1. What are translation rights? Translation rights (AKA “foreign language rights”) are one of the many subsidiary rights to a book that copyright holders own and can sell, license, and monetize. Other examples of subsidiary rights include movie, TV, radio, streaming, etc.

  2. Who owns the translation rights? It depends on the language in the publishing agreement between a book publisher and author. Typically, in traditional publishing, the publisher controls all subsidiary rights, including translation rights, but may split some of the income generated by those rights with the author. Self- published authors almost always own and control their subsidiary rights.

  3. Can publishers and/or authors sell foreign language rights without an agent? Absolutely. There are many authors and smaller publishers who successfully handle their own rights licenses. However, having an experienced rights agent (in house or external) can be a significant benefit because these agents negotiate rights contracts daily with publishers across the globe, have intimate knowledge of the markets, and solid relationships with only the most reputable publishers in each market.

    If you do get interest from a rights buyer via our marketplace (or through your own site) and would like some help, our parent company, DropCap, has two in- house literary agents who specialize in translation rights licensing. Simply email us at and we’ll put you in touch.

  4. How is licensing translation rights different from international distribution? Licensing is like finding a traditional publisher, but in French or Chinese who will translate, design, print, market and distribute your foreign edition as part of their list, paying you an advance and royalties.

    International distribution is the export of your English original to markets like Canada, UK, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand.

  5. What does “Powered by DropCap” mean on your website? DropCap is our parent company that has developed a translation rights management platform (“Sherlock”) that manages the marketing, licensing, and royalty collection for the book publishers it represents.

    TranslationRights uses parts of Sherlock to power our free, public rights marketplace.

  6. What is the difference between and DropCap? is a public rights marketplace where international rights buyers can discover books with translation rights available for licensing and where authors and publishers can list their books for potential licensing opportunities.

    DropCap is a closed rights platform where only rights buyers who license books from publishers DropCap represents can view books and make offers to license them. DropCap markets the titles it represents to more than 2,500 global rights buyers. More than 1,100 of those buyers are active rights buyers on DropCap’s platform.

  7. How can I get my book in front of DropCap’s buyers? If you are a publisher or author with more than 25 books and control your translation rights, review DropCap’s submission guidelines. If you control these rights, but have less than 25 titles, the best first step is to get listed on TranslationRights. DropCap tracks all titles here and continues to match them with its buyers’ needs, which can change with new buyers and/or demands for certain genres. A third option, open to all, is Translation Rights Pro. For $250, your book will be made searchable to all DropCap rights buyers. If a buyer expresses interest, the process of connecting you with them is the same as described in FAQ #16. If interested in Translation Rights Pro, please contact us.

  8. What is RightsRank? Our rights management platform, Sherlock, applies a score to each book, called RightsRank. The RightsRank score is weighted to include both publicly available data about a book as well as analytics from visitors to this site. Our ranking algorithm analyzes domestic book sales (based on estimates we make from publicly available data if we don’t have actual sales reports), plus mentions on social media platforms and other internet channels. Additionally, the activity of buyers on our rights management platform such as number of visitors to a book’s page on, how many rights buyers “favorite” a book, inquire about rights availability, download a sample of it, and ultimately license the rights, all play a part in how the RightsRank score is calculated. The RightsRank scoring is dynamic and changes as the above factors change.

  9. How long does it take for a book to be discovered by buyers on TranslationRights? Some books get discovered right away and some books may never get discovered. Discoverability is based on the number of rights agents searching for your title, both on our site and the internet as a whole. It is also based on the position of your book relative to others of the same genre on our site.

  10. What can I do to help my book’s chances of being discovered by buyers? Market and sell copies of your book. International rights buyers are most impressed by sales of your original book and the trajectory of an author and his/her brand. Nothing markets international rights like domestic sales, awards, and recognition.

  11. Listing Books on

  12. Who can list books on Our marketplace is open to all authors and publishers. We have book publishers with thousands of titles listed on here as well as authors with just one. The only things we require are an ISBN for each title and that the person posting the titles in our system has the authority to do so, as either the owner of the copyright and/or authorized representative of the person or entity that controls the translation rights.

