Translation policy

The world has many expressive and beautiful languages. SIL certainly recognises the need for people who are not very familiar with English to be able to understand the OFL and its use. Making the license very clear and readable has been a key goal for the OFL, but we know that people understand their own language best.

If you are an experienced translator, you are very welcome to translate the OFL and OFL-FAQ so that designers and users in your language community can understand the license better. But only the original English version of the license has legal value and has been approved by the community. Translations do not count as legal substitutes and should only serve as a way to explain the original license. SIL - as the author and steward of the license for the community at large - does not approve any translation of the OFL as legally valid because even small translation ambiguities could be abused and create problems.

SIL gives permission to publish unofficial translations into other languages provided that they comply with the following guidelines:

Put the following disclaimer in both English and the target language stating clearly that the translation is unofficial:

“This is an unofficial translation of the SIL Open Font License into language_name. It was not published by SIL International, and does not legally state the distribution terms for fonts that use the OFL. A release under the OFL is only valid when using the original English text. However, we recognize that this unofficial translation will help users and designers not familiar with English to better understand and use the OFL. We encourage designers who consider releasing their creation under the OFL to read the OFL-FAQ in their own language if it is available. Please go to for the official version of the license and the accompanying OFL-FAQ.”

Keep your unofficial translation current and update it at our request if needed, for example if there is any ambiguity which could lead to confusion.

If you start such an unofficial translation effort of the OFL and OFL-FAQ please let us know.