Follow Up: Teen Not to Face Criminal Charges in Illegal French “Deathly Hallows” Translation Case

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Aug 13, 2007

Posted by SueTLC
Uncategorized

A follow up today regarding the case of a teen Harry Potter fan who posted online an unofficial French translation of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. The BBC is reporting today that French Harry Potter publishers Gallimard, along with author J.K. Rowling, have decided not to sue a young fan from Aix-en-Provence, France for posting online his own translation of the final Harry Potter book in French. Earlier the youth was arrested for this translation which was discovered as part of a probe into “organised networks that post pirated book translations online,” and then the 16 year old boy was later released. Police had commented previously on the “near-professional” quality of the boy’s work,” however upon further investigation it was discovered the youth was not seeking financial gain by posting this translation. The official French translation of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows will be available on October 26.

Thanks Rebecca and everyone who emailed!





49 Responses to Follow Up: Teen Not to Face Criminal Charges in Illegal French “Deathly Hallows” Translation Case

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I know that I’m not the only one who thinks that lad is cool!

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I’m so glad! Good for him, I read that he was just another huge HP fan and just wanted to please his friends, fellow eager HP fans, who could not read English. I guess he’s a real Gryffindor! ;-)

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By the reaction to his standard of translation I would think he would be more suited to Ravenclaw. I just love this story.

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I hoped he just wanted to share his work with others who were waiting for for the book and I’m glad they’re not going to sue him after all.

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Hmmpf. Even if it wasn’t for financial gain, it still isn’t legal. If he was that impatient, just read your translation yourself!

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Yay! Good on him!

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Of course he wasn’t doing it for financial gain. I could have told you that. People share files so that others can enjoy them.

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This is great, he did not deserve to be put in jail! I’m also very glad that it was JK Rowling’s decision, not the French government’s, to rest the case.

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Well, unauthorised translations do cut into a publisher’s/author’s profits, so it was illegal, but it sounds as tho the authorities have handled the situation very well.

Gallimard is THE premier French publisher, there really is no equivalent in the UK or the US. I think Pierre Nora is still in charge, but not certain on that….and he has both good business and common sense, and a great sense of humor, i can see him roaring with laughter once he realized it was a kid who did the translation!

That young man may very well have found himself a career! The French educational system from lycee through universities are all interlocked with publishers, tv, film etc, and with talents like his, he should do very very well!

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I’m glad common sense prevailed in all this, he was merely trying to get the story to non-English speakers before the story was spoilt waiting for the dumb official French translators to get off their backsides and finish translating what they’ve had for ages (why is it taking so long, it’s so unfair?!). I feel so bad for those who haven’t been able to read the book yet because they are unable to, every day the risk someone could spoil the ending or whatnot must be terrible, especially if you are emotionally invested in the series. 3 Months is unacceptable, I’d be livid! I have lost some respect for JK bringing the whole thing up as she’s always maintained she didn’t want it spoilt for any of the fans and yet she hasn’t come out and voiced displeasure with the international translators taking so long but she will bring this poor fan to the police’s attention. Why didn’t she ensure that it was tranlsated internationally before releasing it if she cares so much about it not being spoilt for anyone?! Glad she’s had the decency to drop it, it was uncalled for as he was never out for profit.

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see and he wasn’t even asking for any payment! hm, why am i suddenly reminded of a house-elf?? i’m relieved that’s done. i would’ve been very disappointed indeed if he was sued and pursued.

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The fact that a regular french teenage HP fan can translate Deathly Hallows to “near-professional quality” faster than the french publishers is ridiculous. Shame on Gallimard, especially since DH is such an important and eagerly awaited book. Thank goodness Jo Rowling saw sense and didn’t put this obviously-devoted HP fan behind bars.

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“Bah, ee waz only trying to elp ez friends”, Fleur Delacour Weasly.

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This decision will have had nothing to do with JKR herself. I doubt she was even informed let alone consulted. (Though she may have intervened of her own accord after she read it in the press).

The manuscript is sold by her UK agent/publisher to any foreign language publisher as a ‘commodity to exploit’ and not as some sort of holy and revered text. Sorry, but that’s how capitalsim works. This is all about their money. What to do in this case would have been solely up to the French publishers and their lawyers. Thanks heavens they saw sense. I agree no charges should be brought but this really has nothing to do with JKR. She probably first read about it in the press like us.

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They ought to just hire the kid.

