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SP EAK IN GI N TO NGU ES
September 29, 2011 11:44 PM   Subscribe

Languages! We speak 'em! How can we help each other?

So, as I travel around the world recording music, I find that I am more and more frequently in need of things to be translated. Usually just short phrases, some vague idea of lyrics or titles, not much heavy lifting. I've used up a fair number of AskMes in the process - which is great, that's their purpose! - but I also wonder if:

a) there's enough of a critical mass of translation-related questions; and

b) there's a subset of community members who would make themselves available (at their own discretion) to answer said questions.

I'm imagining, at its simplest, a page on the Wiki for folks who need things translated.

The main structure would be broken out alphabetically by language, with bullets providing links to users' profiles therein, each of which is denoted by one of three letters: (A)mateur, (C)asual, or (F)luent. (Something like that.) That way people can scale their response from "Um, my grandmother speaks Polish, let me ask her" to "Yes, I can translate that whole article for you, let's discuss a price." Because obviously this whole thing also raises the "line between volunteer and exploited labor" question, so I would think it should be made clear that any task above a certain level may incur a discussion.

There may be internal site privacy issues that come up around creating a wiki page that's almost entirely links to profiles, and each case will probably have its own built-in "am I the right translator for the job?" dance. A wiki entry is also reasonably harmless in the way of effort, but we would have to figure out page maintenance issues, and there would have to be much polite reinforcing of the Wiki link in actual AskMe questions.

A penny for your thoughts?
posted by mykescipark to Feature Requests at 11:44 PM (39 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

私はこのポニーに無関心だ
posted by babbyʼ); Drop table users; -- at 11:58 PM on September 29, 2011 [5 favorites]


[I also wonder if] there's a subset of community members who would make themselves available (at their own discretion) to answer said questions.

Isn't this already how AskMe works? If you tag your question correctly, interested users can see it under "My Ask".
posted by vidur at 12:10 AM on September 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


Regarding the wiki:

There may be internal site privacy issues that come up around creating a wiki page that's almost entirely links to profiles

There are a few pages on the wiki that contain links to people's profiles already, including Famous, Published Authors and Hey, That's Me!.

...but we would have to figure out page maintenance issues

If this idea comes to fruition and you would like, I would be happy to keep an eye on it, make sure it stays organized or make changes/additions for folks who are unfamiliar working with wiki markup. I have been very slowly updating certain pages on the wiki for the last year now, and don't mind adding another one to my "in progress" list.
posted by zarq at 12:10 AM on September 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


I am a professional translator. I don't really understand why the people who speak other languages would be motivated to do this. I can already help people out at my own discretion just by looking in AskMe whenever I feel like it. Also I'm not sure if I really understand your idea -- would our email addresses be in the Wiki? So basically, if I signed up for this, a bunch of people I don't know would be sending me emails all the time asking me to translate shit? Because there is no level at all at which I would do that for free. Understand, I can gladly help people occasionally if I happen to know them or if I just happen to have time at the moment when I'm perusing AskMe, and I have translated shit for free in AskMe before, but I have no idea why I would actively seek out more people I could help for free. I would only do this if I could charge for everything or get a salary for being on-call, and at that point you're just running a translation agency.

Not trying to be a dick and I don't mean to shit on your idea too much, but I'm just not seeing what the upside of this is for people who actually speak languages other than English.
posted by creasy boy at 12:16 AM on September 30, 2011 [12 favorites]


What creasy boy says. If a translation question pops up on Ask and I see it during my free internet time (and I can solve it quickly), I'll do it if nobody else was quicker. If, conversely, people want me to translate texts, that costs money. Best system in the world.
posted by Namlit at 12:50 AM on September 30, 2011


What they all said.
posted by Wolof at 12:55 AM on September 30, 2011


I know some Persian (I am a translation student) and, like others have said, I have 'Persian' and 'Farsi' as tags in My Ask so I try and help out when I can. I am willing to translate short, simple texts for Mefites who might need it, and have done so in the past, with the stipulation that I'm not a native speaker and may not get everything 100% correct.
posted by Gordafarin at 3:28 AM on September 30, 2011


I'm willing to pay you translator guys, but your contracts are all written in Swahili, and my lawyer is tearing his hair out. I could get a bald lawyer, I guess ... or hold him down and wax him ... basically my problem here is mainly with the hair-removal concerns. I hope that helps.
posted by the quidnunc kid at 4:03 AM on September 30, 2011 [4 favorites]


I'd be quite happy to do the odd translation. If it is something that I find interesting, I'd gladly do slightly longer texts for free (let's say, a couple of pages). But anything which I would have to work hard on (looking up terminology etc) and/or which bores me in terms of its subject matter (engineering, for instance, is a prime candidate here), I'd hesitate before I would do more than a few lines on a non-payment basis. And I'd have no problem signing up for this, as long as I am aware of it.
posted by miorita at 4:49 AM on September 30, 2011


