Foreign Languages

Everything except LibriVox (yes, this is where knitting gets discussed. Now includes non-LV Volunteers Wanted projects)
kri
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Post by kri » April 5th, 2006, 10:53 am

Hugh, that's a great idea!!

hongawa
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Post by hongawa » April 10th, 2006, 2:23 am

Hi Guys,

most of the feedback to this idea has been in English, so I'll keep that idea going (apologies to other language speakers).

Most people baulk at the huge amount of ongoing web maintenance and translation required to make Librivox multi-lingual.

What struck me from the first however, is how LITTLE work there would be involved in translation, because there would be no 'duplication' of content in each language. Maybe only 10 pages at most.

Why?

Because, due to the nature of podcasting, each user would only be looking for content in their desired language. Say we had a version of the main 'welcome to librivox' page in each language, then instantly streamed users off into pages ONLY containing content in their language. If they're looking for any podcast in French, they'd have to be in the "French" Librivox catalogue page, etc.

Similarly, if they're looking for a podcast in any other language, then of course they'd have enough fluency in the target language to navigate their way around that target language's catalogue page.

When it comes to other content, I suggest we keep things in the original, purely seperate, and non-linked between site versions.

Reviews:
Say a review's written in a German mag, well, it would only appear on the German news site. There'd be no need to cross link and synchronise each language's version of the pages, and no need to translate that information into various languages. If you don't speak German, well you miss out, but... currently that's the situation of all non-English speakers visiting our site anyway.

Forums:
These will evolve spontaneously, into French threads, Finnish threads, etc.

Catalogues, Reviews, Forums... hasn't that covered everything on the Librivox pages anyway??

The golden rule would be "If it's in X-ish originally, only X-ians need to see it on their site."

So, what I reckon we need: set up 5 (10, whatever) standard Librivox layouts, one for each desired language. Assign a native speaker to oversee each version, and to loosely confer with the other site managers. And run each site version 100 percent independently, except that when people return to the welcome page in their own language, there are HTML tabs linking across to the welcome pages of the other language sites.

I feel that you will be forced to move towards separate language content in the longterm anyway, to aid listeners find a version of "Les Miserables" in French (and not in English, etc).

I'm excited by all the enthusiasm, but as I see it, the greatest impediment is slightly modifying the way Librivox structures its site, and _not_ the headache of syncronising multiple language versions of the same site. K.I.S.S!

Anyone see big problems with this???

James.

hongawa
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Post by hongawa » April 10th, 2006, 2:42 am

A follow up to my last message:

I actually rocked over and checked out the wiki page, and I was amazed at how much stuff is over there.

People write all sorts of stuff, and that adds a lot to the sense of 'online community'.

Certainly, now you look at it, it would be difficult to duplicate ALL of that information into each language, but then you'd have to ask yourself what was Librivox for - a huge online community, or a basic interface to coordinate readers and share audio content for the benefit of all?

Some things are useful, like the 'readers list', but I've been keen on librivox for 4 months now, and I never even new the 'wiki' site existed! I'm sure most users don't.

Anyway, to return to my previous email, if people consider Librivox to consist essentially of the 'dark green pages' (the welcome page, the catalogue pages, etc) then multilingual versions would be quite easy to do I feel.

Again, I'd need more feedback from someone who was actually involved in running the site as a global thing.

Anyway, let me know what people think.

James.

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Post by ChipDoc » April 10th, 2006, 5:21 am

hongawa wrote:The golden rule would be "If it's in X-ish originally, only X-ians need to see it on their site."
I'll be honest with you James - I couldn't possibly disagree with you more on this. If I am never exposed to a language other than my native tongue, how will I ever learn about folks who speak something else.

We have quite a few threads in here conducted in languages other than English. I speak very little beside English. Yet I read those threads just to see what's there. Oddly, I can often (sort of) figure out what the conversation's about - at least generally. It's benefitted ME to be able to see these things often enough to at least pick up a little awareness.

If folks want to read only one language, it's pretty easy to to since all of the threads are clearly labled. If they want to see it all, that's pretty easy too. No change at all needs to happen to the forums to make this happen.

