Well, there’s bad news and… I don’t think there’s any other news than that.
For starters, I did get in contact with the author of 〈Million Dollar Bill〉 properly and he sincerely thanked me for enjoying his novel, however, he told me that he couldn’t make any decisions himself and directed me towards the editing team of the publisher his novel is under. This part seems to be the section where most other translators seem to face a wall. As you can tell by how I started this post, the publishers basically gave me a solid “no”. Their only reason was that ‘there are copyright issues’. They didn’t even attempt to negotiate anything and just left it as that.
This is actually rather upsetting since I really did want to at least translate volume 1 of 〈Million Dollar Bill〉. If I had just translated the novel without asking for permission first, then I would have probably been fine for a fair amount of time, maybe even indefinitely since Korean publishers don’t usually go out of their way to DMCA things that often. But since I’ve already received a solid “no”, my hands have become tied. They’ve technically ‘warned’ me in a sense now, so if I translate it regardless, then they can skip the warning and strike me straight away.
The only reason I’ve been going out of my way to ask for permission first was due to my good experience coming in contact with the publisher/editor of DD and YaMA. They were completely fine with me translating their novels and actually thanked me for the global popularity that I helped attract to their novels. The second reason is due to the time where I got reported by someone about the Hitler novel and Anna de Balzac. This incident sort of made me more cautious.
I’m really not sure what to do now. Korean companies seem rather closed-minded and not open to the idea of fan translations. If it were a web novel, then I’d only need the author’s permission to translate, but the novels that I’ve been trying to translate are light novels. Novels that are behind publishers. This sort of makes things complicated. There’s an option where I could just translate things first and let the author/publishers find it on their own. At that time, if they want me to take it down, then I will. If they want to negotiate something, then I will. I feel like this might be the best option. This means that I can at least translate a volume and share it with the all of you before leaving it to fate.
In any case, I guess I should hear everyone’s opinion on this. Do you guys have any recommendations or should I just go with my plan of translating things without asking for permission first and leaving things to fate?
All in all, I just wanted to feel more official, but that desire ended up putting a lot more limitations on me.
Here’s a baseball fan version of Barbatos to cheer up the mood a bit.
(Artist: Jiki | Source: KR Dungeon Defense Fan Cafe) [This cafe cannot be accessed unless you sign up, so apologies to those of you who cannot read Korean]