Please read on for on opportunity to earn USD $25,000 as part of a book translation project.
A Shanghai-based academic publisher is looking for a translator to work on a book translation project (from Chinese to English). The book is titled Studies in the History of Ideas: The Formation of Important Modern Chinese Political Terms《觀念史研究：中國現代重要政治術語的形成》, written by Jin Guantao (金觀濤) and Liu Qingfeng (劉青峰). The book is based on an expansive database on Chinese political thought from 1830 to 1930 that was originally compiled under the auspices of Jin and Liu while they were at the Research Centre for Contemporary Chinese Culture, Institute of Chinese Studies, Chinese University of Hong Kong. It was first published in 2008 by the Research Centre for Contemporary Chinese Culture under the Chinese University Press, and republished in China in 2010.
Professor Jin was Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Chinese Studies and Director of the Research Centre for Contemporary Chinese Culture from 1989 to 2008. Currently he is the chair professor at National Chengchi University, Taiwan, and China Academy of Art, China. Professor Liu, formerly Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Chinese Studies, is now retired.
The book currently has a contract with Brill under its Ideas, History and Modern China series <www.brill.com/ihmc>, to be edited by Theresa Lee, University of Guelph (Canada). The translator’s name will appear on the cover page and will be remunerated with a translation fee of USD $25,000.
The book can be previewed at amazon.com http://www.amazon.com/CUHK-Cultural-Studies-Series-Formation%20book/dp/B00FVSBVJ0.
Please contact Theresa Lee at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in the project.
A translator comments: I know that academic translating is different to commercial translating. But the fact remains that this is a simply comic level of remuneration for this translation. Perhaps the idea is that it will be done by a grad student with a grant to supplement the payment. However it works, I very much hope that the authors of this blog – who surely know much about the difficulty and importance of translation – will join me in insisting that translation should be properly paid.
Hi Phil, Thanks for this comment. The motivations for, and compensations for, academic translation is a good topic! At one end of the spectrum, there are translations done simply as part of academic research, for which one may receive (paltry) royalties but the main reward is abstract: making a positive difference in our understanding of our world, and getting “credit” for that from one’s peers and institution. The less a translation counts as “research” in this way, the more motivation I would expect a translator to have to be paid a reasonable amount for her or his labor. In this case, it seems that we’re pretty far away from the research end of the spectrum: while the translator’s name is to appear on the cover, Prof. Lee will be taking academic resposibility for the work, as editor. My understanding is that the press, which initiated the project (and set the amount of the fee) is having difficulty finding a translator, which may well reflect the problem that you’ve identified, Phil!
I would add that having flipped through the book, the Chinese is extremely technical and would require the translator to have intimate knowledge of not only the Chinese material, but the Western material translated into Chinese. Also, it is more than 600 split-pages of text which would come out to at least 1,000 pages in English. That’s a lot of work but as Steve said, there is more to translation that financial compensation (though in this case I think the level of satisfaction would be on the lower end of the scale).