Monthly Archives: May 2009

When Herdict Sheep Speaks Chinese

Herdict is a project created by Berkman Center for Internet & Society, Harvard University. It collects people’s reports on website accessibility. Others in the same country can verify these reports by trying yourselves. With its efforts, we will have a better picture about the world filtering and censorship.

Yes, you are right. This project has the same origin as Global Voices. When Herdict team tries to make the site multilingual, Global Voices, unsurprisingly, is a good linguistic talent pool for them. Many GV people have been involved with the process in various ways. In their YouTube page, introductory videos have different language versions. The Chinese version, as follows, has the voiceover from me:

The website is also going multilingual. After the Arabic edition translated by fellow GV author Yazan Badran, Chinese version, translated by me, is launched yesterday. (Self disclosure: Unlike GV translation is volunteer works, this translation is a paid job)

Inaccessibility has lots of reasons behind. Sometimes geographical; others ideological. This is, of course, only the first step, I assume. But just like what Priti Patel from The Southern Africa Litigation Centre has said at the end of this GV interview:

[…] this first stage is very important because we need to have the knowledge of what is happening and a sense of what should not happen, then we will be able to act. […]


Confession: The Greedy Me

During Solana‘s visit in Taiwan, we arrange a meetup with local participants/translators in Global Voices. Besides having some fun with GV Quiz provided by Portnoy, everyone is free to question anything about GV. Solana gives thorough answers, of course. During which, one volunteer dreamf complains, half jokingly, that it’s difficult to translate for GV, as I have translated so many posts. It takes a long while, he says, to find something not translated by me yet. I laugh out loud, in response.

After Solana gives a talk in my graduate school of translation and interpretation, one student asks me in the Q&A section. He says he is now working very hard for his own living and does not take any financial support from parents. He is so busy that cannot be able to work in projects like GV, and wonders how I do it. Not sure if he implies that I am idle, I laugh out loud, in response. (And I explain, of course.)

Recently I was interviewed by a newspaper journalist.  She was interested in how I can keep translating for GV as a hobby for quite a period of time. “It’s a kind of enthusiasm,” I answers. “It’s just like how a journalist feels when he/she find a good story. He/She would want to tell the story to the audience as soon as possible. So would I, but in different languages.” I don’t know if it sounds good to her.

Since joining in GV, especially the translation project Lingua, I am asked over and over again, about why I want to do translation for it and why sometimes so many in a day. My answers range from enthusiasm, passion & interest.

They are all my true feelings, but here is another confession: I am impatient and greedy.

Solana suggests for the sustainable development, I should on purpose let others translate some posts. The truth is, I have tried, but I can’t. It’s killing when you read a good post from GV up for grab and not grab it yourself. The regret fills me when a post is taken by others, but the page stays blank for a week. “I should have waken up or turned on my laptop earlier,” I can’t help but thinking.

Sometimes I blame myself for not typing fast enough, either in English or in Chinese.

It’s greed that I want to translate in GV as many as possible. It’s greed that makes me anxious when seeing a translation work half done. It’s greed again, that I always want to keep myself busy.

For this, I am guilty. Please forgive me. If you don’t…. well, I am still that greedy no matter how you feel.

Now I see the job offer post by Ivan, GV Executive Director, my greed is working again.

GV is starting a new project for translation tools and exchange, so we need a new project manager. You can read all the job descriptions, information and contacts in the announcement, so I won’t duplicate the efforts.

For this, I have emailed a few people who I think may be interested. Please apply for it by sending your CV and Letter of Interest to editor AT globalvoicesonline DOT org. It’s a good job for many, and another dream job for me. As greedy as I am, if you don’t apply, I’ll do! 😛

Bilingual Tag Service, Anyone?

Since I start to read Global Voices everyday and to write for it very, very once in a while, good posts always impress me more when they have photos accompanied.  When I try to find a suitable photo to go with posts, however, I realize how difficult it is. Many photos on Flickr, for example, only have file names and/or numbers. No tags, no titles, no desciptions, nothing. I always admire people who take amazing photos, and now I also admire people can just “find” relevant photos for their posts online. They are either patient, or have special instincts with keywords.

With this searching experience, when I begin to take amateur photos and upload them to Flickr, I try to give as many suitable tags as possible. It’s not that my photos are good enough for others’ posts, but sometimes I may have something in photos that someone would need. Help others will help yourself.

Finding the right photo is difficult. Finding videos? Even more! GV video editor Juliana, in this regard, has done really well. Without her introductons, so many good videos are there that I will never have a chance to watch, let alone share with others.

Then one day I thought, since I have bilingual skills, why not put bilingual tags on my photos? After that, tags in English and/or Chinese appear with my newly uploaded pictures.

tagAnd now one step further. In Flickr, people can add tags on others’ photos, but I don’t want to be rude and add annoying tags on friends’ works if they don’t want. So here’s an offer. If any of my friends reading this post do not mind havin their photos with Chinese tags, tell me, and I am at your service .

I assume GV authors feel good when seeing their posts translated into other languages by Lingua translators. Seeing multilingual tags on photos may have similar effects.

I promise, I will not add strange or weird tags on them. 🙂