Finding (Russian) source texts for portfolio translation samples (specific field: chemistry)
Thread poster: DARKastheRAIN
Feb 17, 2016

None of the translations I've done for clients will work as portfolio samples, so I want to create a few translations specifically for this purpose.

The trouble is finding source texts that are both the right sort of material and available to be used in this way without running into copyright issues. I already spent a lot of time working on a couple of samples assuming that since they were both freely available on the Internet from what looked like legitimate sites, it wouldn't be a problem for me to use them as samples. But after doing more research on the issue and reading the fine-print on one of the sites (which forbids reposting of the articles on another website), I'm thinking my original assumption was invalid. It doesn't look like I'll be able to use either of those samples.

Just to be sure, the first one is from and is an entry from an enclyclopedia called "Химическая энциклопедия". I assumed that since it was available on this site and others ( for instance) that it must not be under copyright any more, but upon further investigation I'm starting to think I was mistaken about that. Does anyone know for sure?

The second is a journal article from which has a specific prohibition against reposting at the bottom of the page ("Не разрешается копирование материалов и размещение на других Web-сайтах"). It may not say anything about translations in particular, but I'm guessing that doesn't matter.

I'd love for somebody to tell me I'm wrong about both or either of these being off-limits, but I'm not hopeful.

I've tried searching for substitutes, but I can't seem to find much there that isn't English. Does anyone know where I can find creative commons/uncopyrighted Russian chemistry texts? Ideally I'd like to have one that's geared more toward the layman (like the encyclopedia article above) and one that's more technical and targeted at fellow scientists (like the journal article) but not more than two or three pages long.

I've heard people suggest using Wikipedia articles, but I'm hesitant to do this because I'm worried it'd come off looking a bit unprofessional. I know Wikipedia articles can be good quality, but that doesn't stop them from having a less than glowing reputation with some people.

One other thing I wondered was whether there was a difference in what you can get away with posting on a website for anyone with the URL to access and what you can get away with sending to individual clients upon request.

If you have advice on any of these questions, I'd appreciate your input. Thanks.


Jane Phillips  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:42
Member (2013)
French to English
Ask for permission Feb 18, 2016

Have you tried contacting the sites concerned to ask for permission to re-post the article and your translation. Often, as long as you acknowledge the provenance, they're quite happy to get the extra coverage.

At least that way you'll have an official answer one way or the other.

Kind regards


Getting Permission Feb 18, 2016

Jane Phillips wrote:

Have you tried contacting the sites concerned to ask for permission to re-post the article and your translation. Often, as long as you acknowledge the provenance, they're quite happy to get the extra coverage.

I thought about that, but I've heard other people say that they never had any luck trying to get permission to use something as a translation sample. Has anyone ever successfully obtained permission for something like this?

I'll try it, but I'd still like to know where I can find some other options, in case it doesn't pan out.

Also I'm not sure who I can ask for permission to use the encyclopedia article, since it's originally from a print encyclopedia and can be found on several different websites, none of which seem to be officially associated with the copyright holders.

But I've drafted a letter to the contact listed at the bottom of the journal article site. Could someone who's a native Russian speaker tell me if it sounds all right?

Уважаемый редактор!

Я русско-английский перводчик, и я хотела бы знать возможно ли получить позволение на иcпользование английского перевода одного из статей из Российского химического журнала в моём онлайн-портфолио.

Статья, о котором идёт речь — [URL]

Если Вы сам не уполномочены давать позволение, не могли бы Вы переслать письмо или поставить меня в контакте с кем-нибудь, кто может давать позволение?

С уважением
[My Name]


Local time: 04:42
Italian to English
try historic material? Feb 18, 2016

You can google famous (dead) Russian chemists and look for their texts on Google Books. If they are old enough, the copyright will have expired. I think this is something Mendeleyev wrote for instance:

By the way, I am not sure why you can't use an excerpt from current published/public material that you cite accurately to demonstrate your translation skills. It seems like fair use to me and you are not selling it or directly profiting from it or claiming it as your own scientific accomplishment. That said, I certainly would want to avoid the perception that it was inappropriate so if everyone thinks a bad idea, it probably is.


Open Access Feb 20, 2016

I found a list of "open access" journals at including a few Russian language ones. But I'm still unclear whether a journal claiming to be open access allows me to post a derivative work/translation. I can always link to the original site for the source text but the target text would obviously have to be hosted elsewhere. What I've found on the term "open access" suggests that it's a bit loosely applied when it comes to scientific journals and isn't always intended to include the right to make derivative works.

I've got my eye on this journal in particular:

Can anyone who knows more about copyright than I do tell me if this looks like something I'll be able to use without having to worry about obtaining permission first?

[Edited at 2016-02-20 19:52 GMT]


To report site rules violations or get help, contact a site moderator:

You can also contact site staff by submitting a support request »

Finding (Russian) source texts for portfolio translation samples (specific field: chemistry)

Advanced search

WordFinder Unlimited
For clarity and excellence

WordFinder is the leading dictionary service that gives you the words you want anywhere, anytime. Access 260+ dictionaries from the world's leading dictionary publishers in virtually any device. Find the right word anywhere, anytime - online or offline.

More info »
Déjà Vu X3
Try it, Love it

Find out why Déjà Vu is today the most flexible, customizable and user-friendly tool on the market. See the brand new features in action: *Completely redesigned user interface *Live Preview *Inline spell checking *Inline

More info »

  • All of
  • Term search
  • Jobs
  • Forums
  • Multiple search