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Thread: Reading Room translations toast?

  1. #1
    Registered User JamesG's Avatar
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    Default Reading Room translations toast?

    "The Reading Rooms features classical Chinese and wuxia (martial arts) literature recommendations to help promote Chinese fiction to a larger audience. *Note, spcnet.tv will no longer host fan translations due to copyright."

    I'll send the zipped completed chapters to HYS at Wuxiapedia from now on.
    Last edited by JamesG; 11-19-07 at 03:07 PM.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Grundle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JamesG View Post
    "The Reading Rooms features classical Chinese and wuxia (martial arts) literature recommendations to help promote Chinese fiction to a larger audience. *Note, spcnet.tv will no longer host fan translations due to copyright."

    I'll send the zipped completed chapters to HYS at Wuxiapedia from now on.
    Copyright may be one part, but I think that spcnet will also get advertising income for direct links to amazon.com.

    Does anyone know the law as far as translating a finished (copyrighted) work? Copyright law is confusing and very murky, but I bet this has been comprehensively covered. I thought that copyright was violated if you were trying pass someone elses work off as your own, or if you were taking someone's work and trying to profit from it without their consent.
    --=={Grundle}==--

  3. #3
    Moderator Han Solo's Avatar
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    James,

    You should have send it earlier.

    Grundle,

    The issue of copyright with translation is murky. For one thing, the translation itself has an intellectual copyright but whether the author or the rights holders also asserts their rights for the work in other language is often the other issue.

    Han Solo
    Wuxiapedia

    Quote Originally Posted by bliss
    I think they're probably at the same level as or one level below Ah Qing, which is about the level of a 2nd or 3rd generation Quan Zhen disciple.
    Troll Control

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    Senior Member Grundle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Han Solo View Post
    James,
    For one thing, the translation itself has an intellectual copyright
    Are you saying that any work an author does (that is copyrighted), there is an implicit copyright that extends to any possible translations of that same work?

    What does that mean for us translators that do it for fun? Could this be a problem for us?
    --=={Grundle}==--

  5. #5
    Junior Member mleung's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JamesG View Post
    "The Reading Rooms features classical Chinese and wuxia (martial arts) literature recommendations to help promote Chinese fiction to a larger audience. *Note, spcnet.tv will no longer host fan translations due to copyright."

    I'll send the zipped completed chapters to HYS at Wuxiapedia from now on.
    I'm curious to see how this will work with Wuxiapedia, since don't they have their own team of translators & editors?

  6. #6
    Moderator Han Solo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grundle View Post
    Are you saying that any work an author does (that is copyrighted), there is an implicit copyright that extends to any possible translations of that same work?

    What does that mean for us translators that do it for fun? Could this be a problem for us?
    Unfortunately, in the absence of real legal advice- we are in the grey zone.

    We had discussed this in the past in this forum, especially when Yu Feng was publishing his translation of the Flower Guarding Bell prior to getting rights holders approval.

    The implicit thing that we go with is that as long as there was no commercial intention, then it is alright to post translations online for the public. This is the same principle used by fansubs for japanese manga and translations.

    Of course, there are issues with translations in that the translation itself is an intellectually protected property and it may even be legally the copyright of the translator.

    I don't really understand the interplay between the rights of the author and the rights of the translator- and therefore open the floor to the posters here to answer that question.

    SPC has raised issues about wuxia translations and rights issues in the past, but has agreed to continue hosting this forum until such day when conflict exists. (To be honest, the market for english translations of the wuxia literature is so small, that one would not expect to get a cease letter from JY's lawyer anytime soon).

    Han Solo
    Wuxiapedia

    Quote Originally Posted by bliss
    I think they're probably at the same level as or one level below Ah Qing, which is about the level of a 2nd or 3rd generation Quan Zhen disciple.
    Troll Control

  7. #7
    Moderator Han Solo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mleung View Post
    I'm curious to see how this will work with Wuxiapedia, since don't they have their own team of translators & editors?
    Most the translations are wuxiapedia originally was posted here and then reposted there.

    The creator and senior editor of wuxiapedia are posters here.

    So it should work pretty ok, i guess.

    Han Solo
    Wuxiapedia

    Quote Originally Posted by bliss
    I think they're probably at the same level as or one level below Ah Qing, which is about the level of a 2nd or 3rd generation Quan Zhen disciple.
    Troll Control

  8. #8
    Registered User JamesG's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mleung View Post
    I'm curious to see how this will work with Wuxiapedia, since don't they have their own team of translators & editors?
    It'll still be our team doing the translating and editing on this site, so all is not lost. Wuxiapedia will be the home for our work.

  9. #9
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    Default the gray area

    From my limited understanding things aren't as "gray" as thy are often portrayed to be.

    A translation is considered a "derivative work". As such you need a license from the copyrights holder to publish it. You're free to translate for yourself, you just can't publish it. And no, publishing it online for free in boards like this is not allowed.

    However, as a translator you also have your rights. Though it is a derivative work it is YOUR work, and as such others can't distribute it without your consent (not even the original's copyrights holder).

    What happens is that more often than not the original authors either don't know about the fan translations or just don't care. And when they do know and care, they take no action because the audiences that the translations serve would not, under the circumstances (i.e. absence of translation) buy their work anyway, and also because they benefit from the added publicity.

    There is very very little to gain and lot to lose from chasing fan translators.

  10. #10
    Administrator spcnet's Avatar
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    There were several reasons that pushed us to close down the Reading Rooms translations. One was the obvious copyright issues - it is NOT a grey area, as Bloodflowers mentioned, translating without authorization from the original authors is considered a violation of copyright. Since the Wuxia Translations forum was already serving these translations, I almost felt like it was made worse by making it so easily accessible at the Reading Rooms.

