Tips – Copyright


These tips contain opinions about copyright considered relevant for literary translators. They do not replace the advice of a lawyer.

Contracts for translation vary according to the publisher and country of origin of the work being translated. If you have information regarding specific copyright issues, please send these tips to the webmaster of the Literary Division.


The ATA GUIDE TO A TRANSLATION SERVICES AGREEMENT provided in the American Translators Association’s main website ( is general in nature. Furthermore, because it was designed for technical/commercial translation, it does not necessarily apply to literary translation. ATA is currently looking into developing a version designed specifically for literary translation. While it is under development, we recommend the model contract drafted by PEN, available at

Suggested Reading

Information for U.S. copyright translations may be found in Clifford Landers’ Literary Translation: A Practical Guide, Topics in Translation #22, Multilingual Matters, December 2001.

U.S. Copyright Office – Copyright Registration for Derivative Works

Neither the ATA nor the Literary Division, their officers, agents, contractors or employees are responsible for the opinions and data set forth in the links.

If you become aware of a link you’d like to share, please forward it to the webmaster at