I'd just be curious how many languages we have represented here by community members on MetaFilter. Anybody speak !Xhosa? Sora? Indian Sign Language? Cornish?
posted by iamkimiam at 4:57 AM on September 30, 2011


I bet there are at least a few Klingon speakers in our ranks.
posted by desjardins at 5:24 AM on September 30, 2011 [4 favorites]


A̞̜͆̾l̨̯̙̰̖̗̘̰͐́ͮͧͩ̚l̛̗̙̘̬̖̥͉ͫ ̰̃ͪ̇lͯ͑a̜̰̪̜̥̬̳ͮn̝̦͡g̷̈̇̒ͣͧͧͯü̞̦̱̲̝̺̋̍̏a͇̹͍͎͍͂ͦ̓̈́͠ͅg̩̼͔̲̼̦̋ͯ̓ę͍̳̓ͬͣͨs̗͚̯̟̎ͭͦͮ̄ͯ̄ ̗͉̘̣̅͑ͬͨͪ͛ͅa̺̬̫͚̓̃͂̍͒͒r̷͎͌̂̃e̯͉̰̝͚̽̐̇̆̒ͭ́ ͨͥ̊̎̚iͣ̊͐̄̏n͔͙͖͕̖̾̌f̸̐͗́ͮͫͧẽ̡̫͈̪̜͕͚̼ͦͬͦ̓̚r̰͓͕̲͓̱̾ͩͨ̅i̡͋ͣo̪̳̤̝̿͛ͭ̄ͪr͖͎̘̪̤͕ͪ̿͗͛͘ ̫ͯt͚̊͡ǫ͕̥͇̫̭̙̮ͦ̋ ̱̹̬̙́͡Ż̢̙̼̒ͦa̗̪̘̞͂̃͑̚l̤͙̦̻̮̰̇ͅg̰͓ͤ͐o̪̓ͣ͂,̴̦͔̖̟̬̫̜̈ͥͭ̇ͣ͊̊ p̂̌͛̀͂͛r̨͇̳͓͈̠̭͌̾ͪͬ̌a̍̉͗͊͝iͨ͗̚҉̻̜̯̣̳̭ͅs̛͚͆͑́̐̄e̻̖̪̼̯̒̆d̉ ͖̝̤̘͖̼͉̌ͮ͛͗̍̽́b̼͇̠̲̰̲e̩̞͍̕ ̵̹̭͙̰͙̏t̨̅h̭̼̥̼̄̂ͧ͑ͪ͜e̤̗͎̞̦̳̭͒̋̈́͑̐̌́ ̙̼͓̟͓͈ͪeṉ̣̺̥͈͢d̨ͣ́̋ͭ ̘ͥ̔̿o̼̮̫͕͇͑ͣ͐̇͢f̭̖͚̮̮̖̀͞ ̣͍͍̣̾̀t̺͈̜̖͖̲͎ͯ͠h̺͙̒͗̂͛͆ͫ̿ǐ̖̳͎̤̅ͬ̊͊͟ͅn͓͖̅ͧͧͬ͐̚ĝ̴̱͈̳̲̠͕̝s̞̾͗͋.̤
posted by Plutor at 6:23 AM on September 30, 2011 [3 favorites]


I've used up a fair number of AskMes in the process

I'm imagining, at its simplest, a page on the Wiki for folks who need things translated.


Sooo, you want people to work for free to help out your projects?

What's next, a Wiki page for people who needs ads or websites built?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:54 AM on September 30, 2011


I am also a professional translator. I agree with the other translators in the thread. (Let's form a union!). Kind of nice to help with the odd few words here and there. Anything more and I want paying.

Plus, I do exactly that on Proz.com too (not for teh moneyz).
posted by idiomatika at 7:21 AM on September 30, 2011


ZALGO JOKE
posted by shakespeherian at 7:24 AM on September 30, 2011


I speak fluent sarcasm.
posted by TooFewShoes at 8:01 AM on September 30, 2011 [3 favorites]


I can also interpret Toddler, but I'm no good at making someone who speaks Toddler understand English.
posted by TooFewShoes at 8:02 AM on September 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


I speak Siamese cat. And while this may sound cool, once you learn it, it really reveals how petty and mundane most cat conversations are. They usually come down to just a couple of phrases:

"Feed me."

"I want food now."

"Scratch me."

"I hate that fucking dog."

"Let me under the covers."

"Let me out of the room."

"I'd like some more food right now."

"By utilizing centripetal acceleration it is possible to achieve a sufficient velocity to reach and access the restricted areas of the top-shelf, and with a minimum of manipulation, dislodge the containment vessel colloquially known by the hairless primate as "treats", which, through impact with the floor, will become susceptible to feline liberation."

"I need more love."

"Stop messing with me, I'm sleeping."


