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Intellectual Property Right of Translation Memory
Thread poster: Ritu Bhanot

Ritu Bhanot  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 05:21
Member (2006)
French to Hindi
+ ...
Oct 19, 2016

If you look at all that's happening, one must ask this question. Several agencies have started using our work as if it belonged to them.

It will continue if we, the translators, remain silent and ignore all the issues involved.

Several agencies are trying to take advantage of our work. When we work the only thing that the agency and the end client has bought is "the translation". I refuse to sell intellectual property rights to my work for peanuts... And the only reason these agencies have been asking us to use specific TM tools and asking for the TMs created by us is that we don't know. We have not protected ourselves and our work.

I refuse to use TM tools, pay for it and suffer simply because someone else has decided that he/ she is going to use it without paying anything. I own Intellectual Property right on my Translation Memory. I am selling only a service and the client can use the translation and only the translation.

If one buys a book that doesn't mean that he/ she owns the copyright. Copyright, Intellectual Property right, belongs to the author.

One thing that one must remember is that some of these organsiations/ agencies have been asking us to do online translation and the tool looks like an online version of Trados. It means that they are creating their own Translation Memory and trying to steal our right.

Another trick that some are trying is to request us to translate phrases to help create Automatic Translation Tools. We are paid peanuts if you compare to how much these companies will earn using our work. Are we fools that we'll help? I refuse.

No, I as translator refuse to give any right to any agencies or any other client. I own the Intellectual Property Rights to my translations and transltion memories.

You have the right to use the translation just like a reader uses a book that he/ she has purchased.

And we, translators, must avoid being trapped in all this.

Refuse and be clear when any agency asks. We own the Intellectual Property Rights and we refuse to give it as a gift to anyone. And if you want to create a tool then do it yourself. Or I want 75% of patent rights on your tool. If I use a TM tool then remember I am the one who paid for it. No agency did. No company did.

I own all intellectual property rights on my work.

For more informaiton, please check this link -

http://www.mt-archive.info/Aslib-2009-Smith.pdf


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Mario Chavez  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:21
English to Spanish
+ ...
Intellectual rights Oct 19, 2016

The topic in the heading is fascinating, but I think the author is conflating different intellectual property rights. How so? Comparing the rights of a book's writer (author) to the rights of a translator who creates a translation memory. Apples and oranges.

Why?

1) A book is a self-contained and complete text. A translation memory is not.
2) A book is a published text. A translation memory is not.
3) The author's name appears on the book. Translation memories only mention the creator's name in their metadata.

To be sure, translators create texts all the time. In most real-world cases, the translator gets paid for the translation. According to standard practice (which can be different from country to country), a translator accepts (by contract) to give away all of his intellectual property rights to the translation in exchange of payment.

Translators may choose what tools to use to produce their translations and translation memories. If a translator creates a translation memory (TM) from scratch, of course it's his intellectual property. A client may ask for a copy, but in exchange of a price agreed between client and translator. I've done this.

Translator's intellectual property rights do not exist in a vacuum and nobody is born to these rights. These rights have a value only in specific scenarios, for example, if a client hires a translator to do a translation and also wants the translation memory for confidentiality reasons. Another scenario: an in-house translator holds limited, if any, intellectual rights to his writing because he's already being paid a salary for his work, intellectual rights and all, unless the translator had negotiated a separate rider or agreement prior to being hired as an in-house translator.


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Lincoln Hui  Identity Verified
Hong Kong
Local time: 11:21
Member
Chinese to English
+ ...
So... Oct 20, 2016

What's stopping the client/agency from running the source text against the target text and deriving a translation memory from it?

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Ritu Bhanot  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 05:21
Member (2006)
French to Hindi
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Intellectual Property of a translation belongs to the Translator Oct 20, 2016

Regarding Mr. Chavez's comments, please check the legal information.

I didn't copy paste from those links simply because I respect the authors' copyright. But as far as our translation in concerned the law is on our side.

Yes, it is our intellectual property. If someone steals even a single sentence that I write and/or translate using translation memory or any other such thing then that person/ company is infringing my intellectual right. I will sue them. And all international courts will understand it.

My name is not the issue. It is my intellectual property and I refuse.

The law is on my side.

Some translators may not know enough about these laws and feel helpless but I am not helpless.

Please read about intellectual property rights before saying such things. I did the research and so can you. You don't have to hang by every word that I say.

If the company/ agency creates translation memory from my translation it is still a product created by my (a translator's) brain. And like most of us, I, too, know my writing style and can prove it in any court. It's easy for someone who knows languages and has skills to recognise.

No translator can claim copyright on the original text written by someone else but we can do so for the translation that we create. It is our intellectual property.

I know my rights as a translator. In every sentence that I write, like most human beings, there's a key-word that can help any court of law recognise that it was written by me and is a product of my brain not someone else's.

And these days we can easily get any document without going through the agencies.