Something tells me that sooner or later, the Wiki will also be multi-lingual just by virtue of the way we embrace polyphonia. It'll take a while though.
-Chip
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[i]The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who cannot read them.[/i]
~Mark Twain

hugh
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Post by hugh » April 10th, 2006, 5:42 am

the beauty of the wiki is ... well, it means that if someone wants a certain page in german, he/she is welcome to make it in german on the wiki... as with everything here, we try to give a basic framework (policies & procedures for recording books; a web platform to let the interaction happen) but just about EVERYTHING else is open to anyone who wants to take it on. (bit torrents, tshirts are 2 examples).

so, the question is, are there LV volunteers willing to make some translations? maybe the first thing would be a simple LV intro page in various languages, and then how-to-volunteer (i think you call them the green pages?)... those would be most important. and then things would build from there.

but it's got to be organic - growing out of someone's interestin doing the work...

h.

hugh
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Post by hugh » April 10th, 2006, 5:49 am

oh & i agree with chip - i think all this should be linked together ... i think the benefit of our global community is very important - there may be more or less interaction between different languages on LV, but i wouldn't like to see that gone.

this may change if we go to next order of magnitude (managing 10k volunteers v 1k; managing 1000 books vs 100 books), which will likely mean we need to break the forum down into subsections, but that's a happy nightmare we should consider, but thankfully don;t have to deal with yet.

kri
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Post by kri » April 10th, 2006, 7:30 am

I agree with Hugh and Chip. If someone wants translations, they should make them. I certainly don't want to take on that project however. James, I think that if that's a project that you're really interested in, you should initiate it. I know you don't have the access to start adding content to LibriVox's main pages, but you can create the content and it's pretty easy to add the translated pages as links. You wouldn't even necessarily need to know HTML, because most of LibriVox's main pages are posts and pages in Wordpress.

Here's what I propose to you James. Start a small project and make a post in Volunteers wanted. State your purpose, and make your request to foreign language speakers on LibriVox. Decide first what content that you think should be translated (or others could make suggestions here). We can work out putting up the content later.

This is one of the coolest things about LibriVox, we don't do things top down. Volunteers do what they think is best for LibriVox, and we have a few people to keep an eye on things and make sure the direction is best for LibriVox and fits our purpose.

metal.lunchbox
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Post by metal.lunchbox » April 10th, 2006, 7:50 am

I'm a native English speaker but I live in Normandy. I am fluent in French and seldom remember whether something I heard was in English or in French. People often compliment me on how good my english is, instead of the other way around. People say I'm bilingual, but i consider that a confusing misuse of the term. Hugh, I'd love to hear some Quebecois. Les invasions Barbares was pretty big over here but that's the only time I ever heard any. I'm working on a project right now with the students occupying the university science building. I'll keep you posted on that. I'm also fluent in Dutch but I wouldn't feel comfortable reading for librivox without a month back in Holland. two more things:
1. I believe that early childhood education in a foreign language probably makes a big difference
2. Learning a foreign language after the age of 10 is not impossible. I didn't start learning French until 2 and a half years ago. It's not easy but, then what is

James

lonelynocturnal
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Post by lonelynocturnal » April 10th, 2006, 8:46 am

English as my first language...I lived in China briefly when I was eight and spoke Mandarin somewhat comfortably. Do not read that as 'fluently'! I lost it since and am taking a year of Chinese (offered in my school) as a refresher, but on the whole I can use only a few scattered words. 'zhe shi ni de xiao gou ma?' 'wo de jia you san ge ren' etc.

My German, however, is substantially more flexible. I've taken four years of German in school and am currently in a pre-AP class, visited Germany and Austria several times, and have a few close relatives who speak it fluently. I don't speak fluent German myself, but again, I'm comfortable with it.

As for other languages, I can only piece together small bits: "Bonjour" and "Gracias" and such. I'm going to take Russian next year and probably for two years after that, which should be very interesting. If I ever get a handle on it, maybe I'll read some of Gogol's short stories in Russian, but I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.

marlodianne
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Post by marlodianne » April 10th, 2006, 8:53 pm

hugh wrote:note too, other than quebec, where many are at least bilingual (french english), the rest of canada is pretty unilingual english.
Wow, Hugh, it really is like you live in a different country. :P

In Atlantic Canada, most people can speak French. Acadians had a good grip here before the Expulsion, and they didn't manage to get rid of them all :) As I understand it, most of Canada now has French in early school, at minimum. Some areas having other languages. (Quebec being an exception, because of the laws there that force French unilingualism).

