Free es 'libre', no 'gratis'


New Member
English - US
This excerpt comes from an online forum in translation regarding a very difficult issue in polysemy that we are considering in a Spanish-English translation practice course. Here is the original text as written by María del Carmen Ugarte García:
El original en inglés de la licencia de software GPL (General Public
License) comienza aclarando que en ese texto free no quiere decir 'gratis' sino 'libre'. Esa confusión se mantiene en español pese a disponer de dos palabras. Cuando hablamos de software libre, entonces, de qué hablamos?

My rendering of the text in English is as follows:

The original GPL (General Public License) software license written in English begins by clarifying that "free" in the sense that it is used in the English does not mean "gratis" but rather "independent" or "possessing freedom". The confusion in Spanish is caused by the switching of two words since they share a likely English translation. When we speak of "independent or 'free' software" then, what do we mean?

Please pass along any ideas. You need not translate the whole thing.

Thank you.

  • Chris K

    Senior Member
    English / US
    Welcome to the forum. I would translate the second sentence something like this:

    "This confusion (still) remains / exists in Spanish even though the language has two words (gratis and libre) at its disposal."