Foreign Language Translation and Adaptation, and Entertainment Law

When negotiating a contract for a client involved in the entertainment sector, including authors, actors and directors, one issue that needs to be resolved is foreign language translations and adaptations of your client’s work. As many movies and books are translated and released for foreign sales, specific contract clauses must address your client’s financial interests in these foreign language adaptations.


For example, one of the main issues is the cost of these foreign language versions. There are many expenses involved in creating a foreign language adaptation of a book or film, especially in terms of foreign language translations.

What you need to negotiate for your client is how much of these costs, if any, are the responsibility of your client and how much control your client will retain over the foreign language translations. Sometimes a client may want a great deal of control over the foreign language translation in order to ensure artistic accuracy, other times they will prefer to have no involvement at all.

The other issue involved in any foreign language translation and adaptation of your client’s work is that of compensation. Most contracts have a separate clause covering the payment and royalties received from any and all foreign language translations of a work.

For more information, see Counseling Clients in the Entertainment Industry, prepared by the Practicing Law Institute (March, 2004).

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