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Kriven
07-03-2012, 06:12 AM
I've translated and am in the process of authoring novelty translations of the tales of the Brothers Grimm, and I was wondering what should I put when Amazon asks whether the work is public domain or not? On the one hand, the tale itself is public domain, but on the other hand my translation is not. I'm confused as to what I should do. I think I should put "No, not public domain", but I thought it would be good to double check with some other self-pubbers.

evilrooster
07-04-2012, 11:09 PM
My impulse is that it's not public domain, any more than a retelling would be. The creative work -- your translation -- is subject to copyright.

Medievalist
07-04-2012, 11:18 PM
I've translated and am in the process of authoring novelty translations of the tales of the Brothers Grimm, and I was wondering what should I put when Amazon asks whether the work is public domain or not? On the one hand, the tale itself is public domain, but on the other hand my translation is not. I'm confused as to what I should do. I think I should put "No, not public domain", but I thought it would be good to double check with some other self-pubbers.

If it's your translation, it's a new work.

You have the copyright.

I am concerned about the "novelty" aspect, so you will want to make sure that you make it clear in the book and in the promo/branding that it's not a strict translation.

N.B. IANAL

Kriven
07-05-2012, 01:25 AM
I am concerned about the "novelty" aspect, so you will want to make sure that you make it clear in the book and in the promo/branding that it's not a strict translation.

Of course. I'm always very straight with my potential audience on what it is they're spending money on. I don't want anybody at all to feel cheated by something such as length or the wrong idea about a translation. In my original fiction, I always make the first page a single line telling the readers exactly how many words the main body of my work is (this wordcount does not include titles, copyright pages, or bonus features. Strictly the words that compose the story) and in the title listings I always include whether the story is a short, flash fiction, novel, etc.

I will be very sure that I am clear on the novelty aspect of my translation. I'll even be very clear on who the target audience is, so there should be absolutely no confusion. The last thing I want to do is make someone feel cheated, and I take every measure within my power to prevent it.