A Canadian translator says she’s reached a settlement with the British Museum over unauthorized use of her work.
Vancouver-based Yilin Wang says the museum has agreed to compensate her for translations that are part of an ongoing exhibit dubbed “China’s hidden century.”
Wang says the terms prevent her from disclosing monetary details, which include a licence fee and an additional payment that she will donate to a cause that supports translators of Sinophone poetry.
The museum apologized to Wang in a statement on its website and says it takes copyright permission seriously and is reviewing its permissions process.
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Wang says her translations of poems by 19th century revolutionary Qiu Jin had already been on display for a month when she learned in June of their use, which she says included a giant projection, digital and print audio guides and signage.
Wang says the deal came together Friday, and while she’s glad the museum “has come around” she says it’s frustrating they only did so after she obtained legal representation.
“It just kind of underscores for me even more so how translation is overlooked and disregarded as a craft and skill and art form,” she said Tuesday from Vancouver.
“From what I’ve noticed in the field, in general, there’s always been translators having to advocate to have their names on the covers of books they translate, and to be named in book reviews and things like that.”
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The museum said in its statement that it does not have a policy for the clearance of translations but that as part of its review it “will ensure that translations are specifically addressed” and that “translators are appropriately credited in future.”
It expects to complete the review by the end of the year.
It added that Wang’s translation of “A River of Crimson: A Brief Stay in the Glorious Capital” will soon appear in the exhibition and the museum’s website “with the translator’s full permission.”
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