I can and do make the effort to find if anyone has used something that I wrote.

Just two or three sentences (approximately 150 words maximum) is acceptable according to law as it is from books but more than that you are infringing translators' rights and will have to reply in a court.

And the same holds true for all of us… for all translators.

No agency can infringe our rights.

No organisation has the right to make us use their online translation tools and create translation memories using our creation.

Of course, many colleagues may fall in the trap because they don't know. But this is a translators' site and we must help each other understand.

I refuse to infringe someone else's rights.

What about you?


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Ritu Bhanot  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 05:21
Member (2006)
French to Hindi
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Law Oct 20, 2016

Lincoln Hui wrote:

What's stopping the client/agency from running the source text against the target text and deriving a translation memory from it?


It is the law that is stopping and the fact that we know the law. We know our style of writing and these days most documents are available online. We can prove that this is what we wrote and complain against them. And if they use even a single sentence more than 150 words that are allowed then they'll be proven culprits and criminals.

We can sue them in any international court and make them pay fines and not just a few pennies that they offer us for translation. The fines can run into several thousand if not million Euros. And if they use our translations in computerised translation tools then they can't claim to be the owners. We can claim a part in patent... and not just a small part but the major part of all the money that they earn every year will be owned by the translator whose work was used.

Most translators may not know this and so don't use it but now we do.

If law is there to protect us then we can get protection and we have translators' associations. And now we know that we have legal protection all over the world.

No, we are not going to be preys forever.


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Chris S  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Member (2011)
Swedish to English
+ ...
In practice Oct 20, 2016

The problem is that translators working for these agencies have to sign away any rights to their translations, for practical as well as financial reasons, so this ends up being academic.

Imagine having to pay a royalty to the lexicographer every time you used a translation you found in a dictionary...


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Dan Lucas  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:21
Member (2014)
Japanese to English
Constructive attitudes help Oct 20, 2016

Ritu Bhanot wrote:
We can sue them in any international court and make them pay fines and not just a few pennies that they offer us for translation. The fines can run into several thousand if not million Euros.

I find your confidence surprising, but I would be happy to be proven wrong. If you could point me to records of such legal cases they would make for interesting reading.

No, we are not going to be preys forever.

Personally I don't think I have ever been "prey". I am a valued partner supplying translation services to professional and hardworking clients. That mindset - I was going say 'positive mindset' but I think it's just the normal mindset for a successful business - has stood me in good stead so far.

For that reason I am quite happy for my clients to 'reuse' my work. And they keep coming back, frequently with repeat business for similar documents created by the same end client, so it certainly doesn't seem to affect my business.

Regards
Dan


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RobinB  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 05:21
German to English
Analysis of the legal position Oct 20, 2016

A couple of years ago, the European Commission published a fairly exhaustive study of the IP law position as regards translation, including derivative or ancillary rights associated with TMs. It can be downloaded for free e.g. here:

http://bookshop.europa.eu/is-bin/INTERSHOP.enfinity/WFS/EU-Bookshop-Site/en_GB/-/EUR/ViewPublication-Start?PublicationKey=HC0114287

It's not exactly easy reading, but neither is IP law overall, and it would surely be reckless to make claims about IP rights and TMs without at least having consulted this study.

An analysis of this study will show that the issue of who "owns" the IP rights to a TM is not at all clear, and to claim that a translator owns all the IP rights to their translations is an extremely bold step that is unlikely to find automatic favour in a court of law.

Oh, and of course it's also important to distinguish between moral rights (which are not per se monetisable), and economic rights, which are.


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jyuan_us  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 23:21
Member (2005)
English to Chinese
+ ...
a fundamental point is that you get paid for your translation Oct 20, 2016

Ritu Bhanot wrote:

Regarding Mr. Chavez's comments, please check the legal information.

I didn't copy paste from those links simply because I respect the authors' copyright. But as far as our translation in concerned the law is on our side.

Yes, it is our intellectual property. If someone steals even a single sentence that I write and/or translate using translation memory or any other such thing then that person/ company is infringing my intellectual right. I will sue them. And all international courts will understand it.

My name is not the issue. It is my intellectual property and I refuse.

The law is on my side.

Some translators may not know enough about these laws and feel helpless but I am not helpless.

Please read about intellectual property rights before saying such things. I did the research and so can you. You don't have to hang by every word that I say.

If the company/ agency creates translation memory from my translation it is still a product created by my (a translator's) brain. And like most of us, I, too, know my writing style and can prove it in any court. It's easy for someone who knows languages and has skills to recognise.

No translator can claim copyright on the original text written by someone else but we can do so for the translation that we create. It is our intellectual property.

I know my rights as a translator. In every sentence that I write, like most human beings, there's a key-word that can help any court of law recognise that it was written by me and is a product of my brain not someone else's.

And these days we can easily get any document without going through the agencies.

I can and do make the effort to find if anyone has used something that I wrote.

