Posting on the CC list raised lots of issues:
- From June 2008 to a public list about Creative Commons stuff.
The following is a raw posting, not gospel. We should try to clean up the elements and being to work on translation policies.
The following content presents raw ideas. This page needs massive edits. Do not quote this material in any source. It is not sanctioned in any way. Rather, this page is more of a place holder for more editing to come.
a previous thread skimmed the surface of the issue and i am not that involved that i can say it completely addressed the issue. http://lists.ibiblio.org/pipermail/cc-community/2008-January/003035.html
for some time i have wondered why there is no license attribute or optional html tag that implicates unauthorized translations, by either man or machine. i am not aware of the status of the html tag, which perhaps a machine translation could treat like a hosts.deny specification, but looking at your selection of 6 licenses on a continuum, i wonder which combination of CC license attributes would suffice, and i come to the conclusion that you need an attribute for permission to modify to human-translate, and permission to modify to machine-translate and permission/authorization to 'speak on behalf of'. in particular, the question is whether the translation is approved or authorized by the authors. (the same consideration about 'authorization' could be somewhat analogously be applied to biographies and spokespeople and court appointed translators.) obviously any author whose work is translated will tell you whether the interpretation is an authorized attempt to represent the meaning the original intended - even though there is no way to perfectly translate a work maintaining its meanings, cultural nuances and written style. in fact, one could argue that a translation should not be allowed, because the original meaning is not translatable, due to the special nature of a given language of origin, as, for example, in poetry. let us refer to that alleged essential untranslatability by the term cultural property.
in addition to these points, i think it is fair to add another issue, that of the dictionary used in the case of machine-translation. should the world be allowed to copy (into their own open- or closed-licensed corpuses) the one to one correspondences between translated words and translated idioms. and perhaps the author could desire to specify that a particular open- or closed-license dictionary or font or phrased be chosen for any translation to be permitted. and we have not even approached the issue of intentionally misspelled or unorthodox compounded words, and exotic punctuation. also let us not forget performance art, and authorizing academic translation licensing.
finally, since translations are not going away, there is the issue of a boiler plate being placed with content saying that the translation is or is not authorized, even if the content is copyable or modifiable in other ways.
cultural property can further be specialized. in particular i could envision an author, people or government, beleaguered by issues of cultural imperialism, asking the national public university to endeavor to protect the future of their language by stamping all content with unauthorized translation prohibitions, and instituting a clearinghouse for deciding which works can be translated into which languages and how. certainly in this modern day we still find this vein of isolationism and control, which, even if not official, includes students of foreign languages being not infrequently discouraged. some languages are even suppressed deservingly, for failure to reciprocate and open up their language to the masses. though this is politically incorrect, it exists even among evangelists of english, which is very much shared, almost fanatically, even to enemies of english who then appear very cosmopolitan as they prepare acts of savagery behind the backs of those who pressed so hard in the name of whomever to bring them modern civilisation.
shouldn't the creative commons proponents include this on their agenda: to include attributes to adequately address the right of an author to authorize translations? and don't you think that dictionaries for machine or human translation should be specifiable and sharable?