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Session 4- The Future of the Global Conversation- Part 2 December 10, 2005

Posted by delal in GV05, Session 4.

Ethan Zuckerman – I’d love it if we could get Kevin Wen who does a huge amount of work in Chinese/English blogosphere; what are the sorts of tools that would make it possible for the Chinese and English blogospheres to interact better?

Kevin Wen – Finally I can talk about the chinese blogosphere again! From the numbers of bloggers, there are now ~10M blogs, not bloggers. One created every second. Back at UT Austin, we created the first web blog-hosting service in china; now I’m working on boke — form the Chinese blogosphere, a lot of guys get news from the newswire talking about Chinese bloggers; especially female Chinese bloggers. On the 24th there was an article in New York Times magazine, about a party? blogger, and back to 2003 there was a famous cemal blogger, mu zimei, sharing sexual experience on the blogs and becoming really popular. So the NYT was really enjoying talking about the female bloggers…But there were also some impact… all the things happening in the Chinese blogosphere right now aren’t really well-communicated because the language gao is pretty big over there. There’s also limited options for Chinese blog posts to communicate with outside blogosphere? On the English site, there are blog-[engines?] like technorati, but they don’t quite have that in china right now. Chinese blogs: very big impact on main stream media…very interesting: china has 3 very big parts : xinha? shouhu? web66? These 3 major players opened portals in china right now. They all were enabled to provide blog services this year, and tv services right now cover lots of stories and blog things… with the podcsters and one of the local tv stations in shanghai are using podcaster content to put in their programs…Also bloggers right now cover a lot of local events…[disaster events are being] covered by bloggers right now… with some guide to help people to rescued people from coal mines…

Ethan Zuckerman – I actually went and looked at some sites about the coal mine disasters, but I don’t read mandarin. What are the solutions? For people who don’t read mandarin… what would help for ‘are Chinese bloggers interested enough?

Kevin Wen – we were talking today about how to break the language scapes; English-speaking and mandarin-speaking [contributors] not a lot of people in china read English blogs. .though I was talking with isaac (mao) who joined the Global Voices meeting last time, and is one of the most active bloggers in china. one of the ways to figure out, ok, we just created a Chinese version of Global Voices, a local version; in which we have some volunteers cover… summarize the blog event and activities every day or week… then we could invite some people with translation ability to help with the local Chinese version. Having people blog directly into English might not work; people don’ t want to.. maybe (?) of typing in English, or about grammar.

Pat Hall – do you think if you had a project like that; where you tried to organize people to translate all of the roundups, that it would happen?

Kevin Wen – absolutely it would. Have you heard about endgadget.com ? They have a Chinese version…

Pat Hall – but they hired translators to do that?

Kevin Wen – actually for my source, Chinese bloggers; they sent email to Jason; saying can I do the job to have endgadget.com for a Chinese version? So he invited them to do that.

Ethan Zuckerman – there’s a really interesting idea that’s part of this – that a Chinese Global Voices might not just be translations of what’s on the English Global Voices, but also news and tools and discussions specific to the chinese blogosphere.

Nick Moraitis – Global Voices is not the first website to come upon this challenge; I’ve personally been involved with Taking ITglobal.org quite a mature website now. after 2 years, when it started getting the in of traffic Global Voices is getting now, we really started getting into translation; the group of people involved — now the success story is that it’s in 8 languages, the latest in Chinese, that’s built on the contributions of 300 or more volunteers who continually translate the site; and a sophisticated backend which helps them translate phrases and it’s very important to engage with young people who are university students who are studying translation; We did this in Chinese 10x as much as in French; we found this amazing person who mobilized his entire university in shanghai b/t august and September, and it all happened; translating 20k phrases. It is possible, an I think there should be hope.

Ethan Zuckerman – this is tremendously optimistic, to think there might be a lot of people who might want to do this.

Pat Hall – I want you to come back to what you were talking about. You showed us Global Voices as we know and love it. Allowing me to click on it and getting it translated into welsh. The heart of the application, will in beta, is :An infrastructure for doing the translation in the browser, easier than doing it without our software; we want to show it but it’s still young and full of features. (‘features’ and no bugs) the basic idea we have is that it’s impossible to force people to translate everything; what you do instead is you have a link that says “translate this” right under very post. And if you click that link, you’re in our software which helps you translate more efficiently not machine translation, but tools; vocabulary tools, etc. they’re still in development, but it’s the way professional translators work.

Ethan Zuckerman – as I start reading Global Voices, my Spanish is decent; I think gee, it would be great to have this in Spanish; I click it, I would have an online dictionary, thesaurus, various things I can use to translate this…

Pat Hall – this could change; if you’re not certain about a certain phrase you could mark that and have someone else come along and look at it later…So Beth could have come along an translated that post into khmar a year from now, when you’re fluent 🙂 it’s the same ethos as blogging — the same point o view [I mean If people want to do it, you enable them to. but you can’t force them to…in this situation the first stage would be having this stuff hosted on blogamundo. at a later date, with tech stuff worked out with Boris, we could have that hosted right there on the site; in the mean time that would be our… [process]

Rebecca MacKinnon – I want to distill out some of the approaches to this. In the future we can continue to discuss this…See where the community wants to go. one is that we have this distributed method where you have whatever posts, people can decide on a volunteer basis whether individual ones are getting translated into what language; hosted either on blogamundo or Global Voices, but no separate Chinese Global Voices, or Spanish Global Voices…just a site that links you through to translations of posts in particular languages. The other model is of different lang-versions of Global Voices, and the potential for a Chinese voices, or Spanish voices, or Arabic…or whatever it is… and whether there’s a demand for that, people would do it… who would be responsible for it. it seems it would make sense for a community to use the model and initiate it themselves and officiate it rather than being all under the Global Voices hosted site. It becomes probably the ecosystem… one thing to emphasize with what we’re doing – I’ not super familiar with takingitglobal – I take it the content’s all produced and hosted on your site…we don’t have that much content actually; it’s all linking out. The idea is not bringing everything onto our server and site; but having a cross-linkage, across languages, across communities & the web, of people who share our goal and are working with us… but there are different way to et at that; whether it’s this loosely distributed post-by-post method, or lang-by-lang and site-by-site…

Pat Hall – one quick thing, I think… was it David mentioning posts being translated form es to zh? That’s really awesome. If Global Voices can enable a situation where you have something… the other thing is: machine translation isn’t going to do that. Machine translation is a huge piece of software; es to zh? It’s not going to happen. If you’re waiting, you’ll be waiting for a long time.

Tagged: gv2005, globalvoices)



1. Discoking - March 6, 2010

Great Blog!……There’s always something here to make me laugh…Keep doing what ya do 🙂

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