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Santechnik

Sample translations restrictions

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Hello! I am new on smartcat platform and I have a question regarding sample translations - namely if I am allowed to use every text for it or there are certain restrictions? For example, I wanted to translate an article from an online source (a newspaper). The point is, if I am actually allowed to use their article? Because under "User Policies" it is written that I am allowed to use the content for personal and non-commercial purposes. But if I translate it, then I modify the content, which is already not allowed (I guess so).
I will be happy if you share you knowledge and experience regarding this topic.

Thanks in advance!

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Hey Santechnik,

I think you're mixing things up a bit. You see, the Smartcat policy and the laws that regulate whether and how you can use translated materials are different things.

Smartcat's policy states that you can use the platform, the Workspace, the Editor (Smartcat itself) for both comercial and personal purposes (translating samples for your portfolio is a personal purpose).

Whether or not you can publish reference material you created for your portfolio depends on the country you are working in, and whether the company whose material you translated allows it or not and which country that company is based in.

Since this is too complex to have a single answer, treat it like this:

1. Always try to get permission from the owner to perform a sample translation for your own use. If you don't have permission, try and look for some other company and/or material. Most companies will simply ignore you, so try and find smaller enterprises to work with, as they have a greater chance of replying to you.

2. If there the company has a copyright policy, that policy may state whether derivative works from theirs is allowed, such as a translation. Most copyright policies give you permission to quote and share with attribution, some of them allow you to modify the content, and that's mostly what you are looking for. Chances are that if a copyright policy lets you modify something, they will never bother about you making a translation of it.

3. Try and cut a deal with a company. If they'll accept you translating something for free if you retain the rights to showcase the translation as your references and portfolio. Some companies will allow, smaller companies.

4. Free material can always be translated. If there is something that is freely accessible, such as creative commons, or the public domain, you are free to do it. When you translate something, you actually retain the exclusive right to that translation, unless you sell it.

5. As far as you don't translate sensitive material, don't misrepresent a company, and don't portray a false association with a company or its business, no one will bother whether or not you are translating something from them or not. For all intents and purposes, creative content (literature, music, etc.) works better for this. You can translate technical manuals too, if you know how, just be careful with what you showcase.

Follow these guidelines and anything else you pick up along the way, and you'll be on the safe side. :)

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Hi Otavio!
thanks very much for such a detailed answer! By "User Policies" I actually meant the policies of this online newspaper :) 
Another thing, if I can´t find a copyright policy of an internet material I want to translate, does it mean that it is a free material (regarding to the point "4")? Or should I either way mention the source in my translation?
Thanks in advance!

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Not at all! If you can't find a copyright notice, policy or quoting permissions it's simply because the owner hasn't made these available.

Unless you have it stated somewhere that the content you want to quote, modify, copy, etc. is public domain (or the author gave you authorization to do so) then it is not free to use.

However, translations are a very peculiar spectrum of copyright material, which is why the laws concerning it are more complicated, but also more lenient.

Not everyone accepts you just mentioning where the source came from, which is why you should always try to contact them first, or get some sort of authorization. If you need the specifics, you'll need to study copyright law! Or hire someone who knows them best. :P

90% of cases, though, people just don't care, as far as you are not gaining commercial value from someone else's work.

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