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Sharing TM on Internet
Thread poster: Arben Seva

Arben Seva  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:03
Member (2003)
English to Albanian
+ ...
Oct 26, 2004

Just a simple question (kidding):
Can a translator share his terminology memories for free on Internet? Will that be legal? Or can he sell his TM to someone else?
(three questions actualy)

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Piotr Bienkowski  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:03
Member (2005)
English to Polish
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If you make your own glossaries, why not Oct 26, 2004

Arben Seva wrote:

Just a simple question (kidding):
Can a translator share his terminology memories for free on Internet? Will that be legal? Or can he sell his TM to someone else?
(three questions actualy)

I think it is safe to share your own glossaries. That's what many of us do here on

But to sell/post TMs is another story. I think you would run a serious risk of infringing on the intellectual property rights of your clients. There could be exceptions of course, but right now I can't think of any.


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Rossana Triaca  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:03
English to Spanish
Laws & Selling know-how Oct 26, 2004

Can a translator share his terminology memories for free on Internet? Will that be legal? Or can he sell his TM to someone else?

That depends on the intellectual property laws of your country of residence (or where the transaction is taking place). It varies from place to place, i.e., some countries view the translation as an unique creation whose rights you are entitled to, while others have a greater regard for the source text and you cannot claim certain rights on the translation resulting from it. In addition to this, sometimes the contract signed with your client/agency prevents you from owning the resulting TM due to confidentiality issues.

If you have the IP rights on the TM, you can do as you please according to the law; i.e. publish, sell, give away, etc. I´m afraid I know nothing of the current UK laws.

However, you should realize that a TM is *much more* than a mere glossary and that by selling it you are somehow disclosing, so to speak, your know-how. I´m not talking about a TM resulting from a contracted job by an agency who can afterwards simply align two files; I´m talking about that huge monster of thousands of entries on quantum physics that you have gathered over the years.

As the result of your hard labour, that TM is certainly valuable, but you must consider carefully if you want to let it go and how it would affect your future engagements (meaning, losing quantum physics assignments to the agency/individual that purchased you TM). For this reason alone you will find that posting a TM for free on the net is hardly ever done (why give your competitors such an advantage?).

Mind you, I´m talking in this case about purely commercial interests. It´s obvious to me that this logic does not apply to a great number of situations, such as translations for academic purposes, non-profit organizations, open-source collaborations, anyway, any kind of situation where you know the TM won´t be used for direct profit, which is something you can never guarantee on the internet.

In any case, as with any intellectual property, find out the current regulations and negotiate the exact terms under which you will sell/post it!

[Edited at 2004-10-26 18:55]

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Local time: 11:03
English to German
+ ...
Fusion Collaborate Oct 27, 2004

Hi! that is a tool to use, it does actually enable TM sharing. A free trial version of Fusion can be downloaded at Try it, if you have your own collaborating team of experts, then that tool enables sharing the TM with others.

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Julian Luo
Local time: 17:03
English to Chinese
+ ...
Anybody wants to exchange the TM with me? Nov 4, 2004

I have no problem with sharing my TM with all the Chinese translators here, but I prefer exchanging it.

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Kevin Fulton
United States
Local time: 05:03
German to English
In theory, probably OK, but ... Nov 4, 2004

As someone has already pointed out, there may be some intellectual property and other rights issues, as well as confidentiality concerns. You would need to edit your TM to remove all client product references (as well as clients' names!), financial information, things like that.

But doubtless you also have a lot of "generic" or boilerplate text which others might find useful. If you have a large termbase, then this might also be interesting to others, especially since you work in a language that is probably less thoroughly researched than Spanish or German, for example.

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