Difference between revisions of "Legal Code Translation Policy"

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Watch this explanatory video:
Watch this explanatory video:
[[How-to-translate-licenses.png |link=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yhHPORrnMns]]

Revision as of 04:34, 3 August 2018

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Creative Commons has established the following Official Legal Code Translation Process and Policy (“Legal Code Translation Policy”) to facilitate adoption and understanding of our licenses as tools for sharing creative works and data. This Legal Code Translation Policy is established as of 29 October 2013 and may be updated and revised by Creative Commons in its discretion. Any non-trivial revisions will be logged and dated at the bottom of this page.

As of January 2018, the Affiliate Network transitioned to a Global Network, where everyone - individuals and institutions - are welcome. The Creative Commons Global Network works together to realize our shared values and build relationships around the world. Interested in signing up? Become a member at https://network.creativecommons.org/. You can also join our Translation Working Group on Slack, to stay informed about materials that need to be translated or to suggest new materials.


The legal code translation process in a nutshell:

1. Express your desire to translate by sending an email to legal (at) creativecommons (dot) org (CC Legal). Anyone can initiate a license translation or can be a member of a team translating licenses or other materials.

2. Prepare the draft translation using the worksheets and submit it/them to CC Legal (use translation guide as reference); the Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike (BY-NC-SA) license will be translated first; the worksheets are read-only, you can't modify their content; to use the worksheets and edit them with your translation, you have two options:

  • Go to File - Make a copy and add them to your Google Drive;
  • Go to File - Download as, choose a file format (we recommend .docx or .odt) and use the files offline.

2. Resolve questions and concerns regarding draft translation with CC Legal;

3. Initiate and coordinate a public comment period; changes recommended from the public are incorporated;

4. Send a written summary of changes recommended during the public comment to CC Legal and why they were or were not incorporated; CC Legal reviews, and then officially approves the draft of the BY-NC-SA license translation;

5. Prepare final, official translation: the team has the option of putting just BY-NC-SA into HTML, or creating the other 5 licenses first and putting all six licenses into HTML;

6. CC Legal puts the licenses on the staging server and sends links to the team; the team and CC Legal should run comparisons to find mistakes and confirm that translations of deed and chooser are completed; CC Legal will ask how the team wants language listed on the bottom of the other published translations;

7. Once any final edits made, CC Legal goes through the final checklist and pushes licenses live by merging into the master on Github;

8. Translate supplementary materials;

9. HQ updates the Wiki page of the translation;

10. The new Web pages are published on the CC website;

11. Launch official translation (to be treated as equivalents of the English originals).

Watch this explanatory video:



The legal code for the international Creative Commons licenses and for CC0 is designed for use worldwide, without any need for adaptation to local laws. For these tools to reach their fullest potential, CC encourages linguistic translations of the legal codes and deeds into as many languages as possible. This page describes the policy and process for developing official translations of Creative Commons legal code.

Legal code translation projects are coordinated and overseen by CC’s legal team in collaboration with the global network team. Creative Commons reserves the exclusive right to approve and host official translations of its legal tools, as well as to modify this process and adjust translation projects at any time. Per our policy, each official translation is hosted at a specified uniform resource indicator on CC’s website. The English original and the official translations will all be treated as equivalents. Translations of CC licenses that are not made in accordance with this policy are unauthorized modifications of our licenses per the License Modification Policy.

Beginning new translation projects

The process for developing new translations (each is called a “translation project”) is described below. Each translation project is led by individual or institutional members of the global network. Third parties may be hired to translate but must be paid for and supervised by the translation team.

CC staff follow an internal checklist to track the progress of translations; while translation teams will not need to refer to it, it is provided here for informational purposes.

For translation projects already in progress as of the effective date of this Policy, please refer to the guidelines below.

Translation project proposals

Creative Commons accepts proposals from individual or institutional members of the global network to coordinate the linguistic translation of the legal code, deed, and related informational materials. CC acknowledges that several individual or institutional members of the global network share an official or primary language. CC’s policy is to publish a single, official translation for any given language unless an important reason exists to allow more than one. This mirrors CC’s policy for translations of deeds. Individual or institutional members of the global network wanting to coordinate translation projects are expected to accommodate and encourage participation of individual or institutional members of the global network from those other jurisdictions.

Proposals for leading a translation project should be sent to CC to legal (at) creativecommons (dot) org and should:

  1. identify the language(s) into which members are offering to coordinate
  2. identify other current CC members jurisdictions where the language(s) are officially or primarily used
  3. summarize plans for coordinating with and encouraging the participation of other members as well as the broader communities within jurisdictions having the same official or primary language
  4. propose a timeline for completing the translation project.

Proposals may be posted by CC for comment or to encourage participation by those in jurisdictions sharing an official or primary language.

After the translation is approved by CC Legal, the translation project plans, translation leads, and other team members are then formalized and officially announced through postings in appropriate channels (e.g. [wiki.creativecommons.org/wiki/Legal_Tools_Translation the Wiki pages]). Translation teams offering to arrange for a third party to conduct the translation are responsible for all costs associated with the translation, supervising the translation process and conducting a final review prior to posting the draft for public comment.

