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I am proposing that the site and all the diaries exist in all languages, with some (most) of them machine translated.

This isn't going to be practical. It took two to four weeks to get translations of a single petition. The amount of effort required to translate every diary and every comment into every language would be enough to keep a translation agency working full time. It might be possible with a Euro-wide readership which was a thousand times bigger, but given where we are we don't have the people hours to cover more than the occasional translation effort.

It might be more realistic to have:

Separate language communities
Auto-translation options for all content (in fact we this have already)
One or more (themed?) multilingual front pages which cherry pick the best of the separate communities, with hand translations of just those selections

And I think it would be more realistic still to start out with just one or two languages for proof of concept before trying to go further.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu May 15th, 2008 at 01:25:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Um, most of the machine translated?
I don't think we'll be translating every bit of text that comes down the tubes by hand! The shift is just to have the auto-translated version already up there. Included as part of the site. Labelled as auto-translated, but already there in place. No extra click to translate. But a possibility to click to improve. People should be encouraged to improve translations of texts they think are important. Not perfect them, but put them into a bit better language. 10 minutes spent changing some of the most obvious stuff on an autotranslated diary can make quite a bit of improvement. Yes, one or two languages are clearly the place to start.
by someone (s0me1smail(a)gmail(d)com) on Thu May 15th, 2008 at 01:37:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In that case maybe lose the ratings - at this point it's going to be more useful to take whatever effort we can get.

If people don't like a translation they can always change it. There probably isn't any need to keep track of versions or translation ratings - keeping things simple will be more likely to get them started.

One problem - doesn't this mean that edit privileges will have to be shared somehow for translated content?

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu May 15th, 2008 at 05:07:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, edit privileges would have to be shared. I don't see this as much of a problem. Though it does mean we have to track changes so that they can be rolled back in case of accidental deletion etc. The ratings are to give people who only read the content in one language an idea of how accurate the translation might be. Translated content should for this reason be clearly marked as such. I included the 'self-rate' possibility to allow a score to be assigned initially by people who edit translations, to indicate to readers that the content has been looked over. The system should be most useful for those pieces that do get a bit of rewrite work done on them.
by someone (s0me1smail(a)gmail(d)com) on Fri May 16th, 2008 at 02:14:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
someone:
Yes, edit privileges would have to be shared. I don't see this as much of a problem. Though it does mean we have to track changes so that they can be rolled back in case of accidental deletion etc.

Wouldn't it be easier to Wiki-fy it and let translators sort it out for themselves?

someone:

The ratings are to give people who only read the content in one language an idea of how accurate the translation might be.

Still not convinced this is essential. If someone only has a few minutes to tidy up some basic errors, I don't think they should be de-rated if they've still managed to improve the original. That's likely to demotivate them from attempting more corrections, which would not be a good thing.

If you pseudo-Wikify translations, multiple edits can converge on something better. You wouldn't need the extra complexity of rollbacks then.

You'll have to hope there won't be too much obsessive anal re-editing, but I think at the initial stage the aim is basic readability, not fluent perfection, and if you make that clear it will minimise unnecessary tweaking.

Basic quality will be obvious to everyone who reads a language, so I'm not sure it needs to be tagged explicitly.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri May 16th, 2008 at 03:19:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
ThatBritGuy:
If someone only has a few minutes to tidy up some basic errors, I don't think they should be de-rated if they've still managed to improve the original.

Yes, this is crucial. That's why even a 'low' score, if higher than the previous one should count as a positive rating. I don't see these ratings as the same as 'normal' ratings. I think there will be fewer of them, for example. I imagine there will form a kind of 'sub-community' of translators to/from various languages. And that pieces that have been improved will be separately listed somehow. This would allow those who consider themselves as part of 'translation staff' to review changes, and up-rate the work of others. In particular new translators who would in this way get established as progressively more trusted. The more trusted a translator is, the higher self-rated score they would be able to assign a piece, for example. And, yes, a wiki type system is what I was thinking. One should be able to view all previous translated versions in case a rollback is necessary.
by someone (s0me1smail(a)gmail(d)com) on Fri May 16th, 2008 at 03:55:10 AM EST
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