Can I take foreign language writen articles and then rewrite them in english on my website?

23 replies
Hy everyone !Can you please tell me if it's legal to take articles from another website that is written in a foreign language and then to put them on my website written in english and a little modified?I don't want to do anything illegal or to upset anyone so this is why I am asking.You will help me a lot with your answers so please let me know !
#articles #english #foreign #language #rewrite #website #writen
  • Profile picture of the author Shwepps
    Yes, you can. Why not?
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    • Profile picture of the author Andrew B
      I am not sure but what if the creator of that article would see that his creation was posted on another website written in english?Couldn't he sue me?
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      • Profile picture of the author Shwepps
        Originally Posted by Andrew B View Post

        I am not sure but what if the creator of that article would see that his creation was posted on another website written in english?Couldn't he sue me?
        Man, how we could do that if he doesn't know language? Or do you suppose that this random guy after publishing his post will search all over the Internet looking for websites which authors translated his article? I'm sure, now he is relaxing somewhere at Hawai and don't care at all about that...

        At least, you could just post a link at the end like "source: site.com" to calm down your conscience if you have one.
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        • Profile picture of the author angiecolee
          Originally Posted by Shwepps View Post

          Man, how we could do that if he doesn't know language? Or do you suppose that this random guy after publishing his post will search all over the Internet looking for websites which authors translated his article? I'm sure, now he is relaxing somewhere at Hawai and don't care at all about that...

          At least, you could just post a link at the end like "source: site.com" to calm down your conscience if you have one.
          I'll be brief:

          Follow this guy's advice at your legal peril.

          Shwepps - a heads up. As someone who also writes for a living, I AGGRESSIVELY pursue ANY and ALL attempts at STEALING my work.

          Make no mistake, copying someone else's work is THEFT. You can be SUED. And if you get someone like me at the other end of the lawsuit, you better cover your ass cheeks because I'm gonna make SURE it hurts.
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          • Profile picture of the author Len Bailey
            Angie, you beat me to it.

            Real copywriters and publishers work hard to create original copy and content. Which is why pretty much every copywriter and publisher I know hunt down -- and hold responsible -- anyone stealing their work. I've done it myself.
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    • Profile picture of the author Jack Gordon
      Originally Posted by Andrew B View Post

      Hy everyone !Can you please tell me if it's legal to take articles from another website that is written in a foreign language and then to put them on my website written in english and a little modified?I don't want to do anything illegal or to upset anyone so this is why I am asking.You will help me a lot with your answers so please let me know !
      Originally Posted by Shwepps View Post

      Yes, you can. Why not?
      lol, thank you Shwepps, for illustrating so clearly the stupidity of asking legal questions on a marketing forum.
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  • Profile picture of the author WD Mino
    Why are you asking legal questions on a public forum, let alone the copywriting forum?

    You already know the answer, don't do it. Either contact them and see if you can get permission or write your own.
    -WD
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  • Profile picture of the author Len Bailey
    If you republish someone else's work as your own, it's plagiarism -- i.e., stealing -- period. And yes, many authors and publishers DO check for plagiarism. Thanks to the Internet and translation software, doing so has never been easier.

    My advice: Check the publisher's website to see if they allow republishing. Many do, so long as you include an appropriate attribution statement. If they don't say so right on their site, email them and ask if they mind -- providing, of course, you cite them as the original source and maybe even offer to include a link to their site. For example:

    Source: This article was originally published by The Warrior Forum. Reprinted with permission.

    If the website doesn't respond... as a last LEGAL resort, you can always write a few paragraphs about the article -- i.e., the lift-note I mentioned above -- and simply link to the original source.

    Hope this helps.

    Len
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  • Profile picture of the author Andrew B
    Thank you all for your answers,I am glad that I asked you before doing anything.
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  • Profile picture of the author turboshandy
    Even if it's in another language, it's still plagiarism.
    However, I'm almost sure nobody would say no if you ask for permission to quote the source I'd love it if someone would like to translate my articles, it means I did a good job and someone finds my work "worthy" enough to share with others.
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    • Profile picture of the author marciayudkin
      If the website doesn't respond you can always translate the article and publish it with a brief lift note at the top that: (1) credits your source; (2) explains why you felt it was worth sharing with your readers; and (3) states you translated it for your readers' convenience.
      That's certainly a creative legal theory.

      It's like saying that if someone doesn't answer their front door, you can waltz right in as long as you leave a note saying you were there and you came inside for your guests' convenience.

      Marcia Yudkin
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  • Profile picture of the author Len Bailey
    You're absolutely right, Marcia. Thanks for calling me out.
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  • Profile picture of the author d3communications
    Just to add my (non-lawyer) two cents: The original text is owned (copyrighted) by the creator of that text. A translation of that original text is called a derivative work, and violates the copyright unless you have created the derivative work with the express permission of the copyright holder.

    You MIGHT be able to get away with a FAIR USE of the text (blogs do this all the time by quoting the original source), but that's a dicey proposition. Also, you'd only be able to quote the source to the limit that falls within fair use, and then you'd have to direct your readers to the original source, which is going to be in the original foreign language...