The person(s) responsible for drafting, or overseeing the drafting, of a translation of legal code are referred to as “translation lead(s),” and those participating in the translation project, the “translation team.”

Translation process

1. Preparing the first translation draft

Once the translation team is finalized, the translation leads coordinate the work of the translation team in linguistically translating the legal code from English into the identified language. Please refer to the legal tools translation guide while creating your translation because it contains information about common issues that arise when translating the text of the licenses and CC0.

When translating the 4.0 license suite, please begin with BY-NC-SA using the worksheet here. (Note there is also a translation worksheet for CC0.) All 4.0 translations must include an equivalent of the following: "Official translations of this license are available in other languages." All CC0 translations must include "Official translations of this legal tool are available in other languages." Additionally, translation of the phrases "Additional languages available:" and "Please read the FAQ for more information about official translations." will be needed for the navigation boxes on the licenses and CC0. These will appear on the translation worksheet along with the legal code.

When finalized, including any review and edits by the translation leads if the drafting involved a third party, the translation leads send the first draft to the CC legal team. At the same time, the translation leads should submit a written summary (in English) containing a description of any translation challenges they experienced. This summary may be included as part of the translation worksheet or written out separately.

The CC legal team reviews the translation of the legal code and the written explanation, in collaboration with the translation leads. During the review, CC may ask for modifications to the draft as well as additional information. The review stage continues until CC provisionally approves the draft as ready for public comment.

2. Public comment period

The public comment period is designed to ensure the highest quality linguistic translations possible. The translation leads post the draft in appropriate channels for public comment and feedback for a reasonable period of time (typically about 30-45 days, but may be shortened or extended if circumstances warrant). If you would like to participate in the public comment process, please check the Wiki page for the desired language and look for instructions: Legal_Tools_Translation#Translation_status_of_the_4.0_licenses_and_of_CC0. If you don't find the instructions and the translation status is "in progress" or similar, it means that the public comment period didn't start yet. In that case, you may try to contact the translation team, if the contact details are available on the Wiki page. If not, please email CC Legal.

3. Preparing the official translation

At the conclusion of the public comment period, and following the resolution of comments by the CC legal team and the translation leads, the translation leads coordinate preparation and submission of the final official translation to CC in the format requested by CC (currently XHTML).

Creating the files

To create the HTML files, we recommend using the English legal code pages - https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/legalcode et. al. - as templates for your own. You can download the HTML page for each license by going to File -> Save Page As… and then select “Webpage, HTML only”, or whatever equivalent there is for your browser. In a text editor or HTML editor, open each file you have saved. Copy and paste your appropriate license text over the previous text, being careful not to copy over the existing HTML tags, and re-check the code to ensure that there are no mistakes. Please ensure that all the XHTML files are saved using UTF-8 encoding, which generally will be the default.

Once you have completed the above steps and relevant processes in the legal code translation policy, please send the XHTML file to legal (at) creativecommons (dot) org along with your report of drafting issues you encountered.

Then save each file separately according to the following convention:

  • CC0:
    • zero_1.0_[language code].html

(For example, "zero_1.0_fr.html" would be the naming for the French translation.)

  • 4.0
    • by_4.0_[language code].html
    • by-sa_4.0_[language code].html
    • [...]

4. Translating supplemental materials

The translation leads are responsible for coordinating the translation of supplemental and informational material relevant to the legal tool. The materials to be translated will be coordinated with Creative Commons, but must include the deed and the chooser (if not already translated), and may include the Considerations for licensors and licensees, FAQs and other materials. See the instructions for translating deeds. For translations of the 4.0 suite, the other 5 licenses are also created during this stage, after final approval of the first submission.

5. Publication

The official translation, once finalized, is then posted by CC on the Creative Commons website, where it will be maintained at a stable URL. The deed and other materials will also be updated as necessary. Once posted, the text is final and no elements of the legal code may be changed; any further corrections will be published on the Errata page. Creative Commons will also announce the translation to the public, in coordination with the translation team.

Translations in progress (as of policy effective date)

Individual or institutional members of the global network who began preparing translations before this Policy was instituted and wish to have their translations considered official should notify CC Legal and provide the following information:

  1. Language of translation;
  2. Persons involved in the translation;
  3. Description of the translation process undertaken;
  4. Description of any public comment process and involvement (or request for involvement) of other individual or institutional members from jurisdictions with the same official or primary language.

The CC legal team will review the information and will make a determination as to appropriate next steps consistent with the processes and principles described above.

All teams beginning translations after January 2018 should follow the regular process outlined above.

Supporting documents


  • 26 May 2018: As of January 2018, the Affiliate Network transitioned to a Global Network, where everyone - individuals and institutions - are welcome. This policy reflects the new structure.
  • 14 March 2017: Moved "Creating the files" from Legal tools translation guide to this page
  • 21 November 2016: Removed the obligation to send the translation proposal using the forms
  • 4 November 2016: Added detailed new steps to the translation process
  • 17 April 2015: Clarification that unofficial translations violate License Modification Policy
  • 4 February 2015: Change in supplemental material requirements, added CC0 translation worksheet
  • 4 February 2014: Additional supplemental material requirements, new version of internal checklist posted
  • 24 January 2014: More detailed summary.
  • 29 October 2013: Policy established.