French teen held over online Potter translation
Jumping the gun
French police have arrested a 16-year-old accused of posting an unauthorised translation of the final Harry Potter book onto the net before the official translation comes out.
The unnamed high school student, from Aix-en-Provence in southern France, was taken in for questioning by police following a complaint from French publishing house Gallimard. He was later released after questioning by police from a French anti-counterfeiting unit. It's unclear whether or not he'll be prosecuted.
"Concerned that such acts of counterfeiting are threats to basic authors' and creators' rights, (author J K Rowling and Gallimard) immediately agreed to support the investigation as it was launched," Gallimard spokeswoman Marie Leroy-Lena said in a statement.
"It is not [just] a young person or a fan we are talking about here - these are organised networks that use young people," Leroy-Lena told Reuters.
The official translation of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows isn't due out in France until 26 October. In the meantime, French stores are selling the English language version of the much-anticipated tome, something that happened with earlier editions in the series (the fifth Harry Potter book was the first English book to top the best-seller list in France).
An unofficial French translation of the first three chapters of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows appeared online within days of the 21 July release of the English original, Le Parisien via Reuters reports.
Tight secrecy around the contents of all seven books in the Harry Potter series has meant the books are only released to translation once they are published in English, inevitably creating delays that run into weeks or longer. This creates a demand for unofficial translations that previously saw the publication of an unofficial Spanish-language version of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.
Translation errors and gaps littered this translation, prompting the translator to apologise for its shortcomings. The quality of the French translation of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is unknown. ®
"The police said they were astounded by how good the translation was. They said it was very professional."
As I am a professional translator, does that mean that you will be seeking my opinions of police work? I assume that they mean that it had been spellchecked and didn't contain any gross grammatical errors. It's not clear how much he had actually translated (if it was only the first three chapters I guess that's a plausible 10000 words or so) but if - as suggested elsewhere - http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2007/08/08/arts/EU-A-E-BKS-France-Harry-Potter.php - he'd translated the whole thing he must have been working at a staggeringly impressive speed (a professional translator will normally be looking at doing something 2-3000 words a day, and although JKR's prose is not desperately challenging, spotting and reinventing made-up words and phrases in a foreign language is likely to slow anyone down), and is probably largely the product of some MT system, gawd help us (or the francophones at any rate).
There is, as far as I am aware, no law in France or anywhere else much against trying to translate anything you like for your own entertainment and/or edification, merely against distributing it. Of course it's obviously all about money, and the publishers' decision not to allow translation work to be started before the EN publication date is rather silly - although paranoia about the story getting out before the Big Day is just part of the highly successful hype around the whole Potter series - but even translators have to eat...
also, by UK standards he isn't a pirate as he isn't selling copies or producing copies for sale. Infringing copyright probably though.
this is the first time I've seen something like this in popular media, well of late anyway.
The suggestion that criminal organisations have anything to do with it is utter bullshit. But we accept such crap from modern media and authorities.
With modern communiation you either release everywhere more or less at the same time or you sacrifice your first distribution rights.
Take anime, it takes generally takes at least a year for a title to go to the US (2 years is more common) that's if something gets translated atall. Then another year or two to get to the UK.
Fansubbers can have episodes released a day after it's aired on TV in Japan depending on how fast they can get a "RAW" how many groups are working on it and the kind of outfit they are (speedsubbers or qualitysubbers) these folk translate it so a: we don't have to spend years waiting for shows and b: so we don't have to put up with lame commercial subs.
These hardworking chaps don't get cash, infact often they end up spending alot of cash on maintaining central distro servers, I think they're crazy to be honest, but I love them all lol. They're normally ignored until a yank licenses a title, which is still a pain for us brits as it still wont come out over here but soucing it becomes a real pain.
This lad should be praised for providing a service that the official companies couldn't be bothered doing.