  13. How many books can I list? Publishers and authors can list as many books as they choose, so long as they own and/or or control the translation rights.

  14. How do I list books? Contact us to get started. A TranslationRights representative will create your free account and assist you in uploading your title data.

  15. Do I need to provide a sample or complete manuscript of my book(s)? No, but any rights buyer having interest in your book will eventually want to see an entire manuscript before making an offer.

    We suggest that at first you upload a sample of your book that is enough to give a rights buyer a strong overall sense of it. We recommend the following:

    • For adult non-fiction - the table of contents, introduction and first three chapters
    • For fiction - the first three chapters
    • For children’s picture books - at least one or two spreads

  16. Your intellectual property is of the utmost importance to us. Any material you upload to us is watermarked before ever being available on our site. We also don’t store copies of your PDFs or other materials once you are no longer a user of our website.

    If you need help creating a sample from your PDF, we provide the service for $10 and will upload the sample to your book’s page when completed. Please contact us if we can help.

  17. Buyer Interest in Your Book(s)

  18. If an international rights buyer is interested in my title(s) what happens? The buyer will indicate his/her interest and will request a sample of your book. We will provide them with the sample (if you provided one) or request the sample from you, if you have not. We give the potential rights buyer 30 days to review the sample, following up three times during that month to see if they’d like to move forward. If they do, we will then make an email introduction. If the buyer just wants to connect with you immediately, we provide them your contact information.

  19. Once I’m connected with an interested rights buyer, then what? You negotiate the contract, term, advance and royalty percentages. We recommend that if you haven’t licensed translation or other subsidiary rights before that you engage an experienced rights agent, lawyer or other advocate familiar with the process and nuances involved in this type of rights licensing. There are many qualified translation rights agents and other professionals out there.

    If you don’t have a rights agent, please contact us and we will make an introduction to one of our parent company’s in-house rights agents. You can then determine whether the DropCap agent is a good fit for you and your book.

  20. Does having a book(s) listed on TranslationRights mean that you are my rights agent? No. Listing your book on TranslationRights does not create any agency relationship with us nor does it obligate you to work with us on any future licensing opportunities.

  21. Translation Rights Process

  22. What is the rights licensing and translation timeline like? Typically, the licensing timeline is 3-6 months from first interest to a signed contract, then another 12-18 months to publish the translated version.

  23. Why does it take 12 to 18 months to publish the translated version of my book? The translation rights are being purchased by book publishers that will publish the book as a traditional U.S. publisher would. While an international version may be faster than the original English version, the actual publication timeline will vary by country and publisher.

  24. How long does a translation rights license last? Most licenses are for 5 years (3-7 is a typical range), then if the book is selling well, the foreign publisher may wish to renew the license for another term. Renewed licenses include another advance and typically a higher royalty rate.

  25. How much editing is allowed when a book is translated? Generally, editing is allowed so long as the edits don’t substantially alter the meaning of the book. When translating from English to another language, there may be phrases or terms in your book that don’t exist exactly in another language. Most importantly, there may be some edits by the acquiring publisher in order to make the book fit their marketplace and cultural norms.

  26. How does an author get paid for foreign licensing? What is a typical advance? What is a typical royalty? The first payment is the advance which is typically received within 90 days of signing a licensing contract. The advance is an up- front sum that is paid to the author against future royalties. For example, if a Chinese publisher paid an author a $1,000 advance, that amount would go toward the first $1,000 in royalties the author earns. Once the author has “earned out” the advance, they start to earn money on each copy sold based on the royalty percentage amount stated in the license. Then, if the book is selling well, royalties will be paid annually. Typically, mid- to large-sized markets like France, Germany, Japan, and China have advances ranging from $1,500-$10,000. Small markets like Indonesia, Estonia, Vietnam, and Turkey range from $500-$1,000. Royalty percentages range from 6% to as much as 10% of a book’s retail price, depending on the language. For example, Greek, Farsi, Thai, Turkish and Vietnamese royalties are typically 6-7%. While, Spanish, German, Russian, Chinese, Korean and Japanese royalties are usually between 8%-10%.