BabelWiki08 Social dynamics of cross-lingual collaboration

Social dynamics of cross lingual collaboration

Notes of card storming meeting for "Social dynamics of cross lingual collaboration" in BabelWiki08 Workshop.

The three card on this cluster were:
  1. Economics of Wiki translation
  2. Social Engineering. How to encourage (& guide) volunteers
  3. How to get students to collaborate in Wiki creation & and move them from inaction

We started with the question about what are the main factors that motivate people to translate content.

Some ideas came into the discussion:

  • We have the sensation that 2% of users in Wikipedia, as a reference, do create content, and 98% of the users just read that content. What could we do to motivate another 2% of users to participate in translating current content?

  • In some educational scenarios (mainly university degrees related to translation) many students have fun translating content.

  • Some times we have the sensation that we created a solution which is looking for a problem to be solved, even if sometimes, we agree that the problem existed but it was not explicitly formulated.

  • In some cases, unique page names using the UTF-8 character set are desired and pursued, but issues are still present with some browser not supporting them (or not by default and users don't know how to set that browser to support UTF-8)

  • We need to edit web interfaces to allow users provide translation with the minimum number of clicks.

  • motivation factors for translators are similar to the ones which motivate wiki editors in general

  • some wiki translators do contribute because they have fun doing it. They like their job.

  • Translation Machines (TM) are being used nowadays more than before because TM nowadays do the job that they said they were going to do (i.e. the are increasing their efficiency).

  • Success use cases for usage of TM:
    • Software documentation, being translated to other languages
    • Agile software development, in special
    • Technical manuals
    • Burocratic documents ...

  • Wiki Translation is useful:
    • in cases where TM are not good enough
    • supporting minority communities which don't have even enough paper dictionaries.

A kind of summary of motivation factors for people to contribute with translations:
  1. economic
  2. leisure/fun
  3. social recognition
  4. moral

There was also some clarification about those concepts:
  • Translation Machine (TM): normally uses full sentences, but some people use expressions instead of full sentences in TM.
  • Dictionaries, Glossaries: uses single words
  • Parallel corpora: documents fully translated in both languages, which can be used to build translation memories.

Some more ideas showed up:

  • Motivation of translators is essential to get enough contributions

  • Are there any differences between occasional translators and full time translators?

  • There is a need to build softwares that support, allow and enhance contributions from translators.

  • The case of "Traducteurs sans Frontières" (

  • European Union seems to be encouraging people to get much more involved in adding content to the World Wide Web. In some educational scenarios, teachers even promote that students contribute content to web resources, and students get awarded in their grades.

  • Translation might be a good exercise in research in real life because researchers get into the troubles of ambiguities, and they usually walk the path of improving their writing skills.


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