I have come across articles that have been published under CC-BY, that I would like to translate into English to give them a wider audience.

I’ll credit the original author and link to the original piece, obviously. However, can I sell commercially the translation that I create to English-language publishers?

Many thanks!

*Edit: thank you, amon, kaya3 & planetmaker: much appreciated

  • 1
    See amon's answer. But pay attention that its 'yes' only holds when you are NOT talking about CC-BY-NC, CC-BY-SA or even CC-BY-ND. Apr 24, 2022 at 19:30
  • 3
    CC-BY-SA allows commercial use - it's CC-BY-NC-SA which doesn't. The NC means non-commercial, so any CC license without NC in the abbreviation does allow commercial use. See creativecommons.org/about/cclicenses for information. Note that commercial use does not mean you're allowed to restrict how your customers (or non-customers) are allowed to use the work, only that you're allowed to profit from your use of the work.
    – kaya3
    Apr 25, 2022 at 3:39

1 Answer 1


Yes, you can do this. In the following, I'm using CC-BY-4.0 terminology.

  • The license's definition of Adapted Material explicitly includes translations.
  • You are granted the right to produce and Share such Adapted Material.
  • This right is subject to conditions. However, the only condition of this license is to retain/provide Attribution to the original.
  • There are no conditions that would prevent commercial purposes (this is not the NC NonCommercial license variant).
  • There are no conditions that would require you to keep the same license (this is not the SA ShareAlike license variant).

This generally holds for all CC-BY license versions, though they might use slightly different terminology. Two caveats though:

  • Different license versions have slightly different attribution requirements.
  • Different license versions impose different consequences when the license conditions are breached, possibly including immediate termination of the license without a chance to remedy the breach.
  • Some material is presented as being Creative Commons licensed without consent from the copyright holder.

Thus, it would be good to make sure that the original articles were actually published under that license by that author, and that you are complying with the specific attribution requirements for the given version of the CC-BY license.

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