I've always understood that an interpreter's work is considered to be an "artistic creation" and as such is his property and protected by copyright (cf. the WIPO on copyright).
In practice, this might translate into a situation where clients are charged an extra 5-10% for the right to record the interpretation for later use.
What is your practice? Do you allow recording? If so, do you charge extra? Do you make the extra charge dependent on what use will be made of your recording (e.g. internal use for minutes vs posting on a website)?
On principle I insist on being asked and on asking everyone in the team, who is/might be recorded.
Sometimes, allowing a client to record and use what they record is an extra service that enhances customer loyalty towards me and my team (let's be realistic). More important than the money is the recognition that what we do in the booth is creative and extremely valuable and requires a major qualification, and should, thus, not simply be "grabbed" and anonymously published. And I want to know before the rest of the world, when and where people can here my voice and interpreting performance.
Sorry for the long answer. There are so many options and circumstances in this line of business, I feel. And I am also really interested in knowing how others deal with this question. Also, because I am not sure where we stand between copyright protection and creative commons.
I charge between 50-100 % of a daily remuneration for recording. I prefer not to be recorded. The remuneration is also meant to discourage the recording.
The remuneration depends on
We received information about some aspects of the German legislation at the workshop in Nied on Nov 26 by Birgit Christensen.
I have to continue in German, sorry:
Einige Kriterien, die zu berücksichtigen sind:
Birgit Christensen empfiehlt folgendes Werk von M. Cebulla:
Manuel Cebulla, LL.M., hat Wirtschafts- und Medienrecht studiert, ist staatlich geprüfter Übersetzer und verfügt als Dolmetscher und Übersetzer über langjährige Berufserfahrung. Er ist zudem Fachprüfer, Dozent und Autor.
Two more thoughts on the subject:
As nice as it may be to allow journalists to record the interpretation and not charge for it - as a rule journalists know fully well what copyright fees are and insist on getting their own copyright fees paid ...
Sometimes clients want to record the interpretation "just in case they might need it at a later time" and do not want to pay copyright fees. In such cases that's absolutely fine with me, BUT I agree with the client and the technician that the head interpreter of the team take the recording and keep it until the client decides whether he needs it. If so, he may then pay the copyright fee at a later time and get the recording. It is advisable to agree on a maximum time for which the recording should be saved by the head interpreter.
answered 17 Apr '12, 18:58
I also differentiate according to the purpose of the recording, and of course it makes a difference whether the client only needs some help for the minutes or actually broadcasts my voice. However, recording obviously is an added value for the client - otherwise they wouldn't take the trouble arranging for it. I do not charge for the recording if the client does not use my translation for a verbatim transcription of the meeting. But I always charge when my voice is broadcast - at press conferences, public events, in internet streams etc. And the honorarium for TV assignments automatically includes a copyright fee - at least when you work for a public channel in Germany. That is one of the reasons why TV honoraria are usually higher than honoraria for other short assignments.
answered 03 Apr '12, 11:02
I do as Vincent and others have explained, i.e. free of charge if recording is for internal use, copyright if it is for public use (between 10 and 25% of the daily fee; I have never heard of anything below 10%), sizable increase in remuneration if it is for commercial use, percentage depending not only on the actual intended use but also on the scale of the project.
For very large projects, like the Universal Forum of Cultures Barcelona 2004, which represented 4700 int./days over 5 months, I had no less than 5 lawyers in front of me to discuss both the concept of interpreters’ copyright and the percentage involved... After months of discussion, as nobody had budgeted for this item, we agreed on the following:
The interpreter ceded its copyright on an exclusive basis provided that the use was merely for internal purposes. Payment was included in his remuneration.
The interpreter also ceded, on an exclusive basis, the right of copy, sound recording or audiovisual recording and transcription of the interpretations through any television channels, radio stations, Internet or any other broadcast media, against 10% of his daily fee.
In exchange the organization was to include in the broadcast media, and specifically in webcasting, a legal disclaimer of responsibility, whereby it indicated that the interpreter declined any responsibility for any errors or omissions that may occur in the interpretation etc…
In a more recent project, involving 50 interpreters, I have included a 25% increase on daily fee for webcast (+ disclaimer). Not all sessions will be webcast but copyright will be paid across the board, as it would be a nightmare to trace which sessions (and which teams) are being webcast, as sessions and teams change every 90 minutes ;-) BTW, that part was a nightmare at the Forum (tracing who was entitled to copyright and when, as there were several rooms in parallel almost every day).
Whatever the percentage, which may vary depending on the market, the economic situation, the size of the project and our negotiating abilities, I believe copyright should always be charged if for public use.
answered 18 Apr '12, 12:54
I think there is a widespread misunderstanding regarding recordings and their associated rights of use, maybe due to the fact that conference interpreters are not media experts and therefore are not acquainted with the actual value of a recording.
A recording is a different product from the interpretation hence should be charged additionally. Now, what is the actual value of the recording? I would say, at least the value of the written translation if the recording is intended to be used internally, for instance, to write the minutes of a conference.
Let’s assume only the original (floor) is recorded but not the interpretation. If afterwards the client wishes to have the minutes in different languages, they would obviously have the original soundtrack transcribed and translated into as many languages as needed. Here is real calculation basis for this purpose:
1 minute of speech in German at a normal speed contains approx. 900 characters (150 words). 1 hour conference equals 54,000 characters or 9,000 words. Let’s assume a translation from German into the required foreign language costs EUR 0.17 per word. The translation cost of the transcript for 1 hour conference would be 9,000 x 0.17 = EUR 1,530.
Why would you like to give away a recording (a translation, in the end) to your client at no cost, even if it is for internal use or even if your client just wants to record the interpretation "just in case they might need it at a later time"? I can’t think of any reason… Try going to a book-shop and tell the seller you would like to take a book for free because, hey, you don’t know at this stage if you are going to use it. And even if you someday read the book, it’ll just be for internal purposes, so no need to pay for it.
If the client can’t afford the recording (and/or the translation of the transcript) and they would like to have the minutes of the conference, I would always encourage them to have an employee (or several employees, depending on the languages needed) taking notes during the conference, which is, of course, free.
Logically, the value of the recording will be higher if is not for internal use. Your recording may be used to produce an image or corporate film to be distributed publicly on the Internet. Or it may be used to produce training materials and then sold at a higher price. All these cases have a price tag. It is not advisable (and not a common practice among media experts and producers in Europe) to sell a product with a “copyright fee”. There is no such a thing as a “copyright fee” – a copyright fee for what? What you sell is a right for a clearly defined use (i.e. you charge a fee for a “right of use”). Different uses of the same recording should have different prices, which are mainly determined by three aspects: the region (city, country), the channel (Internet, POS, trade fair, TV, DVD, etc.) and the period of use (1 year, 2 years, unlimited in time). Please refer to any media experts or producers in your country to find out what the usual fees are for the different uses.
As for the German market, I recently did a presentation on the DfD conference summarising the widely accepted fees in Germany for some frequent cases. You can take a look at the presentation with notes here (in German).
...I would only add that the addition/insertion of a disclaimer should always be asked for,contractually if possible, whenever interpretation is going to be used other than right there and right then :-)
answered 23 Nov '11, 23:34