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AlanF_US AlanF_US March 5, 2019 March 5, 2019 at 2:08:58 PM UTC link Permalink

I've done some more thinking about the thread about increasing the diversity of proper nouns in our sentences [1], and in particular @Impersonator's comment [2], in which he complained that speakers of minority languages are unable to influence content because their sentences don't get translated. It occurs to me that people who speak more than one language could make it a custom, when writing a sentence in their native language, to put a proposed translation into one of their non-native languages in the comments. Then a native user could add the sentence (after making any necessary changes). Naturally, this would help get sentences in minority languages (and/or sentences with less common names) translated into majority languages. However, it would also work in the reverse direction, and also between majority languages. Aside from increasing diversity, this would also allow people to exercise their skills in other languages without worrying about faulty sentences getting into the corpus. To increase the probability that someone would add the proposed sentences, a contributor could contact a speaker of the language (say, in a private message) with a request to add the proposed translations. To make the sentences easier to find, they could add the source sentences to a list. I'm not sure how this would work out in practice, with a large number of people making such requests, but it would be interesting to give it a try. As a courtesy, it would be nice if anyone doing this made an effort to avoid sentences that are near-duplicates of sentences that already exist in the target language.

I'll try doing this myself and see how it goes. I'll also make an effort to try to add sentences containing proper nouns appropriate to the target language.


[2] Impersonator's comment:

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Thanuir Thanuir March 5, 2019 March 5, 2019 at 2:20:37 PM UTC link Permalink

I'll add the following easy and less radical things to do:

1. Add sentences with varied names of people and places. The names need not be from your native language even when the sentence is.
2. Add other sentences characteristic of less present cultures - food, clothes, politics, idioms, nature, etc. The culture need not match the language.
3. When you see sentences that reflect less represented cultures in other languages, translate them.
4. When you see someone discouraging others from adding sentences with varied names, for example, reply with a list of reasons why adding varied names is good and desirable.

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Ricardo14 Ricardo14 March 5, 2019 March 5, 2019 at 7:02:08 PM UTC link Permalink

I really liked that idea but I wonder if that would work.

1st. The user who will translate the sentence would have two speak at least two languages (the native one and the one in "the list";)

2nd The same user would be have to willing - and have time - to translate such sentences

I don't even translations for sentences I added in a list I use to study languages - and most of these sentences is in English.

Who'd be willing to translate these sentences? Or sentences from a list of Portuguese sentence I'll create?

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AlanF_US AlanF_US March 9, 2019 March 9, 2019 at 4:41:45 PM UTC link Permalink

Yes, Ricardo, you're right: in order to write proposed translations as comments, a person needs to speak the second language and have the time to come up with the translations. This is not for everyone, or every situation, but it does address the frustration that @Impersonator expressed: he can speak a second language, but feels that he is being discouraged from contributing translations in that language. My point is that he can contribute these translations as comments, and a native speaker can come along and contribute them (or corrected versions of them) as sentences in their own right. The basic assumption is that between the two of them, they'll be able to contribute a good sentence that is also a good translation.

As for your second question, you mentioned a list of 280 sentences, many of which are already translated into various languages. I'm not sure I understand your request. Are you asking for volunteers to go through the entire list and fill in the gaps? In which languages? In my experience, such requests are more likely to be fulfilled if you can (a) explain what makes these sentences more worthy of being translated than others (for instance, "These sentences contain vocabulary that isn't translated in existing sentences" or "These sentences contain grammatical constructions that I want to learn"), (b) limit the length of the list (280 is very long), (c) choose a particular language that you want them translated into, and (d) make it easy for people to measure their progress by distinguishing between the sentences that have already been translated and the ones that haven't.

AlanF_US AlanF_US March 9, 2019 March 9, 2019 at 3:55:33 PM UTC link Permalink

I agree that Thanuir's four guidelines are worth following. I'm not sure that I'd characterize following them as necessarily easy, since they require more effort than writing about what is already familiar, but what I'm proposing would take effort, too.

alexmarcelo alexmarcelo March 5, 2019 March 5, 2019 at 9:00:41 PM UTC link Permalink

I've proposed something similar before, but instead of writing comments, members would write their translations in a different section. I still think this is better than leaving a comment. Or perhaps we could just create a prefix, like the current @ prefix, to specify that such a comment is a translation written by a non-native speaker.

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AlanF_US AlanF_US March 6, 2019 March 6, 2019 at 3:16:50 AM UTC link Permalink

Yes, having this infrastructure would certainly be a good thing. My suggestion was meant to be something that people could do right now, without any software changes. And just to be clear: I'm not saying that everyone should leave translations as comments, or that people who do it should always do it. I'm saying that those people who are currently willing and able to translate their sentences into their non-native languages, but don't do it because there's no precedent, should feel free to start a new convention.

Aiji Aiji March 9, 2019 March 9, 2019 at 1:41:44 PM UTC link Permalink

I've thought a similar way before, but I faced an issue: when checking a French sentence, I can correct its structure, grammar, etc. but I can never be sure that the translation is correct, and that makes me uncomfortable. What are your thoughts about this point?

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AlanF_US AlanF_US March 9, 2019 March 9, 2019 at 3:50:31 PM UTC link Permalink

I want to be sure that I understand your question correctly. You are a native speaker of French with a good command of English. You are talking about checking French sentences that are contributed as translations of English sentences. Are you talking about sentences contributed *as sentences*, or sentences contributed *as comments*, as I'm proposing? It seems to me that the same considerations apply. In both cases, we are relying on your superior knowledge of French to judge the sentence on its own merits, and we are hoping you know English well enough to judge it as a translation. If anything, I think that the case where the sentence is contributed as a comment should be easier for you to deal with because you're able to see immediately that it was contributed as a translation of the English, whereas you'd have to dig into the log to figure out which sentence a French sentence contributed as a sentence was intending to translate (if any). Also, there's less time pressure because as long as the sentence is only a comment, it's not in the corpus, where people might mistakenly treat it as a trustworthy sentence before any errors have been corrected.

As for feeling uncomfortable about not being sure that the translation is correct, that's where the community aspect of Tatoeba comes in. Maybe your strength is in recognizing and fixing awkwardly worded French, while someone else's is in judging the quality of the match between the French and the English. (Or maybe you're good at both and are just a harsh judge of your own abilities in English. :->) Then that second person can come along and say "This doesn't really match. I propose X instead." The basic assumption is that we are all imperfect, but as a collaborative community, our strengths are added together, while our weaknesses are cancelled out.

Did that address your question?