Process for Donating Translations



The objective of the JewishGen Yizkor Book Project is to help make the material in the memorial books (yizkor books) of destroyed Jewish communities available to the world. One of our goals is to collect English translations of these yizkor books and to publish the translations on the JewishGen Yizkor Book web site.

You can join us in this mission by donating translations of yizkor material to be placed on our web site or by donating money to help fund new translations. The donation procedures are explained below, an overview of the liability issues followed by a FAQ (“Frequently Asked Questions”) section.  On a separate page is a step-by-step discussion on “How to set up a translation project.”  Finally, on separate pages are the required forms, which may be printed out and returned. Please contact Lance Ackerfeld, JewishGen Yizkor Book Director , at any time if you have any questions about how to proceed.

Lance Ackerfeld
Project Manager

Types of Yizkor Material and Methods for Funding Translations

Below is an outline of the types of material we will publish on the Yizkor Book web site, the role of the Coordinator, and the methods for funding translations.

  1. Yizkor Book materials previously translated into English

    Many persons have already translated or had translated by others significant portions of a yizkor book--or even the entire book. We encourage them to donate the translation to JewishGen to be published on the Yizkor Book web site. The process can be summarized as follows:

    To donate already published material, contact the Translations Manager of your intent. We will need to start the process of obtaining copyright permission immediately. Once we have copyright clearance, you will be asked to to submit to us

    1. the translation in an electronic medium and

    2. 2) two copies with original signatures of the Donor Agreement, in which you give us permission to use your translation.

    • On the Donor Agreement, you will be check either Item #2. B. or #2.C., as appropriate.
    • JewishGen, Inc. will have non-exclusive rights to publish this material.

  2. Yizkor Book materials that were originally published in English

    Some persons wish to donate sections of yizkor books which were originally published in English. Since many of these books are difficult to find, publishing such materials on the web and making them accessible to researchers is also important. However, unless your submission is made in an electronic format, we cannot at this time give such projects a high priority. Until high-speed and modestly-priced scanners become available to us, we do not have the volunteers now to do scanning. In addition, optical character reader (OCR) software is far from perfect, so all OCR-produced files need to be carefully proofread against the original text. We have the ability and resources to scan only a few pages at a time; any longer submission cannot be handled.

    Please contact our Translation Manager before submitting the material. If it is in electronic format, we will check copyright clearance before publishing it on the Web. Once we have copyright clearance, you will be asked to to submit to us

    1. the original English-language material in an electronicmedium and

    2. two copies with original signatures of the Donor Agreement.

    • On this form you will check Item #2. A.

  3. Yizkor Book translations that will be done in the future

    The majority of submissions will fall into this category as most yizkor books were written in Yiddish and/or Hebrew and thus will need to be translated into English to make them accessible to genealogical researchers who cannot read them in the original languages. A Coordinator will be needed for each yizkor book translation.

    • Coordinator's Role

      In order to proceed with a particular translation, it is efficient to have one person acting as the Coordinator of the group funding the translation. Briefly, the role of the Coordinator is to:

      • find interested persons to contribute to the translation fund
      • select and work with a translator
      • have the translator sign a Work for Hire agreement
      • assist with copyright clearance

    • Funding Mechanisms:

      There are two models for funding new translation projects, each with its own advantages. The choice is up to the persons organizing each project. Under Method 1, since the money is donated directly to JewishGen, the tax deductibility of the contribution is clear and the Coordinator is relieved of some fiscal and administrative responsibilities. Under Method 2, the group retains the ownership of the translation.

      Method I: JewishGen acts as fiscal agent

      • All contributions are sent to JewishGen and are deposited into a dedicated account earmarked only for the translation of your designated yizkor book.
      • Donors' funds are recognized as charitable contributions to JewishGen, which is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization.
      • JewishGen will execute a Work for Hire agreement with the translator you have selected.
      • JewishGen will pay the translator you have selected up to the amount available in the designated account. It is assumed that funds will be collected over time and that the translation will be done in parts as the funds are donated. For example, the Structural Elements--that is, the Table of Contents and the Necrology (list of persons killed)-- could be translated and published on the Web while you gather enough funds to pay for the translation of various chapters. If you wish, your group can determine the sequence of the material to be translated.
      • JewishGen will have exclusive rights to the translation as the funds were donated to JewishGen and dispersed by JewishGen.

      Method 2: Group acts as fiscal agent

      • The Coordinator will collect the funds to pay for translation on behalf of the group
      • The Coordinator--or the group--will select a translator.
      • The Coordinator will have the translator sign a Work for Hire agreement which will also be signed by the Coordinator and will be transmitted to JewishGen.
      • The Coordinator will pay the translator
      • Individual donors will work with their tax advisors on the issue of a tax deduction of funds used to pay the translator's fees.
      • The translation will be donated to JewishGen on a non-exclusive basis, giving us the right to publish the translation on the Yizkor Book web site. In other words, the group will own the translation.

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Yizkor Book Director, Lance Ackerfeld

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Updated 25 Oct 2020 by LA