[ubuntu-art] Language barrier for Participation - was Re: Artwork Team Logo - Submissions due today!

Leandro Gómez leo.telsen at gmail.com
Tue Dec 7 18:54:49 GMT 2010

On Tue, Dec 7, 2010 at 12:25 PM, Rob Oakes <lyx-devel at oak-tree.us> wrote:

> Hi Leandro,
Hi Rob!

> Thanks for sharing some of your thoughts.  This has been a very interesting
> thread.
Yes, indeed. :)

> Yes, and some of us do. But the problem is when we want to 'push our work
> upstream' to the global community. All the process, teams and tools are
> English centric (maybe SU being one of the few exceptions).
> While I empathize with your concerns, I'm not sure that this a solvable
> problem.  Contributor materials and instructions can be translated, but for
> collaboration to happen, people have to share a common tongue.  For
> centuries, this was Latin.  Now, it happens to be English.
> It makes sense that Ubuntu (and other open source projects) would use the
> lingua franca of science, technology and business.  It prevents
> misunderstanding and disagreements.
Yes, agreed. But if someone wants to express him/herself clearly and fails
to do so in English, would you mind that he/she posted something in Spanish
(or German, Croatian, French...) to the mailing list?

> For the past year or so, I've led a project that creates a backup program.
>  I've received contributions from people in Italy, Russia, Poland, Sweden,
> the Netherlands, and Mexico.  That kind of international collaboration would
> be impossible if we didn't all speak English.  Google translate can only get
> you so far.
I'm admin of the ubuntu-l10n-es team and used to work as a translator and
interpreter for many years... and trust me; having no translation is better
that Google Translator. :)

> It's just not about translations. It's more about process and tools.
> Perhaps there might be ways to mitigate the difficulties for those without
> English speaking members?  Maybe the translation team could help LOCOs
> prepare their applications, for example.  But language barriers aren't going
> away.

Yes, I'm aware of that. I'm not sure if there's an easy way to solve this...
I'm just being part of the problem here:)

> There isn't any process or tool that can replace the need for people to
> communicate.  Nor is it realistic for upstream to master all of the
> languages of downstream.

Well... they could if upstream were more diverse.

A couple of months ago, someone posted to the Planet a list of all of the
members of the community governance bodies (i.e. all the Councils) and only
a few came from non-English speaking countries.

My question is: Why are there so few contributors/vocal leaders from outside
the US/UK/Australia? Is language a barrier for people to step up? Are we
missing valuable contributors because of this?

Edit: Found the post! :)

> Like most downstream projects, upstream tends to be idea heavy, and
> resource poor.
> I'd second Сергей's suggestion:
> Maybe we can make up lists of people who can be contacted in case Google
> Translate is not enough to understand a message, or if one wants to post
> something but doesn't know English. For example, I might be a contact for
> Russian language. While I don't contribute in a really meaningful way, at
> least I monitor all activity on this list, and [hopefully] know English
> enough to understand others and be understood.
> Having some sort of central resource would make the most sense.  Is there a
> way to contact the translation team leaders and inquire if they could
> provide aid for downstream teams trying to prepare applications, patches,
> artwork, and proposals for upstream?  Are there entities outside of Ubuntu
> who might be able to help with this challenge?
> Cheers,
> Rob Oakes
> --
> ubuntu-art mailing list
> ubuntu-art at lists.ubuntu.com
> https://lists.ubuntu.com/mailman/listinfo/ubuntu-art
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