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Are there any problems if I publish unaccepted translations for free tests?
Thread poster: lbone

lbone  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 18:10
Member (2006)
English to Chinese
+ ...
Nov 16, 2007

I took some free tests in recent several months. The biggest three were not accepted. Actually, I haven't received any comments on the assessment results.

1) Electronics - near 250 English words
2) Contract - near 350 English words
3) Economy (near 350 English words) + ERP (near 350 English words)

I am satisfied with my translations. I guess the reasons they were not accepted were something other their quality, but I am not going to ask the outsourcers for details.

I am thinking about using these translations.

They seem to be good samples to be added to my sample list. I haven't signed any thing with those outsourcers, and they just disappeared after I submitted the translations. Does this mean I fully own these translations and can publish them freely?

In the above 4 tests, the source of the Economy test is a piece of public news. The source for the Contract test seems to be something modified from a section of an agreement published on a renowned site. I haven't seen the sources of the Electronics and ERP tests, but obviously they were standard tests spammed to many translators and not confidential in nature.

BTW, if the translation for a FREE test is accepted and leads to a paying job, can I publish it?

Thank you for your advice.


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 11:10
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
You can only publish with author's permission Nov 16, 2007

lbone wrote:
I am thinking about using these translations.


Stop thinking it. You can only publish a translation if the author of the original had given permission for the translation to be published.

If you want to publish some samples for your portfolio, go to the Wikipedia where you'll find free content that you can translate and republish in your portfolio and all you have to do is mention the source (Wikipedia). Alternatively, go to the Gutenberg project and grab a piece of text of which the copyright had already expired (although those texts are likely to be quite old).


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mjbjosh
Local time: 11:10
English to Latvian
+ ...
It depends Nov 16, 2007

Samuel Murray wrote:
Stop thinking it. You can only publish a translation if the author of the original had given permission for the translation to be published.


I think it depends on the country you are living in. I know for sure that news articles that are considered to be of general nature are not copy protected here in Latvia, be it Reuters, DPA or France Press. I really don't know about China. It seems that they have different copyright law, because the European Comission is constantly complaining about intellectual property issues in China. If the law permits it, why wouldn't one be allowed to use the work they have done??


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xxxwonita
China
Local time: 07:10
Is it allowed to post part of the text on the Kudo? Nov 16, 2007

I am actually very happy to get access to all kinds of texts on the Kudo. Had the question askers talked with their client before they posted a question? How much text should be shown?

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Gerard de Noord  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 11:10
Member (2003)
German to Dutch
+ ...
Never publish tests Nov 16, 2007

The tests would no longer be of any use if the Google spider catches them.

Some companies are really serious about their tests and wouldn't like the original and the translations to be published, to say the least.

Samuel's comments are smart. Translate some pieces of Wikipedia you specialise in.

Regards,
Gerard


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The Misha
Local time: 05:10
Russian to English
+ ...
What are they going to do? Nov 17, 2007

What exactly are they going to do to you if you do publish (whatever you mean by that) those texts? Come and sue you in China? Yeah, right ...

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lbone  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 18:10
Member (2006)
English to Chinese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
some confusing reasoning Nov 17, 2007

They asked me to translate these texts, so I GOT THE PERMISSION TO TRANSLATE them directly or indirectly.

But they didn't pay me for the translations directly or indrectly, so they do not own these translation. I am the author. I own these translations.

So what are the actual problems. I am just confused.

I just read the copyright law of our nation. It says translating or publishing others' works needs permission. But it hasn't said publishing permitted translations needs further permission.

[Edited at 2007-11-17 05:22]


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 11:10
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Two types of permissions Nov 17, 2007

lbone wrote:
They asked me to translate these texts, so I GOT THE PERMISSION TO TRANSLATE them directly or indirectly.


You don't need anyone's permission to translate anything. All you need, is permission to publish (or to distribute).

The fact that you were asked by the *client* to do the translation, doesn't mean that the *author* of the text has given permission for the translation to be published by *you*.

But they didn't pay me for the translations directly or indrectly, so they do not own these translation.


Absolutely (if "own" means "to have a licence to use"). This means that they do not have the right to publish the translation without your permission.

However, the fact remains that in order to publish a translation, the publisher needs permission from *two* parties -- the author of the original, and the translator. If you want to publish your translation, you already have permission from the one party (yourself), but you still need permission from the other party (the original author).

Naturally, if your country's copyright law says that the original author's work is somehow exempt from copyright, then you only need permission from the translator... unless by your country's laws the translator's work is also exempt.


