Global Melt/Multilingualism

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Multi-lingual Communities

It's super complex problem. Technical tools don't solve everything, much has to do with attitude and what is chosen as priority for problem-solving. The dignity of participants or community members who don't speak Lingua France is crucial. There must be respect for other voices and assumption that they have something important to contribute to your movement.

Participants should be involved in the translation, and people should be made to feel their voice is important. Too often, the focus is on translating from most-used languages into smaller, rather than other way around.


1. Building international online or offline communities across multiple languages


- Choosing a Lingua Franca is what most organizations do. Many people drawn to global movements speak more than one language. - Reaching out in to communities where another languages is spoken, bringing people into a global community. Training of trainers program, they can translate, further the knowledge.

- Email group, forum, or chat translation


- While this is convenient, it can be very limiting for an organization with goals to reach into underrepresented regions or communities.


2. Facilitating the translation of software, website content, online communication


- Human networks and volunteers - Clear ongoing documentation of tool or text changes - Facilitating nuanced translation for local context - Develop clear workflow for translation - Translation of meta-data - Translations of multimedia - Translation memory, automated translation option (where it works)


3. Facilitating multi-lingual participation during real life events


-Really important to do have excellent documentation before, during, and after for people to review along the way. Use of graphics is great. - Agree on Lingua Franca (one or more) - Real time translation by professionals or volunteers - Different tracks in different languages - wrap ups for the different tracks - Identify multiple crossover language speakers - Real time, text based translations (IRC, social media, email, chat, machine translation - maybe real time video closed caption?) - In the offline context, need to document (CD, book) for all participants, which can be translated. Boxes of materials to be taken other places.


- Professional or volunteer translation, different benefits and constraints - Difficulty of Creative Commons license when it comes to translation (derivative works). - Even in wiki-culture people sometimes demand formal review cycles for translation, different from original authorship. - People are hesitant to ask for translation - even in our own session no one asked to know what was said in different language.


- Could there be a template for excellent and simple event documentation that was easy to translate?