My first post on this list, and a long one :-)  The topic of better
supporting small language Wikipedias is one that is close to my heart.

The foundation doesn't have any particular policy on third-party
translations or article-writing projects.   As Achal says, every
community is welcome to use translation tools or not as they see fit;
and to work with outside translation groups or not as they see fit.

Ravi's concerns are valid -- people interested in translation as a
whole may want to discuss some of these issues on the foundation and
translation mailing lists -- you will find that there are many
multilingual editors who are interested in the good (and bad) uses of
GTT and other translation tools.

== on the use of automatic translations ==

Automatic translations can be useful as one arrow in the quiver of a
community of editors.  For instance, I find it helpful for translated
pages to have an automatic category, and a large cleanup template at
top, something like:
  "this page was automatically translated by [TOOL]
   from [permalink to revision of article in another language].
   It may need cleanup to meet [[STYLE GUIDE|community standards]]."

In the case of Google and their Translation Toolkit, I think it would
be good for Wikipedians to give them strong feedback about how they
need to improve the tool for it to be more useful to Wikipedians.
(and, if it is more of a nuisance than a help, the community should be
clear that it is not helping.)

== On Google's toolkit and translation work ==

Google has been fairly transparent about what they are doing, and has
been in touch with the Foundation on a few occasions to ask for advice
on how to make their tools more useful.   I encourage them to ask the
local communities directly for that advice... (however, they have had
few direct responses from those language-communities.  I observed this
directly on swahili wikipedia - there were a few general commnts about
the difficulties raised by GTT overwriting existing articles, but few
specific feature requests / recommendations / requirements from the
active swahili editors.)

You can start a page for feature requests (and feature requirements)
for this sort of translation -- and tell the Google translators (in
particular) that all translations /must/ adhere to a certain style or
format, or must be less invasive when an article already exists on the
topic.   (noone will continue a project if they know that its work is
going to be reverted or removed.)

> From: Srikanth Ramakrishnan <rsrikant...@gmail.com>
> I agree with Shiju and Ramesh. I tried it out for Hindi. And the phrase  'A
> fully charged battery' got translated to what would mean a battery that got
> charged [the court charged]. It isn't all that accurate right now, but it
> may improve. While to a certain extent, it may seem like Google is
> catalising Localised content, you can clearly see that Google might be
> trying to gain Monopoly over Wikipedia as well.

I don't think they have any interest in gaining monopoly over
Wikipedia.  They are not storing the translated articles, only
publishing them to Wikipedia.  While they are storing the "translation
memory" produced as a result, they make that available under a free
license, for other translators or tools to use.

Google has carried out similar projects in Arabic and Swahili among
other languges;  I helped with the recent Swahili Wikipedia Challenge,
which was supported by GTT (for participants who wanted to use the
toolkit to translate an article rather than writing one from scratch)
-- but the resulting articles were rated based on their usefulness, so
that poorly-translated articles did not rank highly.

That was a largely community-driven translation effort, with a contest
run and maintained by Swahili admins.

Samuel Klein      http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/user:sj

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