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Hmm, this is an interesting story. I’m conflicted about whether to agree or disagree about the “rightness” of the kid’s actions. So I’m not really commenting about that. But I did want to mention to the people who are anxious to see the official translation be released:

They need to print the books and distribute them, too… It’s not just translating. There’s probably a whole lengthy process between when books are done being written/translated and when they are available to buy. Remember: Book 7 wasn’t available to buy immediately after JKR announced that she had finished it!

Keep your patience, everyone… ;)

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Personally I am disappointed in this result, whereas I commend JKR and the publisher for not gutting the kid’s parents for something he had done, I do think there should have been some repercussions for his blatant disregard of the law, community service or something. You guys act like illegal activity is ok, as long as you agree with it and that is wrong. True enough that the kids intentions might have been innocent enough, but the fact is you do not have the right to tell the owner of something what they should do with it {as long as that something is legal of course} or how fast they should do it in. I have no clue why it takes so much longer to translate it from English to whatever language it might be going into, but the fact is that the time line is irrelevant, that is how long the powers at be think it should take and since it is their property, they have the right to make that choice. Illegal activity should never be just disregarded, that tells other people down the line that it is ok for them to do it too and it just dominos down hill from there. Something should have happened to the kid to show him and others that there will be repercussions for breaking the law. Maybe not to the point of crippling the kids parents financially or putting the kid behind bars, but there are other ways to get the point a crossed and they should have been explored.

John B.

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even though I am not involved in the publishing industry I have my own speculations about the question why does the translation of the book take so long ?>

I think that it’s not the translation itself that takes until October – there is the translation and the spellchecks, plus perhaps some arrangements when it comes to translations of character names and item names. also the layout has to be organized (the chapter pictures need to be done and selected, too). when all of the necessary preparations are done and alright – then the datas for the book can get transferred to the printing press. and when the pages are printed, cut and bound – then the book is ready for sale. (don’t beat me when I missed steps in publishing process, the above is all guesswork)

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Well more then likely she had a good laugh about it. If you think about it a 16 year old kid translating a couple hundred page book to French in around a week is pretty good and the translation being semi professional too. That pretty dam impressive. But since it was illegal maybe they should make him to community service that or just give him a job.

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There is a difference between “right and wrong” unfortumately to copy copywrited material is wrong,in this case official translation hadnt taken place for release !!! Unfortunately the THE TOTAL BLAME LAYS WITH THE PUBLISHING HOUSE FOR THAT COUNTRY ! there waqs a promise that the book would be available on the 21st day of July, eager fans wished to read it ! This young man was able to translate to his language and was willing to share.HE DID ! is being helpful a problem ? I do hope not ! (IF THE PUBLISHING HOUSE CANNOT PROVIDE, THEN THEY ARE AT FAULT.) I WISH THE YOUNG MAN EVERY KIND THOUGHT AND PRAISE HIM FOR HIS KIND HEART.

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When I first heard about this, my friend had told me that when his younger brither went to visite his grandparents in Quebec he had called and tried to read somethings to him before he had read the english version. I am a very loyal HP fan and I think the kid that did this had good intentions. BUT what he did was illeagal and it should be dealt with accordingly. It was not his place to translate the book and he should have more patients and respect for the translated version. I do congradulate him on being able to translate it so well but it was not his place to do so. I admire him but he should have kept his translated version to himself. I’m rather dissapointed that they decided against punishing him. They should have given him communitty hours or something. The people who have to tranlate the books must been under a lot of pressure to get the book out and have it translated properly, think of how upset they were when they found out that a 16-year-old boy did it faster than them. He should have more respect for the people that do that for a living.

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Well, i WON`T say a Thing about if what that kid did is right o wrong… but it really calls my attention that a Kid can translate faster that the translators. My original language is Spanish (sorry any mistake in my english) and in our case is even worse. Some of you can say… JUST WAIT TWO MONTH for your book… but in spanish it taks 8 MONTH… people that is nearly a YEAR!!! The only way for wait the last book without earing any spoilers is locking ourselves in a bunker with water and food.

Almost every fan page in spanish already translate Deathly Hallows to Spanish WHY SALAMANDRA (the editorial) can`t do it faster??? We are not asking for two weeks, or a month… but 8 months is a joke.