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Tim Drayton  Identity Verified
Cyprus
Local time: 12:10
Turkish to English
+ ...
Go ahead Nov 17, 2007

What's the big panic here?
A translator proposes to make public his own model translation of a few hundred words of text, all taken from sources which are in the public domain. What seriously is the worst thing that could happen? If an interested party has an objection, their first step would be to make a complaint, and the sensible course of action would then be to remove the offending text from view. I don't honestly see why anybody would care enough to complain. It is not as though the original author is being deprived of any potential revenue from his or her work.


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xxxMarc P  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:10
German to English
+ ...
Are there any problems if I publish unaccepted translations for free tests? Nov 17, 2007

Samuel Murray wrote:

You don't need anyone's permission to translate anything. All you need, is permission to publish (or to distribute).


Sending a translation of a copyrighted text privately to a third party (such as a potential customer) is unlikely to constitute "publishing". I would think that it would be covered by "fair use". Posting it on the Internet is obviously a different matter. Just my layman's opinion, not legal advice, etc.

I wonder though what the point is of using these particular texts. The only advantage seems to be that the work of producing the actual translation has already been done. Given all the disadvantages, I can't see much reason for using them instead of other texts which lend themselves to this kind of use, such as Wikipedia articles.

Marc


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Lawyer-Linguist  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 10:10
Dutch to English
+ ...
Practical advice - if you really want to use them Nov 17, 2007

Write to the agency, tell them you are planning to do it and are simply advising them to the extent their permission may be necessary (it's a moot point actually, but I'm not going to waste time now on explaining why).

Tell them if you don't hear from them within 10 (ten) working days you will regard their failure to reply as tacit consent to go ahead and proceed to use them as samples.

If they object and give a valid reason, don't proceed (use something else as has been suggested), but they'll at least see what premium you place on confidentiality.

However, they've demonstrated they aren't exactly good at writing themselves, so giving them a reasonable deadline is the best way to bring it to a head.

Sure, the maxim "de minimis non curat lex", meaning, in layman's terms, the law doesn't give a s*** about trivialities springs to mind, but whilst on the subject of s***, it always best to cover your a***

[Edited at 2007-11-17 12:10]


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 11:10
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
I think I agree with Marc Nov 17, 2007

Marc P wrote:
Sending a translation of a copyrighted text privately to a ... potential customer ... would be covered by "fair use".


I haven't thought it through, but I think I agree with Marc on this (although I wouldn't use the term "fair use", which is an American legal term -- rather say it is "acceptable").

But I interpreted the original poster's intent as being that he wants to add the sample translations to an online portfolio... not sent privately to a potential client.

I wonder though what the point is of using these particular texts. The only advantage seems to be that the work of producing the actual translation has already been done.


I agree. If you're confident that you can do it again, why not just... do it again?


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 11:10
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
A comment about confidentiality Nov 17, 2007

Having reread the original post, I discovered something else I'd like to comment on.

lbone wrote:
...but obviously they were standard tests spammed to many translators and not confidential in nature.


Just because a piece of text is generally sent to many translators for testing purposes, does not mean that the text should not be treated confidentially.

Any respect this client may have had for you up to now would vanish if you show that you regard confidentiality as something that needs to be explicitly stated, and not assumed in all cases.

Some may say that if they had signed no confidentiality agreement, then they are not obligated to hold information in confidence, but I say that any contact with any client or potential client deserves to be treated with confidentiality.


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Lawyer-Linguist  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 10:10
Dutch to English
+ ...
Fair use is the correct term Nov 17, 2007

Samuel Murray wrote:

Marc P wrote:
.......although I wouldn't use the term "fair use", which is an American legal term -- rather say it is "acceptable".



UK and SA copyright law use it too, not restricted to the US at all. In fact, I dealt with the topic in detail in my intellectual property law exams at Unisa.

What constitutes fair use/fair dealings differs from jurisdiction to jurisdiction but the term is used by copyright lawyers worldwide.

In layman's terms, it basically equates to "acceptable", sure.

[Edited at 2007-11-17 12:09]


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 11:10
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Steps an injured client might take... Nov 17, 2007

Tim Drayton wrote:
What seriously is the worst thing that could happen? If an interested party has an objection, their first step would be to make a complaint, and the sensible course of action would then be to remove the offending text from view.


You are making the assumption that the injured party will behave rationally... at least as rationally as you would. I say, why cause a confrontation if it's not really necessary?

Perhaps in your country someone whose copyright has been violated, must first seek to resolve the matter privately, but in my country there is no such requirement -- someone whose copyright has been violated can sue immediately.

Apart from the fact that copyright violation may be a criminal offence, there is also the issue of damages. Can you be sure that your violation of the author's copyright will cause no loss to the author in any way? Remember, by publishing copyrighted material you are in effect saying to the world "I have permission to publish this here", but what if the author may not wish to be associated with you?

Apart from legal remedies, an injured author (or agency) may also do other irrational things, like tell everyone they meet about their bad experience with you... and bad publicity is only good for actors, not for translators.


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