In New Brunswick, especially, you'd have to make some real effort to avoid hearing at least English and French every day. In many communities there, it's common to have conversations where one side is speaking French and the other English. People like to stay speaking in their comfort zone, even when they understand the second language. I still have this myself, any time I'm shopping in Moncton.

However, French is very far from the only other language in Canada. I've always seen and heard other languages. Although I didn't, until I was older, realise I was hearing other languages. The first word I remember writing in my own hand was of Algonquin origin, and I didn't know French was a separate language either until they told us so in school. :P

I would never have imagined anyone could call Canada unilinugal. I suppose it's not common for each of us to fluently know four or five core languages like in Europe, but I love the diversity. I've watched the evening news in Italian, Mandarin, Inuit, Ukrainian. I think there are other languages broadcast as well; those are just a few I've stumbled across when clicking around at suppertime. :)

My experience has been that most people kept the language they brought over with them, not just in names and places, but in their lives. Maybe not as well as they liked, when it went over generations, but they tried.

And it's still happening. Even on this little tiny isolated island, I know people just over from Cuba, Hungary, Mexico, Korea, Ireland, Pakistan, Slovakia, Russia, Japan, to name a few. They all brought the language and culture they grew up in, and they share it. I was always taught that was what Canada was: differences and unity. And hey, there are clearly fringe benefits. Such as, in an emergency, I can swear passing well in Spanish ;)
Marlo Dianne
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heatherausten
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Post by heatherausten » April 11th, 2006, 8:09 pm

What an intriguing thread! Language is so interesting. I speak English only (living in the USA), but have taken Spanish and Russian in school-- not early enough to speak well, though, I'm afraid. This thread has inspired me to brush up on my Russian. Like Lonelynocturnal, I'd like to try my hand on some Russian readings for Librivox, but not any time soon. I tried to read through a couple of poems the other day and failed miserably!


P.S. Any French speakers in this thread (or anyone else), please feel free to sign up for a chapter of Villette. I could use more readers! Here's a link:

http://librivox.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1696
~Heather~

kri
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Post by kri » April 11th, 2006, 8:11 pm

heatherausten wrote:What an intriguing thread! Language is so interesting. I speak English only (living in the USA), but have taken Spanish and Russian in school-- not early enough to speak well, though, I'm afraid. This thread has inspired me to brush up on my Russian. Like Lonelynocturnal, I'd like to try my hand on some Russian readings for Librivox, but not any time soon. I tried to read through a couple of poems the other day and failed miserably!


P.S. Any French speakers in this thread (or anyone else), please feel free to sign up for a chapter of Villette. I could use more readers! Here's a link:

http://librivox.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1696
Heather, if I can get some of my backed-up recordings done before the wedding, I'll definitely sign up for a Villette chapter :) However...what with the wedding so soon...and my ambitious list of chapters...we'll see :)

heatherausten
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Post by heatherausten » April 12th, 2006, 3:02 pm

kri wrote: Heather, if I can get some of my backed-up recordings done before the wedding, I'll definitely sign up for a Villette chapter :) However...what with the wedding so soon...and my ambitious list of chapters...we'll see :)
I completely understand. :D

Get to it if you can!
~Heather~

purplecow
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Post by purplecow » April 18th, 2006, 11:46 pm

kri wrote: I was just curious to know who is multi-lingual here on Librivox, and what we all speak. So, what is your native tongue, and what other languages do know? Do you know only a few words of one language; are you fluent in another?
I'm bilingual in Russian and English, and also speak a little bit of French and Italian (no, I will not inflict my horrid pronunciation in those languages on LibriVox). I'm currently studying Japanese, which is quite an interesting mental exercise. That's still at a very basic beginner level, though.

Larisa

kri
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Post by kri » April 19th, 2006, 6:42 am

purplecow wrote: I'm bilingual in Russian and English, and also speak a little bit of French and Italian (no, I will not inflict my horrid pronunciation in those languages on LibriVox). I'm currently studying Japanese, which is quite an interesting mental exercise. That's still at a very basic beginner level, though.

Larisa
That's excellent :) Have you found that after learning one second language, it's fairly easy to learn others?

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