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2019-06-03 07:18 - 2019-06-03 07:21

A problem with placeholder names is that people start treating them as placeholders:

#7947998 Tom becomes Loša
#7860419 Tom/Mary becomes Mikita/Tania

The tag localized:Belarus has been invented for such 'placeholder replacement', but the problem is, the tag belongs to sentences, not to translations. If a sentence has many links, it won't be clear which one was un-localised.

As seveleu_dubrovnik puts it in his profile:

> I translate neutral names, social structures,
> grade names etc as neutral ones in the destination
> language's socio-linguistic landscape.
> E.g. "Police" → «міліцыя» [militsiya — this and further
> comments in square brackets are by Impersonator],
> "Tom / Mary" → «Юрась [Juraś], Лёха [Locha],
> Анатоль [Anatol] / Настасся [Nastaśsia], Света [Śvieta],
> Паліна [Palina] »,
> "Tom got an A" → be «Васіль атрымаў дзясятку» [Vasil got 10] /
> ru «Вася получил пятёрку» [Vasia got 5].
> I see such a localization as the only viable long-term way
> to enforce language equilibrium in a systematically polyglossic
> environment and as the only way to produce *natural* single
> language corpus.


This approach is not new. People have been turning Tom into Foma and Mary into Masha for quite some time.

They are etymologically related, but in practice Tom and Foma are a pair like Yury and George — no one would replace one with another in real texts (except perhaps when discussing mideaeval or earlier history: Foma Akvinskiy = Thomas Aquinas; but then, most sentences about Tom are not about Thomas Aquinas and would sound quite strange if you try to imagine them in such a context).

The examples of Tom becoming Foma, and Mary becoming Masha, are too numerous, just type Фома or Маша in the search:
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2019-06-03 07:39
Are you suggesting a particular best practice, or avoiding a certain behaviour?
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2019-06-03 08:01
I don't have a solution for it, sorry

Maybe we should acknowledge that different translation types exist, and find some way to mark them in Tatoeba? Maybe we need different link types ('direct translation', 'adapted') or link tags?
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2019-06-03 09:17
We had a discussion about that with @seveleu_dubrovnik here:


And he came up with an idea to tag translations where he substitutes "placeholder names" with localized Belorussian names with "localized:Belarus", which seems like a sound idea to me.

An example:


In general, I'm pretty uncomfortable with translating Tom as Лёша or any other random but local name.

However, I do understand that in certain context this can be a valid or even desirable translation.
2019-06-05 19:58
> Maybe we should acknowledge that different translation types exist, and find some way to mark them in Tatoeba? Maybe we need different link types

I agree with this. Some users are in favor of using links for translations only, but in a linguistic sense, the definition of link is not restricted to translations. Synonymous sentences are semantically linked, too. Sentences with similar patterns are also logically linked. What could be linked and what couldn't is a bit relative and vague.

I think it would be more comfortable having different types of links: one for translations, one for synonymous or closely-related sentences in the same language, and one for sentences with similar patterns (or localized sentences like #7947998 ) in the same language. I'm not sure how all these categories could be shown at the same time without creating a visual chaos though. Maybe some filtering/hiding options or a tree view with collapsing/expanding feature might be necessary.

Here is a rough image of the idea.