Possible Duplicate:
“Can/may/will you help me with this?”

Here is the sentence:

If you like you {can|may} translate this text to English.

What word should I use here and why.

  • If you have time, you would be very welcome to translate this text to English – mplungjan Feb 4 '13 at 12:45

It sounds as if you're giving permission. In a very formal or legal (copyright is involved and the translation isn't merely an academic exercise but will be published somewhere public) situation, may is reasonable, but most native speakers of American English would use can to indicate permission rather than saying that they think you are able (can) to do the translation.

If you'd like (to), you may translate this text to English. [formal]
If you'd like (to), you can translate this text to English. [informal]

It's context dependent: What's the occasion and who are you speaking to and why?

  • Thank you for the answer. The context of the text is that I'm proposing to translate the text. With this sentence I want to say "If you like and have time and wish to, then you {can|may} translate this text". – bessarabov Feb 4 '13 at 11:20

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