I am little bit confused about legal aspect of retrieving translation from google.translate. Is it legal to programmatically open google.translate page (user do not see it) -> then my program gets translation by means of google.translate interface -> then my program copying translation into app? Is translation output copyrighted? Is translation text output - content from google Service?

  • Do you want to ask about the copyright status of the translation, or the legality of automation of using the Google Translate service (probably you will need an API key for that, and you need to read their terms of service)?
    – Brandin
    Commented Aug 29, 2018 at 13:17
  • @Brandin no, i know the status of the translation is non copyrightable. I don't need an API key to get translations and i can do it simply by opening site programmatically and parsing information from it. Google won't block me because my app just opens it's site from WebView like every other site, then paste string to filed and pushed translate button, then script reading output and communicate it to my app. It seem i am using google from its interface. Next, they don't have TOS for translate service only for all services generally.
    – Ninja
    Commented Aug 29, 2018 at 13:37
  • @Brandin So Is copying translation from their website and using in my app is copyrightable or do i violate some law ?
    – Ninja
    Commented Aug 29, 2018 at 13:38
  • So your question is about the legality of automatically accessing the Google Translate service? Copyright generally depends on who wrote the original. For example if I wrote a textbook and you translated it using Google Translate, the translation is a derivative work and I still have a copyright on that.
    – Brandin
    Commented Aug 29, 2018 at 13:44
  • Since Google has an API for this scraping the website is almost certainly against its terms of service.
    – Ron Beyer
    Commented Aug 29, 2018 at 14:02

1 Answer 1


This website has “terms of service” that you need to follow. If you want to create a French version of your app, you can go to the website and get translations (unless the TOS disallow commercial use). There is no copyright on a purely mechanical translation.

But if one million copies of your app access the site, that’s likely to be against their TOS. Access by non-humans is likely against their TOS. Copyright doesn’t come into it. But using the site against their Terms of Service might trigger some nasty laws against you.

And with Google on the other side, I wouldn’t try to do anything “smart” like the arguments in your question.


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