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RE: translation Circus

From: Ajeet Khurana <kits_ajeet@hotmail.com>
Date: Wed, 2 Jan 2008 07:12:57 +0000
Message-ID: <BLU129-W124FC4D53271093673763BEA520@phx.gbl>
To: Ivan Herman <ivan@w3.org>, <gareth.edison@googlemail.com>
CC: <w3c-translators@w3.org>

Thanks for a well considered response. After being a w3c watcher / lurker for years, I jumped into the translation fray. And I never felt it was like being part of a circus. 
If we ignore the discussion on which language is important and which is not, I think one positive outcome that we can work with is encouraging members to volunteer in proofing with as much vigour as they demonstrate in translating. I for one intend to look at all Hindi translations (and a few other Indian languages, where I am not fit to translate, but might have enough of an eye to proof).
So, thanks Gareth for rocking the boat a bit. Whatever your intent, it is always good to stop and re-evaluate. Thanks Ivan for eloquently putting this discussion to an end (I hope that is what just happened).
Ajeet Khurana

> Date: Tue, 1 Jan 2008 17:58:10 +0100
> From: ivan@w3.org
> To: gareth.edison@googlemail.com
> CC: w3c-translators@w3.org
> Subject: Re: translation Circus
> Dear Gareth,
> Although I am not the person at W3C who manages the translations any
> more (but I did it for many years), Helen will forgive me, I hope, if I
> answer this mail.
> I do not want to come back on some of the factual mistakes you made in
> your mail on various languages; others have done that already. Let me
> reflect on the more general issue instead.
> Basically: who should be responsible of choosing which language is
> important or not? Who should be responsible for _checking_ the quality
> of translations? W3C has, essentially, two choices: either to set up
> some very strict rules, thereby reducing dramatically the number of
> translations, or to let all of them come and try to filter out the
> obvious 'spams' only (there has been some but really not a lot!).
> I say 'dramatically reduce the number of translations' because, let us
> face it, that would be the result. 'W3C' is not a faceless organization
> with infinite possibilities and resources. It is a small team of about
> 50 people plus, let us say, another 50-80 people with real interest in
> internationalization who could, conceivably, use some of their time to
> do such checks. But... have you ever checked a translation? I tell you,
> as somebody who did it in his youth, it is _very_ tough work. Ie, out of
> those 50 + 50-80 people only a few would really accept to do this type
> of work... Hence the dramatic reduction.
> So, the choice is between two evils. Either reduce the number of
> translations or let them come in without any formal linguistic check,
> accepting the danger of letting in some whose quality might be less then
> desirable. If this is the choice, I am definitely in favour of the
> latter. And I am definitely not in position nor, I believe, is anybody
> around, to decide _which_ language is acceptable and which is not.
> The comparison may be a bit far-fetched, but is is a _little_ bit like
> Wikipedia. Yes, Wikipedia does contain lots of errors, mistakes,
> misrepresentations. Awful stuff. But the community effect works and I
> think we can agree that Wikipedia is immensely useful despite these
> issues. I would be pleased to see _this_ mailing list acting as a
> friendly and collegial forum where translations errors could be raised
> and advise could be given to translators. My experience of the past 4-5
> years is that it _does_ work that way although, I admit, more active
> cross-checking might be useful sometimes.
> Finally, another point. W3C knows that, _in some cases_, the quality of
> the translation does matter a lot. This is the example when, for
> example, a document is aimed at national legislation. For those purposes
> W3C does have a so called 'Authorized W3C Translation' process[1]. As
> you can see in [1], that policy tries to define a more formal process
> where linguistic checks, like the one you refer to, are done. The
> relative complexity of [1] shows that _it is not easy_ to define such a
> policy. And, although the policy has been around for quite some time
> now, the fact that only one translation falls under that category at the
> moment[2] shows that it is also not easy to do that in practice either.
> One more sign for my 'dramatic reduction' characterization...
> Sincerely
> Ivan Herman
> [1] http://www.w3.org/2005/02/TranslationPolicy.html
> [2] http://www.w3.org/2005/11/Translations/Lists/ListAuth.html
> Gareth Edison wrote:
>> Good evening everyone here at w3c translations,
>> As a long time supporter of the W3C project I would like to voice my
>> opinion regarding the quality of some of the translations being
>> prodiced here on the forum.
>> What was supposed to be a good idea ist turning into a fiasco
>> of link hungry webmasters posing as translators who are translating
>> documents no one really wants or needs. It is certainly helpfull
>> to be able to read these Documents in French, Dutch, German.
>> Greek, Russian, Cinese or Japanese but I fail to grasp the
>> importancy of translating documents into languages like Turmen,
>> Uzbek, Azerbajan, Kazakh, Belarussian, Ukrainian, Estonian,
>> Latvian, Tatar, Georgian or even Armenian. Imagine Indian
>> webmasters translating these documents into some of the 50
>> different dialects of Tamil or Sanskrit or how about our
>> fellow Chinese webmasters translation their chines documents
>> into Shangjainese or Taiwanese.
>> My question is, where will W3c draw the line?
>> The Turkish translation below is just one of the results of
>> people translating documents into languages they are not
>> familiar with. This document was clearly translated into
>> Turkish from a Russian translation which is spoiling the high
>> standard of work required by W3C in order to produce quality
>> translations.
>> Wouldnt it be much wiser to allow ONLY *native speakers* to
>> translate documents for W3C instead of people producing
>> translations which they cant read themselves? Maybe W3c
>> should start only allowing main languages instead of
>> sub-divisions of these languages like the many Russian
>> dialects as mentioned above.
>> Whatever the outcome I wish you all a happy new year
>> Gareth--
> Ivan Herman, W3C Semantic Web Activity Lead
> Home: http://www.w3.org/People/Ivan/
> PGP Key: http://www.ivan-herman.net/pgpkey.html
> FOAF: http://www.ivan-herman.net/foaf.rdf

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Received on Wednesday, 2 January 2008 07:13:14 UTC

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