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2014 translation report

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WS Member WS Member's picture
2014 translation report

The following paragraphs cover translation work done in 2014 and milestones set for the next year.

Firstly, Warmshowers is now available in 15 languages. This involves huge efforts for every translator and is in my opinion a great achievement, enabling new people to join Warmshowers and facilitating the usage of it to members who aren't very fluent in English, or lazy to read, for it is not their mother tongue. In order to keep better track of translation issues, several measures have been introduced this year: firstly, there are now Google spreadsheets shared with all translators that allow them to keep track of the little bits of content that have to be translated on the website, and the (still rather theoretical) function, i.e. "position" of the "language verifier" has been thought of more accurately and its task have been written out on the Translation Wiki page.

The main challenge in the next year will be to assure the quality of the translations, rather than focussing on adding new languages. This will entail the following tasks:

  • Assuring translator availability; keeping track of their "motivation" and "responsiveness".

  • Related to the first point, I'd like to introduce "language verifiers" or "second translators". This would also help avoid die-off of translations in case a translator suddenly quits. However, one has to avoid misunderstandings by assigning clear tasks to them (such as not to cause redundancy of work or so). There are several working methods proposed on the new Wiki Page section on translation verifiers, a definitive method should in my opinion be opted for. I reckon that a "translation verifier" would be better to a "second translator", for he would not need any special user rights to provide corrections and could, in case of need, be asked to translate a particular piece of content.

  • The Google spreadsheet mentioned before (containing bits of translations scattered over the website) has perhaps to be elaborated more rigorously by adding pieces of content which are currently not listed. Thorough check-ups of the translations are to be performed.

  • Translators should undergo a registration process more regularly in order to see whether all emails are sent correctly, and report their findings.

  • For my part, I'll simply try to increase the monitoring intervals of each translation and keep track of changes on a regular, e.g. on a weekly, basis (without stressing or urging translators unnecessarily, for I think they have to receive a fair amount of time to accomplish larger tasks).

There are certainly further good ideas of which I haven't thought and I'd be glad receive propositions in the comments below.

WS Member @wsadmin@'s picture
More training, perhaps work sessions/sprints?

I was talking with our new volunteer coordinator, Peter van Glabbeek, about the many, many challenges translators face and we brainstormed just a couple of things as we were thinking about it.

* The translation process is really hard. Not the translation part - our translators have that nailed. But there are so many techniques for translation, and so many bits that need to be translated in so many places. It's hard to find them all.
* More training: I think live training sessions focused on particular things might be welcome.
* "Sprints": Getting everybody to work on a particular topic and focus on it for a week or so might be both fun and effective. In the software world we call that kind of focused effort by the team a "sprint".
* Translation verification: You've already started this process, and it's great. Probably the verifiers need more training about how to check everything out. We actually might be able to enlist the entire community of a particular language. Some websites have "how can this page be improved" at the bottom of every page. Also, we could give some "scripts" to verifiers (and translators) I guess: Here's how you do a registration, here's what to look for, check the email carefully, etc.

Then we should also be aware of ways to make things a little easier. For example, you and I have chatted about using markdown instead of full html, but that would require translators to understand markdown (which is easy, but yet another thing).

WS Member WS Member's picture
I fully agree with your

I fully agree with your remarks and am grateful for your useful tips! I shall try to use Skype more often, and offer trainings more explicitly. I'll also endeavour to pursue the other proposals, which all appeal to me, within the limits of my time availability.

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