A Beijing court has ordered New World Press (新世界出版社) to pay a total of RMB115,000 (US$19,000) to translator Ma Ainong (马爱侬, left), perhaps best known for her renditions of Harry Potter in Chinese, according to a Jan 23 item on Chinanews.com (维权不易).
She took New World Press to court because it published and marketed a series of 13 books of translated world classics for children under the name 马爱农, which is also pronounced “Ma Ainong” and is written very similarly to her name. The judgment found that the translator’s name has effectively become her logo and one that can attract potential consumers, and that the intentionally misleading use of a highly similar name for this series of children’s books constitutes counterfeiting (仿冒).
I haven’t done any research in this field, but my impression is that the amount of reparations ordered is extraordinarily high. Such cases have become more common, but the damages awarded are often a pittance. This may be a sign that the authorities want to send a signal that the rights of writers—be they authors or translators—should be respected, or simply that Ma Ainong . . . has formidable guānxì.