Just two or three sentences (approximately 150 words maximum) is acceptable according to law as it is from books but more than that you are infringing translators' rights and will have to reply in a court.

And the same holds true for all of us… for all translators.

No agency can infringe our rights.

No organisation has the right to make us use their online translation tools and create translation memories using our creation.

Of course, many colleagues may fall in the trap because they don't know. But this is a translators' site and we must help each other understand.

I refuse to infringe someone else's rights.

What about you?


After you get paid for your translation, your copy right is transferred to your client. So, all of your arguments have been based on a false premise: your TMs are your property even if you have sold them to your clients.

[Edited at 2016-10-20 11:06 GMT]

[Edited at 2016-10-20 12:40 GMT]

[Edited at 2016-10-20 12:40 GMT]


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Mario Chavez  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:21
English to Spanish
+ ...
Cite legal precedents, Mr. Bhanot Oct 20, 2016

It's very easy to make bold legal claims. Back them up with facts, not just quote the letter of the law (anybody with an Internet browser can do that).

I doubt Mr. Bhanot is a lawyer, let alone an intellectual property lawyer, given the somewhat incendiary tone of his remarks.

Thanks to RobinB for posting that useful link (I have yet to read it).

Also, two questions for Mr. Bhanot:

a) How long have you been working as a full-time translator?
b) Have you made your concerns known to any of your clients who (re)use the TMs you create?


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Mario Chavez  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:21
English to Spanish
+ ...
It's called alignment Oct 20, 2016

Lincoln Hui wrote:

What's stopping the client/agency from running the source text against the target text and deriving a translation memory from it?


Bilingual alignment of a source file and the translated file is a common practice. Translation memories can be built using this method by the translator himself or by a translation agency staff member.

If a translation memory (TM) is the result of collaborative work, then I find it doubtful that any translator can claim intellectual rights on it, let alone monetize his/her rights.


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Richard Purdom  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 04:21
Dutch to English
+ ...
Whine yourself out of a job. Oct 20, 2016

We are moving towards a sharing economy, in terms of housing (AirBnB) transport (Uber), music (Spotify, YouTube), office space (co-working), information (the internet in general); all this strutting and bleating about the law and rights has no place.

i constantly give away TMs, and I am constantly sent them as well, to help my translations. Brilliant. Then again, these are mostly Dutch and Flemish agencies, based in places where cooperation and knowledge sharing are valued, and rich countries too as a result.


We provide a service, the service is the translation itself, we don't create, and we don't own any intellectual property, because it's not intellectual property. In fact, to push a point, it would be like a dentist demanding part of a model's earnings because his or her teeth look good.


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Mario Chavez  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:21
English to Spanish
+ ...
Respectfully disagree Oct 20, 2016

Richard Purdom wrote:

We are moving towards a sharing economy, in terms of housing (AirBnB) transport (Uber), music (Spotify, YouTube), office space (co-working), information (the internet in general); all this strutting and bleating about the law and rights has no place.

i constantly give away TMs, and I am constantly sent them as well, to help my translations. Brilliant. Then again, these are mostly Dutch and Flemish agencies, based in places where cooperation and knowledge sharing are valued, and rich countries too as a result.


We provide a service, the service is the translation itself, we don't create, and we don't own any intellectual property, because it's not intellectual property. In fact, to push a point, it would be like a dentist demanding part of a model's earnings because his or her teeth look good.


The sharing (or shared) economy is a) a slice of the world economy, and a sliver in several countries (compare Uber in Portugal vs France, for example).

Information is never free. Most Internet-based companies find ways to monetize our personal information in exchange for free services.

Incorrect, translation is several things: a mental process, a service, a product, and intellectual work, among others. We translators create every time we write a sentence. We aren't simply cultural filters.

You are a bit misinformed about the principles of intellectual property.


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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:21
Member (2008)
Italian to English
I agree... Oct 20, 2016

Ritu Bhanot wrote:

quite a lot


I agree. When a plumber calls at your house to fix a leak you don't demand him to leave his tools.


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Dan Lucas  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:21
Member (2014)
Japanese to English
Not an apt comparison Oct 20, 2016

Tom in London wrote:
I agree. When a plumber calls at your house to fix a leak you don't demand him to leave his tools.

No, you demand that he leaves behind the copper joint and the PTFE tape with which he fixed the leak.

The TM is not a tool, it is the product of tool use, as is the copper joint installed by the plumber. The point is that the skill is in the way the joint is fitted, not in the piece of metal or the strip of tape. You can buy those for a few pounds. I pay my plumber something like £40 an hour because he knows what to do with those items.

In the same way my clients pay me for my skill, not for my TM. As I have already pointed out, if the TM on its own were that useful, my clients would have stopped using my services long ago.

Having said that I wish we would all stop comparing ourselves to plumbers. Plumbing is a skilled and constructive profession that I would happily recommend to my sons, but I can't help feeling the parallels with technical translation are a little forced.

Regards
Dan


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