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TA Week: Professional Development – The Business of Selling UK Titles in Translation Behind the Scenes of a Translation Rights Deal

1 November @ 10:00 - 11:30 GMT

Virtual Event Virtual Event

The global sale of translation rights of English language books is an essential and valued pursuit for both authors and translators.It’s also big business, allowing foreign language publishers to share in the cultural and economic value of our great reads through expert and skilled translation. But how does that all work behind the scenes? What does the submission, negotiation and acquisition process look like? And how much control and income can the author and translator expect?

Join SOA advisors Johanna Clarke, Catherine Fuller, Ambre Morvan and Theo Jones in this fun and original take on the process, as they adopt the roles of the key players involved and examine those differing perspectives, motivations and relationships. With something of a dramatic lean, they’ll walk you through the various steps to help you understand how it all works.

This event was devised and created by the team with an original script by Johanna Clarke. It is designed to offer a general perspective. For tailored bespoke advice and guidance on particular issues, please contact the SOA in the usual way


In conjunction with the Translators Association as part of the [email protected] Festival



  • Welcome, introductions and housekeeping from Johanna Clarke (5 mins)
  • Presentation by SoA Advisory Team (50 mins)
  • Comfort break (5 mins)
  • Q&A with audience (25 mins)
  • Summary and closing comments (5 mins)


Who is this session for? 

This event is aimed at authors who want to understand what happens when their work is sold and translators who want to know more about the acquisitions process which leads to the commission of a translation. The event will also be of interest to writers who understand how the various processes work in theory but would find it helpful to see them played out in practice – including the negotiations between agent and publisher, and between publisher and translator.


What will this session cover? 

  • The role of an agent handling subsidiary rights on behalf of their clients
  • The agented sale of translation rights in a writer’s debut novel
  • The negotiated commission of a translation by a local publisher
  • The collaboration between the local publisher and original author
  • The relationship between the translator and original author


Send us your questions in advance 

If you would like to send questions in advance, email [email protected] with Selling Translation in the subject header. We will prioritise questions sent in advance and answer as many as we can from the audience on the day.


SoA @ Home fundraising bookshop

Browse our virtual Bookshop.org store featuring books by authors and speakers taking part in the SoA @ Home Festival. When you make a purchase using our affiliate links a percentage will go to the Authors’ Contingency Fund, providing hardship grants to authors in financial difficulty.


The line-up 


Johanna Clarke – Contracts Advisor, SoA

Johanna is a Contracts Advisor at the Society of Authors where she advises members on contracts and industry issues, including agency matters and agreements. She previously worked as a Contracts Executive at a literary agency and before that at a theatrical agency representing playwrights and creatives. Johanna is the coordinator for the SoA’s Poetry and Spoken Word Group and works closely on the SoA’s outreach programme.

In this event, Johanna plays “Jemma” – a UK-based literary agent skilled in selling her client’s work both home and abroad. Jemma represents debut author, Cassie.


Catherine Fuller – Projects Manager and Senior Contracts Advisor, SoA

Catherine is a Projects Manager and Senior Contracts Advisor at the Society of Authors where she advises members on publishing contracts and issues, including subsidiary rights sales. Catherine previously worked at the British Centre for Literary Translation at the University of East Anglia. She co-coordinates the Translators Association and advises on translation contracts. 

Catherine plays “Cassie” – a UK-based author whose debut novel “Burnt Honey” has recently been bought by a UK publisher in a sale negotiated by her agent, Jemma.


Ambre Morvan – Contracts Advisor and Public Policy Advisor, SoA

Ambre is a Contracts Advisor and Public Policy Advisor at the Society of Authors where she advises publishing contracts and issues, including translation agreements. Before joining the staff at the SoA Ambre worked as an in-house legal counsel at the Société des Gens de Lettres. She co-coordinates the Translators Association and also works on the SoA’s public policy.

Ambre plays “Marianne” – a French translator with an established record working for fictional mid-sized French publisher, “Les Mots Justes”.


Theo Jones – Senior Contracts Advisor, SoA

Theo is a Senior Contracts Advisor at the Society of Authors where he advised on publishing agreements and issues, including subsidiary rights sales and translation contracts. Prior to joining the staff at the SoA he worked for an academic publisher, latterly as a Global Business Development Manager (Rights Manager). He co-coordinates the Scriptwriters Group representing members writing across film, TV and stage. 

Theo plays “Pierre” – a renowned editor at fictional French publisher “Les Mots Justes” with a keen interest in acquiring English language texts for translation.



Need to know 

Before the event

  • Once registered, you will be sent a confirmation email with the Zoom link
  • If the confirmation email doesn’t arrive in your inbox, please check your junk /spam email folder.
  • Please add [email protected] to your Safe Senders list so you receive our confirmation, and reminder emails

During the event

  • This online event will take place on Zoom Webinar; you will not be visible on screen but will be able ask questions via the Q&A function or interact via the chat box
  • This event will be recorded but you won’t be on screen
  • Attendees have the option to turn on the live transcript option
  • This event is 90 minutes.

After the event

  • Hashtag for this event: #SoAatHome
  • You’ll be able to catch the recording on our Vimeo channel



Book your place using the registration form below.

All #SoAatHome events are free but if you can afford to, please consider donating to our Authors’ Contingency Fund and we suggest a minimum donation of £5. The fund is to help professional authors experiencing financial hardship. DONATE HERE

If you are unable to book using the registration box below, please email [email protected] with the name and date of the event you’d like to register for and we’ll confirm your place.


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Financial support for authors in need through the health crisis and beyond

Since March 2020, the Authors’ Contingency Fund has distributed over £1 million in small grants to authors facing financial hardship due to COVID-19.

With at least 57% of authors facing financial losses during the pandemic, we have helped people struggling financially due to contractual, employment and event cancellations, others who have lost income due to illness, and others prevented from working because of caring responsibilities.

As the health crisis continues, applications for grants continue to come in, and our emergency funds are running low.

So, if you are in a position to help, please donate via the link below. If you are an author facing financial hardship, please click here to see if we can help.



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20% off your first year with discount code SOAFESTIVAL20

The Society of Authors is the UK’s biggest trade union for authors – representing more than 11,300 writers, illustrators, translators and other creative practitioners.

Our standard subscription rate is just £26.25 per quarter (£18.50 for students).

As an SoA member, you’ll get:

  • Access to all our SoA @ Home Festival events for free
  • Unlimited one-to-one professional advice
  • Membership of our online and real-world professional networks
  • A range of member-only discounts, including books, insurance and travel
  • And much more.




1 November
10:00 - 11:30 GMT
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