Theoretically, let's say I have a friend who speaks in a foreign language and cannot understand English very well. That friend wants to read a popular English book, but they can't read it because they don't know English! (Let's say, Harry Potter.) Would it be legal to print out Harry Potter in their language? Let's assume that they cannot find that book in their language online. Would it be legal to print Harry Potter out into their language and sort of make a makeshift book for them? I live in the USA.

  • Hello! I am a new user so please notify me if I need to make anything clearer. Thank you!
    – user64012
    Commented May 15 at 2:30
  • When asking about what is and isn't legal, keep in mind that laws are not the same in all countries of the world, and the answer may depend on where. If you want an answer for a specific jurisdiction, you have to name it in the question.
    – Divizna
    Commented May 15 at 10:35
  • @Divizna OP lives in the USA, as they state in their profile (and said in their question, before my edit). I have re-included it.
    – Ben
    Commented May 15 at 11:59

2 Answers 2


No, the right to translate a book and publish that translation is restricted by copyright. To publish a translation, you would have to obtain the permission of the copyright holder.

Here are two duplicate questions and their answers on Law.SE:


Printing out copyrighted content for personal use doesn't constitute publishing. In my country, this would be legal; making the translation publicly available (for instance, uploading it on an internet site, or printing out a number of copies and distributing those) wouldn't. But laws vary and I can't tell you about yours.

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