    Now...anything that is in the public domain is fair game. But...you'd have to know the public domain rules for the country that you're taking the text from....so there's that.
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  • Profile picture of the author DABK
    Yes, you can.

    You just write the following at the top or bottom:
    Written by: and give the name and link to the original
    Translated by: and you write your name here.
    AND, every time that article translation makes you money, you send them their cut.
    Agreeing upon the proper cut requires you talk to them first. These days, given how easy email is to use, that shouldn't be a problem.

    There's nothing wrong with taking an article, writing a response to the ideas presented there and mentioning the article, or even quoting a sentence or two (and telling your readers where you're quoting from).
    There's nothing wrong with taking an article, process the information, write an article that incorporates said information.

    If you're interested in not doing anything illegal, you don't take.


    Originally Posted by Andrew B View Post

    Hy everyone !Can you please tell me if it's legal to take articles from another website that is written in a foreign language and then to put them on my website written in english and a little modified?I don't want to do anything illegal or to upset anyone so this is why I am asking.You will help me a lot with your answers so please let me know !
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    • Profile picture of the author angiecolee
      Originally Posted by DABK View Post

      Yes, you can.

      You just write the following at the top or bottom:
      Written by: and give the name and link to the original
      Translated by: and you write your name here.
      AND, every time that article translation makes you money, you send them their cut.
      Agreeing upon the proper cut requires you talk to them first. These days, given how easy email is to use, that shouldn't be a problem.

      There's nothing wrong with taking an article, writing a response to the ideas presented there and mentioning the article, or even quoting a sentence or two (and telling your readers where you're quoting from).
      There's nothing wrong with taking an article, process the information, write an article that incorporates said information.

      If you're interested in not doing anything illegal, you don't take.

      The key phrase in this whole argument are the words TALK TO THEM FIRST.

      Permission. Permission is how you rewrite these and don't get in trouble.

      You cannot just TAKE without TALKING to them, however. Derivative work is still covered under copyright law.
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      • Profile picture of the author DABK
        I assume you're referring to this: "There's nothing wrong with taking an article, process the information, write an article that incorporates said information."

        I didn't mean create derivative work. I meant, you make the info yours, create your own work.


        Originally Posted by angiecolee View Post

        The key phrase in this whole argument are the words TALK TO THEM FIRST.

        Permission. Permission is how you rewrite these and don't get in trouble.

        You cannot just TAKE without TALKING to them, however. Derivative work is still covered under copyright law.
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        • Profile picture of the author angiecolee
          Originally Posted by DABK View Post

          I assume you're referring to this: "There's nothing wrong with taking an article, process the information, write an article that incorporates said information."

          I didn't mean create derivative work. I meant, you make the info yours, create your own work.
          Nope. Was merely a summation/repetition of the entire argument.

          It's only OK if you talk to them first and get permission.

          Otherwise, create your own content or reference the work as a source in a new piece of content.

          A reminder to the OP and those watching the thread that anything else constitutes theft. Not a dig at your post, which you'll notice I thanked.
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          • Profile picture of the author DABK
            I took it to mean I had not been sufficiently clear/thorough, not as a dig.

            Originally Posted by angiecolee View Post

            Nope. Was merely a summation/repetition of the entire argument.

            Not a dig at your post, which you'll notice I thanked.
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  • Profile picture of the author Alex Frei
    The answer is same as:
    "Can I translate Harry Potter into my language and not get sued?"
    You can, but you will get caught.
    If you really want to do it, do it smart. Rewrite the thing.
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    • Profile picture of the author marciayudkin
      You can, but you will get caught.
      It is stealing whether or not you get caught.

      And rewriting Harry Potter is not legal, either. That is called creating a derivative work, and it is still stealing.

      Marcia Yudkin
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      • Profile picture of the author Alex Frei
        Originally Posted by marciayudkin View Post

        It is stealing whether or not you get caught.

        And rewriting Harry Potter is not legal, either.
        My point exactly.

        The question, however, was "can I?". Technically, it's possible ) But the consequences are not pretty.
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  • Profile picture of the author graeme_pc
    I suspect this idea come from some dodgy IM product?

    There is a WSO about transcribing videos to create articles. That is the same as has already been mentioned - ie. a derivative work. It may pass Copyscape, because the transcript hasn't yet appeared on the web. And it will fool Google, who will not consider it duplicate copy for the same reason. But it may well get yo' ass whooped...

    Google aren't too interested in the legal aspect of duplication of content, they are mostly interested from the point of view of ranking your site. And Copyscape can only check against the exact content in written form - and there are ways around that, too. But if the work is already published, then stealing it is illegal. It really is that simple.
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    • Profile picture of the author marciayudkin
      But if the work is already published, then stealing it is illegal. It really is that simple.
      Illegal AND immoral.

      Why immoral? Because you are unfairly profiting off the hard work and creativity of someone else. That is the main reason for copyright laws in the first place.

      It's important to understand this, because some people think laws are stupid obstacles that are there to inspire people to slip around them. In this case, there is a good, solid reason for the laws that if you have even an ounce of creativity in your own soul, you should recognize their validity.

      End of today's sermon!

      Marcia Yudkin
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