    In the past, we actually tried contacting the copyright holders of Gu Long's novels (this was how Becky Tai officially published her translation of Xiao Shiyi Lang) but we have not received any responses from them. Also, Jin Yong's publishing agents have warned websites in the past for posting translations. For instance, Graham Earnshaw's English translation used to be freely available on his website until he had to take it down and get it officially published. (http://www.earnshaw.com/b&s/b&s.php)

    At Mr Cha's request, and in light of the publication later this year of the Book & Sword translation by Oxford University Press, we have removed all but the first chapter from this website.
    Secondly, that section was rarely updated, members were not posting there and often just came to this forum to post updates. Thirdly, Wuxiapedia has already been reposting all the translations on their website and been doing a great job of it. It seems that quite a few members here were already shifting to Wuxiapedia for the translations already so we could with a good conscience close down our section.

    We are not forfeiting wuxia though. I hope that we can come up with different content for wuxia - podcasting idea is one that I hope to implement soon.
    -SC

  11. #11
    Senior Member dgfds01's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bloodflowers View Post
    From my limited understanding things aren't as "gray" as thy are often portrayed to be.

    A translation is considered a "derivative work". As such you need a license from the copyrights holder to publish it. You're free to translate for yourself, you just can't publish it. And no, publishing it online for free in boards like this is not allowed.

    However, as a translator you also have your rights. Though it is a derivative work it is YOUR work, and as such others can't distribute it without your consent (not even the original's copyrights holder).

    What happens is that more often than not the original authors either don't know about the fan translations or just don't care. And when they do know and care, they take no action because the audiences that the translations serve would not, under the circumstances (i.e. absence of translation) buy their work anyway, and also because they benefit from the added publicity.

    There is very very little to gain and lot to lose from chasing fan translators.
    Agreed. It is NOT a grey area. Bloodflowers and I have gone over this a few times before. The only "grey" areas are jurisdictional issues and how easily copyrights can be enforced across national boundaries.

    Besides that, while the translator generally holds copyright to the translated works, I believe that right can only be enforced if the translator was translating legally in the first place. That is because the translator's right is derived from the author/copyright holder's right. With no legal right to translate to begin with, it is doubtful if copyright to the fan translations can be enforced.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Bangs's Avatar
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    Removing the reading rooms is fine with me. Looking at the new banners and menus on top of the forum page, I hope we don't get unwanted popups.

  13. #13
    Senior Member foxs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spcnet View Post
    In the past, we actually tried contacting the copyright holders of Gu Long's novels (this was how Becky Tai officially published her translation of Xiao Shiyi Lang) but we have not received any responses from them. Also, Jin Yong's publishing agents have warned websites in the past for posting translations.
    Can you give me the email or even snail-mail address of Jin Yong or his publishing agents, please? I know it's a long shot, since I am sure you have done it before, but I'd like to try contacting them. As someone mentioned it earlier, I don't believe the market is THAT big for English translation, that they should be concerned over financial loss.

    Please pm me. Thank you.

    PS: James, could you send your files to me also? I'd like to start creating the pdf for others to download. Thanks.

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    If you're going to try contacting them why not talk with the other translators first? If you got their permission perhaps something could be arranged and the novels that have been completely translated could be published.

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    Senior Member foxs's Avatar
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    The problem is: I don't have any money to publish it. I was thinking more of getting their blessing, so we can enjoy these fine works without any guilty feeling, like I am stealing something from Jin Yong ... you know what I mean? I used to think that as long as I am not gaining anything financially, I do not do anything wrong; but some of you said it otherwise. So, what am I supposed to do?

    But since you mention it:

    Contacting ALL translators: Will you give your permission IF someone agrees to fund the publishing of the Jin Yong's Trilogy? (I know it is kind of O/T, but some of those translators are not even responding to my personal messages)

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    Contacting the translators through PM in these boards is not exactly the most efficient way. I personally never read mine. You should try emailing them and posting on threads/boards they frequently visit or perhaps try asking people who talk to them on a regular basis for their emails.

    And you shouldn't ask them to just waive their rights. I was thinking of something more along the lines of sharing the profits (if there are any) from the sold books.

    And if you don't have any money, that'll make it harder but not impossible to publish the book. Its a matter of finding a publisher to finance it. It may not be easy, but it is definitely possible.

  17. #17
    Senior Member foxs's Avatar
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    Bloodflowers, I am a noob (did I use this term correctly? ) here, I joined this forum long after those oldtimers are no longer regular posters. I don't know their emails, I don't know the threads or boards they frequently visit; as I, myself, don't usually wander off to other forum other than wuxia translation. As a matter of fact, I am working on the pdf format of She Diao Ying Xiong Zhuan for my personal collection and to share it with friends and family (I'll post those files later when I am done). I contacted those people and only Moin, Traveller, and Sunnysnow among the old timers (meaning they translated chapters earlier than 14 where I started joining the team) responded.

    Yes, I DO want these novels published; but I've got my plate full as it is right now. I don't think I will have the time and energy to pursue this publishing stuff in the foreseeable future. (I do have a little bit of money but I don't want to 'invest' it in this endeavor yet; I have some other plan and that does not include publishing wuxia translations ... ) If you or any of the readers would like to help, I'd appreciate that very much.

    As I mentioned before, contacting Jin Yong was not about getting the novels published. At least, not right now.

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    If so it'd be best if you were to stay put. I say it's better not to draw unwanted attention to ourselves.

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    Does this resolution from spcnet include the forums as well? That would be terrible....

  20. #20
    atlantean0208
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    Hope this is not going to happen with the Wuxia Translation Forum, SPCNET please confirm. I think its time to do read-and-save the translation update before its gone

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