Daniel Hahn

Daniel Hahn, translator and writer, registered for PLR on the publication of his first translation. He values highly the existence of the built-in PLR share to which all translators are entitled. Having translated 35 books and written several others since 2007, Daniel outlined his career as a translator and how he works.
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“The financial support is invaluable – translators don’t always get a royalty so PLR is really precious. Equally important is the symbolic recognition of our stake in a book. While it is taken for granted that an author has a stake in a book it is not always remembered that a translator does too.”

Brought up speaking English and Portuguese, Daniel's favourite metaphor for translation is “art forgery”. “You have to make a book which seems the same as the original but is using a different medium. To do so, you create a palette for the author,” he says. Daniel finds that the best way to achieve his ‘forgery’ is to translate as he reads the book for the first time. “I like to translate on my first reading so that I discover the story just as any new reader would. That way, I can have done three quarters of the book and still not know what is going to happen. From that I get the pace and the feel of the story although the voice may not be quite right especially at the beginning.  I do a very bad first draft and then I edit it down.”

Creole by José Eduardo Agualusa was the first book Daniel translated from Portuguese to English. Since then he has translated about 35 titles including Pelé: The Autobiography by Pele with Orlando Duarte and Alex Bellos and novels by José Luís Peixoto, Philippe Claudel, María Dueñas, José Saramago and Eduardo Halfon. Daniel’s most recent success was as the translator of A General Theory of Oblivion, also by José Eduardo Agualusa, which won the 2017 International Dublin Literary Award. Following this success Daniel, who is a former chair of the UK Translator’s Association and has long been active in supporting other translators, has founded  the TA First Translation Prize, a prize to encourage new translators to break into the field. As a former chair of the Translator’s Association Daniel has long been active in his support for books in translation and those who translate them - the need for there to be more of them.

Key points

  • To qualify for PLR , applicants must apply to register their books
  • You can apply for both the UK and Irish PLR schemes through the UK PLR office
  • Translators can register for UK and Irish PLR on printed books 
  • Translators can register for UK PLR on ebooks and audio-books (non-print material does not qualify for registration with the Irish PLR scheme)
  • Translators may register a fixed 30% if they are named anywhere in a printed book or ebook
  • Translators may register a fixed 18% share in an audio-book (30% of the writer’s share)
  • Where there is more than one translator, the fixed share should be divided 
  • Further information on registration, eligibility, shares etc can be found here


Public Lending Right (PLR)

PLR is every eligible author's legal right to be remunerated when their books are borrowed freely from public libraries