Translators Association

Books in a library
Photograph © Adrienne / Adobe Stock
The collective voice for literary translators

The Translators Association (TA) provides a source of expert advice for individual literary translators and is also a collective voice representing the profession as a whole. 

Translators automatically become a member of the TA on joining the SoA.

The TA programmes events such as the TA@Home festival (31 October – 4 November 2022) and is a partner in the Literary Translation Centre at the London Book Fair (5-7 April 2022).  

In 2021 the Committee set up three working groups focussing on Inclusivity and Representation; Translating for the Theatre and Film Rights.

The TA is committed to the need for more openness and opportunities in publishing, more visibility of translators of colour and more proactive intervention to help dismantle the institutional barriers faced by early career translators. Read our call for change.

Current campaigns include #TranslatorsOnTheCover and increasing the eligibility, recognition and rewarding of translations in literary prizes. The TA recently joined the SoA and CEATL in condemning the Hungarian government’s crackdown on LGBT rights,  

The TA is run by a committee of 10 members and managed by SoA Group Co-ordinators Catherine Fuller and Ambre Morvan. Elections are held every autumn and if there are more candidates than vacancies an online ballot is held of TA full members. 

Reasons to Join the TA

The last two years have been difficult for many and I have felt humbled and grateful to see the TA committee come together to take action to try to address some of the challenges our association, our profession and wider society have faced.

  • Contract vetting: individual advice on your publishing contracts.
  • Advice and support on professional issues.
  • Access to the free TA email discussion group for members only.
  • Meetings and events (currently online only)
  • A regular TA e-newsletter with news, events and opportunities.
  • Free guides and articles on a range of topics of interest to all writers, including Copyright and Permissions,  Fee-Based Assignments and Publishing Contracts.
  • Free Guide to Translator/Publisher Contracts contains a basic agreement and is also available to non-members for £12.
  • Free Guide to Author-Commissioned Translations. This guide is available to non-members for £2.
  • Free Guide to Relay Translation. This guide is available to non-members for £6

Rates

Read our Negotiating Payment for Translations blog 

Remuneration is a matter for negotiation between the translator and publisher. In our experience, translators and publishers negotiate fees starting in the region of £100 per thousand words [updated March 2022]. This fee may be considerably higher, depending on various factors including the translator’s experience, the timescale for the translation, the difficulty of the prose, the amount of research required and the availability of translation funding. The word count can apply to either the source or target language.

The agreed sum may come as a flat fee, an advance against royalties, or a fee plus royalties from the first copy sold. For poetry we have observed payment in the region of £1.10 per line with a minimum of £35 per poem.

When negotiating a contract you and the publisher will want to consider a number of factors. How long will it take you to complete the translation? As well as the word count consider your experience, the complexity of the translation and if any additional research is required. Does the publisher need the translation by a very tight deadline? Is there grant funding available to support the costs of your translation? Will you get a royalty on sales?

You can also find further information and guidance on our Rates and Fees pages

Don’t forget that TA members are always entitled to unlimited advice and vetting of individual contracts from the SoA advisory team.

For further advice Ask an Advisor or contact Catherine Fuller 

Related links and resources

CEATL (Conseil Européen des Associations de Traducteurs Littéraires)
The TA is represented on this international network of European literary translators’ associations working to improve the status and conditions of literary translators

CEATL’s Hexalogue
Six commandments for ‘fair play’ in literary translation.

Counterpoint
Read the latest issue of CEATL’s e-zine for everyone interested in literary translation

Emerging Translators Network (ETN)
A discussion forum and support network for early-career literary translators to share information and offer professional support.

PEN America – Negotiating Contracts
Negotiating Contracts: A checklist for translators produced by the PEN America Translation Committee in association with the TA and the Literary Translators Association of Canada.

Translation in Practice
An attempt to establish ‘best practice’ for translation, edited by Gill Paul, from the Dalkey Archive Press website (724kB PDF).

Translation Prizes
The SoA administers prizes for published translations from Arabic, Dutch, French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Swedish and for a first published translation.