

Originally written by translator Jennifer Croft and writer Mark Haddon it has already had an impact. On 12 October, Pan Macmillan UK announced that, in future, translators will be acknowledged “on the book cover and all promotional materials”.

Your support helped make this happen.

We now need to follow up on the promise we made in the letter by asking our own publishers and agents to put the names of our translators on the front cover of our translated work wherever possible. Do write directly to ask them and copy us in on any responses.

When contacting your agent and publisher, you might find it useful to use a version of the wording below, while also referring to the letter of intent.

To send to your publisher

I wish to ensure that all translators of my work are credited with due prominence. I hope you will agree to use best endeavours when negotiating translation rights to include a clause requiring any licensees to ensure that any licensee prints the name of the Translator along with my name with due prominence on the front cover or dust jacket of all editions of the book in any language, and in all publicity material (catalogues, advertisements, website etc.) concerning it, and that the name of the Translator is mentioned in connection with all reviews of and quotations from the Translation. and shall use their best endeavours to ensure that this undertaking is adhered to in other editions of the Translation and in all sublicenses, if any.

To send to your agent

I wish to ensure that all translators of my work are credited with due prominence. Please agree to use best endeavours when negotiating translation rights to include a clause requiring publishers and any licensees to ensure that any licensee prints the name of the Translator along with my name with due prominence on the front cover or dust jacket of all editions of the book in any language, and in all publicity material (catalogues, advertisements, website etc.) concerning it, and that the name of the Translator is mentioned in connection with all reviews of and quotations from the Translation and that the publishers/licensees shall use their best endeavours to ensure that this undertaking is adhered to in other editions of the Translation and in all sublicenses, if any.

If you, your publisher or agent need specimen wording they can contact The Society of Authors.

And of course, please continue to share the letter. The more authors sign it, the more the publishing industry will take notice.

Again, thank you for getting behind this campaign. Let’s keep the pressure up and drive change throughout the whole industry to ensure that everyone acknowledges the huge debt we all owe to translators and the inestimable value of the work they do.

Bestselling authors call on publishers to name #TranslatorsOnTheCover

30 September 2021

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