The source article should meet certain standards, but do not fall in the
trap where the translated articles must themselves be better than some
imagined standard. That would lead to a defunc process.

On Sat, Feb 24, 2018 at 8:41 PM, Michael Snow <>

> I think the experience I've had with translating matches up well with the
> conclusions James has outlined. Even though I'm more likely to translate
> content into English rather than out of English, the principles still hold.
> Trying to produce a translation without quality content in the original
> article is a frustrating and pointless exercise for the translator. Unless
> the original meets certain standards, it would be better and easier to
> write the article from scratch in the "destination" language and translate
> it back to the "source" language.
> Assuming we have a good article in the original language, I definitely
> encourage translators to use editorial judgment in what they carry over.
> Focusing on the lead section is one possible approach. In general, because
> we are trying to translate information and not literature, we should have
> different priorities. It is more important that the translation maintain
> fidelity to the facts than to the language and structure of the article.
> Sometimes it makes sense to pass over certain details, even a
> beginning-to-end translation might come out a bit condensed. As one reason
> for this, making some details accessible to the cultural audience in the
> new language can at times require a fair amount of elaboration, more than
> may be ideal for the context under discussion. The best approach to use is
> one of adaptation as much as translation.
> I don't have strong feelings about whether a paid model will work, or work
> better than purely volunteer activity, but I would be open to seeing a
> trial. The essential thing is that we find translators who can understand
> and apply standards of quality in their work, much like we would expect if
> they were editors writing entirely new articles.
> --Michael Snow
> On 2/24/2018 5:26 AM, James Heilman wrote:
>> We learned a few things during the medical translation project which
>> started back in 2011:
>> 1) You must start with high quality content and thus all articles are
>> extensively improved before being proposed for translation.
>> 2) A lot of languages want "less" content than is present on EN WP. Thus
>> we
>> moved to just improving and suggesting for translation the leads of the
>> English articles.
>> 3) The "Content Translation" tool developed by the WMF made efforts more
>> efficient than handing around word documents. Would love to see that tool
>> improved further such as having it support specific lists of articles that
>> are deemed ready for translation by certain groups. Would also love the
>> tool to have tracking metrics for these types of projects.
>> 4) We used volunteer translators mostly associated with our partner
>> Translators Without Borders. One issue we found was that languages in
>> which
>> their are lots of translators such as French, Spanish, and Italian there
>> is
>> often already at least some content on many of the topics in question. The
>> issue than becomes integration which needs an expert Wikipedia. And for
>> languages in which we have little content there are often few avaliable
>> volunteers.
>> 5) With respect to "paying per word" the problem is this would require
>> significant checks and balances to make sure people are taking the work
>> seriously and not simple using Google translate for the 70 or so languages
>> in which it claims to work. We often had translations undergo a second
>> review and the volunteers at TWB have to pass certain tests to be
>> accepted.
>> 6) I hired a coordinator for the translation project for a couple of
>> years.
>> The translators at TWB did not want to become Wikipedians or learn how to
>> use our systems. The coordinator created account like TransSW001 (one for
>> each volunteer) and preloaded the article to be translated into Content
>> Translation. They than gave the volunteer translator the user name and
>> password to the account.
>> 7) Were are we at now? There are currently just over 1,000 leads of
>> articles that have been improved and are ready for translation. This
>> includes articles on the 440 medications that are on the WHO Essential
>> List. We have worked a bit in some 100 languages. The efforts have
>> resulted
>> in more than 5 million works translated and integrated into different
>> Wikipedias. The coordinator has unfortunately moved on to his real job of
>> teaching high school students.
>> 8) The project continues but at a slower pace than before. The Wikipedian
>> and retired orthopedic surgeon Subas Chandra Rout has basically single
>> handedly translated nearly all 1,000 leads into Odia a language spoken by
>> 40 million people in Eastern India. The amazing thing is that for many of
>> these topics this is the first and only information online about it.
>> Google
>> translate does not even claim to work in this language. Our partnerships
>> with WMTW and medical school in Taipai continue to translate into Chinese.
>> There the students translate and than their translations are reviewed by
>> their profs before being posted. They translate in groups using hackpad to
>> make it more social.
>> I am currently working to re invigorate the project :-)
>> James
>> On Sat, Feb 24, 2018 at 5:51 AM, John Erling Blad <>
>> wrote:
>> This discussion is going to be fun! =D
>>> A little more than seventy Wikipedia-projects has more than 65k articles,
>>> the remaining two hundred or so are pretty small.
>>> What if a base set of articles were opened for paid translators? There
>>> are
>>> several lists of such base sets. We have both the thousand articles from
>>> "List of articles every Wikipedia should have"[1] and and the ten
>>> thousand
>>> articles from the expanded list[2].
>>> Lets say verified good translators was paid about $0.01 per word (about
>>> $1
>>> for a 1k-article) for translating one of those articles into another
>>> language, with perhaps a higher pay for contributors in high-cost
>>> countries. The pay would also have to be higher for languages that lacks
>>> good translation tools.
>>> I believe this would be an _enabling_ activity for the communities, as
>>> without a base set of articles it won't be possible to build a community
>>> at
>>> all. By not paying for new articles, and only translating well-referenced
>>> articles, some of the disputes in the communities could be avoided.
>>> Perhaps
>>> we should also identify good source articles, that would be a help.
>>> Translated articles should be above some minimum size, but they does not
>>> have to be full translations of the source article.
>>> A real problem is that our existing lists of good articles other projects
>>> should have is pretty much biased towards Western World, so they need a
>>> lot
>>> of adjustments. Perhaps such a project would identify our inherit bias?
>>> [1]
>>> Wikipedia_should_have
>>> [2]
>>> Wikipedia_should_have/Expanded
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