Again sorry all the mistakes that must be in my words

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What I think a lot of you guys are missing was this was done without contractual obligations, in other words what ever the kid thought it meant was what he put down. He did not have to go back to the original source and say is this ok? I would surmise that the biggest reason most of you have to wait is that as it is being translated, the translators have to go back to Jo’s representatives and ask if their translation is ok and that the reason why some countries have to wait so long is that they only do one language at a time. It sucks I grant you, but the fact is that is the way it is done. I am sure every language that the book is sold in would be able to get it out faster than this kid if it was just up to them, but it is not, the have to translate it, get the translation ok’d though Jo’s representatives and then print it on paper, that takes time. All the kid had to do was read, translate it in his head, type it out and post it on the net. If he had to go through the same hoops as the publisher, who is under contractual obligations, had to then it would probably have taken as long, if not longer.

John B.

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I, too, have a split view of it…it is right to translate something to help your friends. However, once he posted it on the Internet, it became wrong. Honestly, how many of us would do the same things to help our families or friends? I probably would! I am glad that he won’t be sued. I do think that some sort of minor punishment (community service would suffice) is fair, and for all we know, he did get something like that.

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Good form him, and I think exactly as MND, I’m from Costa Rica and I don’t have to wait 8 months for the official translation due to the a fan translation!...This guy just gave some happyness to French people!!!!, leave him in peace!

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if jo and the publishers were really worried about cutting into their profits they would be suing public libraries. three months is really not that long to translate 600 pages of material, translating is incredibly painstaking work. this kid is not going to stop people from buying the book; i seriously doubt anyone into potter enough that they absolutely can’t wait till october won’t want to read the official version when it comes out(multiple times.) i serously can’t believe that anyone is genuinely upset about this. personally i can’t wait to see the cover art when it finally comes out.

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YES!!!!! I was hoping that it would turn out this way, and for everyone out there who’s questioning this guy’s actions, go back to read OotP, and think of the parallelism between that & the DA.

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I completely agree with you AngelusMx!

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The whole thing is silly. If a large publishing house has a distribution method that is so out of date that a devoted 16 year old fan can out produce them, the world is upside down.

Yeah for the young fan! A victory for common sense.

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Translating only appears simple to people who never have to do it. To become a good translator it takes years of formation and education at university. It is very subtil complex, full of traps and nasty surprises.

After having translated a text, a more experienced and knowledgeable person has to revised the translation. Corrections have to be made and the text is again revised. This goes on for as long as necessary.

Once the text has been approved by people in authority, it has to follow the same lenghty process as any book has to go through before publication. Why does it take eight months in Spanish is beyon my knowledge.

The boy was wrong, eventhough he was well intentioned.

I am now waiting for the last and final book on the world of Harry Potter. Who did what and who does what and what happened after God knows what. Then it will all be over, finally.

Those last years were absolutely marvelous.

Thank you Jo.

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i think that’s pretty good…i meanif the translation wasn’t half bad and even Jo decided he shouldn’t be sued that must mean he was doing something good for the world…or i guess people that speak french??? He helped HP fans read what they were waiting 4 for so long…i mean if i were a person who could only speak French…(and i was a huge HP fan of course!)...i would have a hard time not wanting to translate Deathly Hallow for me!!! I mean it was a good thing he did!!!!

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oops mistake…Maria again…i mean (i would have a hard time not wanting some person to translate Deathly Hallows for me)...sorry!!

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some of you have interesting definitions of “wrong.”

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John B, do you honestly think that if this kid was translating, say, a Dan Brown book illegally he would’ve been thrown into jail? I doubt it. The French authorities were in an anti-spoiler hysteria, and if JK Rowling doesn’t have a problem with letting the kid go free, why should we?

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“Follow Up: Teen Not to Face Criminal Charges in Illegal French “Deathly Hallows” Translation Case”

As it well should be. If JKR doesn’t have a problem with it, neither should we. Like I said before, he only 16. He has his whole life ahead of him, no need to ruin it.

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Jeez, John B, I reckon you’d be at home in the Fudge controlled Ministry of Magic. Your talk of the powers that be kind of creeped me out/ The law is the law, true, but sometimes it can be broken for the better. Harry himself has broken loads of laws over the years, and no ones screaming for him to be put in Azkaban. It’s not like he committed murder. This kid was driven by his love of the books, not for profit, which to me is a huge difference. I highly doubt the publisher will lose any business. He was arrested for what he did, I’m sure that’s enough for him to realise it was wrong and that he shouldn’t do it again, even if he wasn’t charged. And I, for one, am pleased that it didn’t go to court, because it’s obvious it all would have been a colossal waste of time, and it would have diverted resources away from those criminals that REALLY do need to be punished. Clogging up the system is what I call it…