If anyone needs help translating, I'm generally pretty available.
posted by quin at 8:05 AM on September 30, 2011 [9 favorites]


Oh stewardess, I speak jive.
posted by mkultra at 8:28 AM on September 30, 2011 [9 favorites]


I will not buy this tobacconist. It is scratched.
posted by Devils Rancher at 8:31 AM on September 30, 2011 [3 favorites]


I came in here to make a "jive ass dude ain't got no brains anyhow" remark but it seems I'm a bit late.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 8:32 AM on September 30, 2011


I'd be quite happy to do the odd translation.

I can also provide odd translations, in that all of my translations will be odd, and the odds are, total gibberish.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 8:46 AM on September 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


Sooo, you want people to work for free to help out your projects?

I'm not getting that vibe from the question. I saw this as more of a resource for "I have this song that has some lyrics in Scottish Gaelic but I can't for the life of me find a translation and I've always wondered; anyone out there speak Scottish Gaelic?" Or -- there was an AskMe recently where someone had taken ill while traveling and wanted to be able to tell the doctors what symptoms they had. That's not the same scale as "I've got a paper I need translated for research purposes for my Master's."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:56 AM on September 30, 2011 [3 favorites]


If you do need something translated for your Masters, and that something is a stolen Egyptian scroll or a Roumanian codex bound in human skin, and you're Masters have threatened you with punishments too terrifying to speak of should you fail, you really should get it done professionally. AskMe has some wonderful and knowledgeable contributors but if your immortal soul is at risk you should really just suck it up and pay the fee. (IANYNecromancer).
posted by villanelles at dawn at 9:52 AM on September 30, 2011 [6 favorites]


I think a more useful thing would be a list of metafilter and reddit-like sites which are primarily in other languages. I'm always looking for them, but it seems that there really aren't very many.
posted by empath at 10:15 AM on September 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


Someone needs to tell this to the guys pushing freemium and user generated content and collective wisdom of crowds and all the other 'big ideas' - fair trade still rules online
posted by infini at 10:35 AM on September 30, 2011


I understand why this question could be taken as an affront by working translators.

But I am not a working translator, although I wouldn't be opposed to making translation into a hobby and potentially a source of income in the future. I think doing small-scale translation is a wonderful way to generate goodwill and get my name out there.

I am not opposed to this kind of thing at all. There are probably plenty of MeFites who are comfortable with foreign languages who might get a kick of answering a question about them occasionally.
posted by Nomyte at 10:38 AM on September 30, 2011


You might make this a tiny bit easier by capturing the audio in an app like Dragon Dictation, and then either getting a person to translate or using Google Translation. I've used Dragon for this in documentaries, and it usually does pretty well.

Languages

Languages: English, Chinese, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swedish
posted by Ideefixe at 10:48 AM on September 30, 2011


I'm pretty sure I addressed the idea that translators would be paid when they themselves believed that the effort required it. From my original proposal:

"Yes, I can translate that whole article for you, let's discuss a price." Because obviously this whole thing also raises the "line between volunteer and exploited labor" question, so I would think it should be made clear that any task above a certain level may incur a discussion.

That point aside, it appears that the common feeling here is that folks would prefer to just monitor the Asks. Fair game. Thanks for weighing in, everyone.
posted by mykescipark at 11:35 AM on September 30, 2011


Pubben nubbi fubbor mubbeye thubbots? Mubbake ubbit twubben tubby dubboll lubbers, subbame ubbaz ubbin tubbown.
posted by not_on_display at 12:34 PM on September 30, 2011 [4 favorites]


You speak Zoom?
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 12:35 PM on September 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


That was Zune, silly.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 12:53 PM on September 30, 2011


Mon crayon est large.
posted by deborah at 1:50 PM on September 30, 2011


Le singe est sur la branche
posted by idiomatika at 2:44 PM on September 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


quin: "Let me out of the room."

quin, this may be the literal translation, but I find that in colloquial usage the meow in question more often means,

"I am offended when you close the door when I am anywhere in the immediate vicinity, as it forces me to get up from my comfy spot and mew and scratch at the closed door until you open it.

I will therefore stand in the doorway, blocking the opening, for an indeterminate time, just to get my point across. When I feel that you have been properly chastised, I may show mercy on you and deign to exit the room. Or, possibly, I will turn around and go back to my comfy spot.

Should you dare to close the door again, I will immediately start to scratch and mew piteously again, no matter what side of it I'm on.

DO NOT FUCKING CLOSE THE DOOR ON ME EVER AGAIN OR I WILL PEE IN YOUR SHOES."

posted by misha at 5:28 PM on September 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


I would build doors to nowhere just so I could close them.*

*Why does that sound like a crappy song lyric?
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 6:35 PM on September 30, 2011


Thank goodness some of you do help out or I would never have known about the story of the lovestruck toilet paper roll.
posted by unliteral at 9:26 PM on September 30, 2011


Damn, now I see the link in that ask is broken. C'est la vie.
posted by unliteral at 9:30 PM on September 30, 2011


Well there went this joke
posted by stormpooper at 8:38 AM on October 3, 2011


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