In a world where anyone can write and publish original content in their native language will we need to cover more language pairs and if so how might Machine Translation technology help?
Please tell us what you think about that below.
The concept of a Master Language does not apply to a wiki-translation context. By Master Language, I mean a language in which all original content and original modifications are first made. For example, you write the original document in English, then translate it to all other languages. If any change needs to be made to the document afterwards, you need to do it in English first.
This model is not appropriate in a wiki world. We can't require that say, a Japanese contributor who sees a factual error in the Japanese version of a page, first go to the English version to correct the error, then translate the correction in Japenese.
Contributors should be allowed to create original content in the language of their choice, and to make modifications to content also in the language of their choice.
But... that might lead to complete chaos.
So maybe the idea of a Pivot Language is still relevant. This is not the same thing as a Master Language. With a Pivot Language, people can first write content and modifications in any language. But when the content or change is being translated, it must first be translated to the Pivot Language and then, from the Pivot Language to other languages.
An intriguing idea in a wiki context is that there could be more than one pivot language. For example, you could say that translation of content should first go to one of the following languages: English, Chinese, Spanish. This would mean that people could translate on the site even if they don't speak English, as long as they master one of the pivot languages.