[governance] MSism and democracy (multilingualism)

Daniel Pimienta pimienta at funredes.org
Wed Jun 8 14:27:54 EDT 2011

>I strongly support Roxana's argument. I think 
>each person should have the right, recognised 
>and automatically accepted by others, to express 
>him or her self in the language in which he or she feels most comfortable.
I totally second Deirde's position, which has 
been used as a basic rule within our many virtual communities since 1988.

Is it true that one take a chance of too few 
people understand if, for instance, express in Haitian creole?
Yes indeed! But this a decision of that person to 
use it knowing that fact, or to prefer French or English, depending
on each specific situation. N'est-ce-pas?

By the way, Google Translate included now Hatian 
creole... but, unfortunately, Google decided it will close
its API in the coming months (see 
¬°Que malo!

As for Funredes's experiences with imbedding 
automatically program translation in mailing list, here is an update.
We have received some support from OIF 
(Francophonie) to try to create a professional open source software with
all the combinations of features we have been experimented in the past years;
unfortunalely we were not able to have the project reach the expected results.

We are investing now in a more appropriate 
version based on Moodle which is quite performing, and we are using
it in various contexts.

Why Moodle?
Because it got the best of two worlds : email and 
web (you read emails and you write in the web).
Because it cleans all the garbage threading which 
makes translation without moderation a mess - a mess because
netiquette has been lost even in highly digitaly 
educated communities and people just do reply without cleaning (see note 1).
Because it is well organized/designed (librarian style!).
We have added in Moodle our module of imbedding 
translation and moderation (moderation is quite
important, even if only technical, as it allows 
to correct the many typing mistakes, the lack of 
punctuation, and arrange long sentences
which all together makes automatic translation appears very poor.
The result is acceptable. Yet it has to be 
understood that this is NO TRANSLATION but only 
an aid for mutual inter-comprehension.
The experience shows anyway that to have a 
positive experience the community needs to be 
explained clearly the rule of the game.

We want to transform now the coward leave of 
Google Translate (after having enrich their 
translation data base with the help of millons
of users which gave them a unique strategic 
advantage, they just say good bye!) into a good news.
We always thought that the best solution would 
have been to have a good translation software under Linux
to interface, instead of BabelFish or Google 
Translate. But this dream has not yet come thru...

So we are going to check the possibility to 
interface a Windows based software from our Linux server and
make a real gap.

Hasta luego,

NOTE 1: I have a dream... Imaginate a virtual 
world where the default reply function of mailers give an empty message :-)...
This tiny change will have huge positive impact, 
in terms of time and money (and even some impact in global warming!).  

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