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Session 4- The Future of the Global Conversation- Part 1 December 10, 2005

Posted by delal in GV05, Session 4.

How can Global Voices and potential partners in professional and citizens’ media work to build a more democratic, equitable Global Conversation – a conversation in which all people who want to speak not only have a safe and accessible way to do so, but also a chance of being heard? To what extent are the solutions technical (software, etc.) and to what extent is it a question of human efforts, methods and organization? By popular demand, the second half of this session will focus heavily on translation issues.Led by Ethan Zuckerman and Rebecca MacKinnon, with input from Ahmed (Saudi Arabia), Haitham Sabbah (Middle East/North Africa Editor), Farid Pouya (Iran), Kevin Wen (China), Jordan Seidel (Polblog), Pat Hall (Blogamundo), and Chris Ahearn (Reuters)

Introduction to Chris Ahearn from Reuters.. Unfortuately during the beginning of his speech the sound went out as well as the transcription…

… on the one hand, the people in this room can give talkback about what’s going on in the most important news; or that these people might become virtual stringers [for Reuters, etc] these are some of the possible interesting things that we might do in the future.

Rebecca MacKinnon – one of the reasons we were quite excited when Reuters started talking to us; a lot of our friends don’t understand the extent to which other organizations couldn’t function without Reuters; cnn couldn’t function with out it. some for every paper on earth, practically. If Reuters has its finger on the pulse of the blogosphere; that is a tremendous opportunity for all of you … and for citizen media to be heard in a new way.

Ethan Zuckerman – the goal of this session is to talk about where we could go in the future. Part of our afternoon of getting down to brass tacks. In the last session we talked about evangelism; how we might learn from each other. Now we want to talk about what is in some ways the hardest problem for us –the tower of babel. Ultimately, there’s a lot of languages around the world. At the moment, we’re an English-language service. Right now we have a lot of people going out and finding content an bringing it into English for our readers. But not a lot of content going in the other direction. What would it mean if there were a global voices in Spanish, or in Arabic? what would it mean if that were the case? And while we have a lot of bi/trilingual polytglot people around the room; everyone knows that it takes a long time to translate; it’s hard to do. You can sometimes get friends to /write/ stories for you, but it’s hard to get them to translate for you. How could we make this more multilingual; and strategies to get going with this. I’m going to ask pat, first to talk about this; b/c he’s been thinking about a lot of ideas; and he’s even starting to put some to code. So if he would come up a bit…

Pat Hall – Hi, ok. so… the first amazing piece of news is that the third third of blogamundo just arrived from sao Paulo. Thanks to a phone call with Rebecca… what I want to talk about today is what blogamundo can do for Global Voices. I have a simple…ideally, as Ethan mentioned, some day we’d have a dropdown menu in the upper-right Global Voices, and you could pick your language. That’s the dream. [a dream] well, it’s not going to happen…

Ethan Zuckerman – it’s a dream you’re working on.

Pat Hall – well, sort of. The question is, is that the goal, to have that sort of content? This is our development log…This is the first time we’ve met in person. we’ve… there’s jonas? you can wave… behind it. he’s the plumber as he likes to call himself. we’ve been working on this for several months now (brothers?) the problem is as we’ve seen very concretely that distance becomes a non-issue; political boundaries disappear, but languages become more of a boundary. In ways they are /the main/ boundary. You come to Global Voices and read a great roundup (happened to me the other day in turkish), there as an interesting post in English; I followed the post, read the post, at the bottom there was a comment with photographs that were clearly related to that post, with more information; and it was in Turkish. At that point, what I wanted was some way to say there has got to be someone out there who is bilingual and Turkish who’d be willing to translate that. Maybe if they knew the demand was there, they might do it. We want to be there in that situation. We want people to know we’re a place where they can go and have them done; or just do them myself. Ok, here’s my basic idea. Here’s a simple post I’ve spidered off of the site; a typical Global Voices post. It’s in English, links to some posts in Chinese, some in English. My suggestion, and this is what we’ve been working on building is for a post like this, someone comes and reads this and translates it into Arabic or Chinese; what we’re building is a system – the formatting is up to Boris — to get the idea across, we think we can build something like this. You can see what this is? There are language tags (at the bottom) and there would be a page on blogamundo with links to translations in whatever people happen to be us[ing] [trying to reload… some tech trouble] [murphy is blamed.. and directory-moving] What I’d like to hear from you guys is, when you’ve had similar experiences hitting that language barrier. Most of all, what you guys want from translation, for Global Voices. There’s something about the words “globalvoices” and “blogamundo” that have certain dna…?

(Someone else is speaking but I don’t know who)- as a language teacher – teaching Persian at u.manchester — not until doing this did I realize the cultural gaps in translation. What I wanted to say is : I don’t think that e.g., translating from en to that language is so difficult, you often have trouble with synonyms that are appropriate; this experience, with hrw and af ew other … the committee for the protection of bloggers have been experiencing this. The challenge is the other way around; e.g. there’s this concept that radical Islamist webloggers use that they are immersed in the personality of the supreme leader. Tt sounds ridiculous perhaps for someone who speaks English; it sounds like they have been melted in his body if you want to translated. The challenge comes when you want to translate complicated concepts; there you get into problems of lost in translation, perhaps; or you might get lost yourself. Either way – I wanted to suggest (if it could be developed) a module; with 3-4 people who could back each other up; if you could diversify the number of translation experts depending on the type of text you’re dealing with… political, diplomatic, domestic, environmental… literature.

Pat Hall – we have some plans for collaboration and suggestions for terminology where people will be able to collaborate on particular terminology that’s difficult…

Tagged: gv2005, globalvoices)



1. cluelessincali - May 11, 2006

I ‘m thinking that this technology was somehow unsupectedly tried on some one me for the number fool who would even ask you this when if its you i could not say a work and you will be remotely doing some voices in my mind which are people really and we laugh even myself because I am pleading someewhat but will not ask allison cause she wont see me face to face in public instead of hiding out pretending she is all of everything when she took some things that belonged to me -you know what and ill look crazy saying it-i will and dont play your game and pretend that you come see mepublically and poof that shit.leave the mi9nd machine zapper -inside joke and lets publicly verify creative testing and if you dare a polygraph .dont change your names and send someone else to talk foryou/ you will probably not respond but I ask you to answer at least ,

2. sdfdf - January 9, 2007

Good enough for me

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