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Many of you are just so naive… If you didn’t speak English you’d get a ‘bootleg translation’ as millions of non-english speakers do. I don’t say it’s right, it’s definitely wrong; but, it’s obviously the publishers’ fault for not agreeing on a universal release of the HP book in at least the main spoken languages like Spanish, French, etc. apart from English. If they did a better job with timing and with the actual translations then this wouldn’t happen. I have heard about how fan-made translations are so much better than publisher-made ones for such a long time! El Cronista de Salem, a frequent poster around here, I’m sure would agree… ;) Hola Cronista! Saludos de un fan de HarryLatino! So anyways, take it from me, a fan of HP books who reads them in English, the legal way, but who knows of the language barrier first hand, let me tell you that it sucks to have to wait months and months for a translation knowing that the rest of the world knows what happened and only you are missing out ;)

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sorry about the above text that has a line going through it :-S I was just trying to make some smilies and then that happened :O :) Like this :)

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I’m glad for him. He only wanted to help his friends who couldn’t read it in english, and I perfectly understand that. I’m french, but I read the books in english since the fifth because I really can wait three months. And I can tell you that seeing my friends who are huge fans too, and who can’t read it in english, is awful. I totaly understand him, and even if he did something illegal, I can’t blame him. I just can blame him to being caught ! Because since the book was released in english, you can’t imagine how many illegal translations are circulating on the web, and of poor quality. But they are not sued by Gallimard, because their translations are of poor quality ! This kid is talented, and that’s why he was arrested I think. The official french translator is great, but just try to wait three months (for the final book !) and you can understand this boy ! I think that if it’s taking so long to translate it, it’s because of money. Think : how many french fans like me have been buying the english version because they couldn’t wait ? And how many of us or going to buy the french version too ? And this is the final book ! You can imagine how much money it represents. I admire him for his talent, and I’m glad they didn’t sue him. And I don’t think that the fans who read his translation are not going to buy the book in french because they already know the story. So Gallimard is safe!

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its illegal…

lets congratulate him and be happy?

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well, one point for gallimard and JK one that one.

if that had happens after book 6 is published, or if he had tried to make money, ok, he should have been sued. But there, no harm done, so…

Sometimes, sticking to the law is not the right way.

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Good Lord!

Don’t sue him!

Hire him!

What an accomplishment. It should be rewarded, not punished. I wish this fellow well.

OMT

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Why couldn’t all the international publishing houses all wait til everyone had completed the translating process before giving a release date? That way we wouldn’t have this problem, the book would be released at the same time everywhere (so no illegal copies like this) and no-one would be at risk of having it spoiled because they are being denied a copy in their language. I wish JK had forseen this and tried to rectify the situation before it arose and not just let everyone release it when they saw fit (obviously the English speaking countries having the upper hand), if she cared about fans waiting and potentially having it spoiled in the process she would have done. It’s her work in her name and she could have got some kind of legal process running where the other publishing houses waited til the others had all caught up. That would have been the fair thing to do. I think I’d even have accepted that and would have waited patiently (and I was so excited about the book). People were whinging enough about how long she was taking and yet now people are still having to wait and those who seemingly already have copies are saying this kid should be charged for trying to help them?! If it was the other way round there’d be a different story. I feel for the people who have yet to read this and hope their stupid publishing houses hurry up and provide them with this wonderful end to the series!!!

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I think that JK is very cool!! The boy is very bright and I’m glad she did not want to sue! Way to go Jo!!

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I don’t think they should have tried to go after money, but one is basically saying, “Well, because you were just trying to help your friends, it doesn’t matter that you violated the law.” There should be some sort of repercussions. Just because its a “nice thing to do” doesn’t mean its right. So now its the “cool” thing to do? Just because the publishers are pitifully slow with the translations, doesn’t make it right what this kid did—pretty simple.

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good on him!! he’s just a huge fan who wanted to let others enjoy the delight of harry potter and the deathly hallows, fans who can’t read english, whats the big deal?? i can’t believe it went to court in the first place! i’m glad he got off!!

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YEY! THERE IS A GOD!

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I’m disappointed that charges were dropped, but that’s the decision of people who are not me.

that said, if his translation skills are ‘near professional’ perhaps he can land a job with a publisher, and translate books LEGALLY.

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i’m really glad that he isn’t in jail but i find it sad that that boy can translate it faster than the government so that should be addressed

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