julia_beck: Rectangular cake with white frosting and yellow inscription "AO3= <3" (Default)
If you're interested in language, please take a minute to read the Spotlight on Translators that we (=Translation committee) just put out.

Me and my committee would appreciate it immensely if you helped spread the word by signalboosting the spotlight. Firstly, we would love for our translators to get some appreciation, and secondly, we are looking to recruit more people for the teams:

Translators (or wanna be translators!), we want you!

Excerpt:

Even for established fannish concepts, there's frequently no existing translation While German and Spanish often solve this by borrowing English terms like “vidding” wholesale, Finnish grammar does not allow for this degree of integration. Because of the way Finnish words are inflected, our translators created the fresh composite “fanivideo” for “vidding”. (Here's an example: Fanivideoprojektit [Finnish].)


Come joiiin usss~ :D


ETA: Just saw that AO3 coder [personal profile] rebecca2525, who is building the Archive translation interface for us, has posted a bit about her work.. This is one of the softwares that we'll be working with, and it's interesting to see rebecca build it bit for bit (to our specifications! ♥) One of these days I'll have to tell you about our design meeting back then with Eylul and rebecca, because it was *delightful* and complex and funny.

daughter of ETA: oh! haha. Hey. I never thanked you (to whom it applies) for voting me on the 2012 Board of the OTW, did I? Well.

THANK YOU. Thank you for this mandate -- I'll do my best to live up to it.

I totally neglected to post about it after elections results were published because I segued right into "alright, now get ALL the work done!" mode. One thing I did today: recruit my successor for the Translation committee so I can devote myself seriously to my Board duties. It was a good day!
julia_beck: GIF with Sackboy and captions "cute. capable. determined!" + "OTW translationmasters!!" + "now with added jetpacks" (translation_masters)
Following recent examples by [personal profile] via_ostiense and [personal profile] jennyst, here's what I'm doing right now as part of my OTW work, in broad strokes.

Translation: I think I finally mastered context rules. GO ME. What's context rules? Simply put, they're an integral part of the translation interface for the Archive of our Own that the inimitable rebecca is building for us. (It's beautiful. It's for translating the interface only, though, not for stories.)

In more detail, it's grammar nerdery*: How many potential versions of a phrase/word are there in language_x, depending on context? We have to determine that to teach it to the archive so that it produces as many versions as we need.
(*Actually, it's information science slash grammar which makes for a slightly brain-breaking combination -- hence the taking a bit to wrap my mind around it...)

An example: in Polish, the possessive form varies depending on whether the subject is male of female. Now...this means we need a way to tell the gender of a name. Now imagine pseudonyms in their infinite variety. It's not possible. So what do we do? Add a "gender" setting? Uuuh...You see this is getting into volatile territory. There are a couple of other possibilities, thankfully, but this is the kind of eventuality we have to consider.

So we've been gauging the limitations of the system for a while by testing for as many languages as we could get our hands on. If we don't make context rules flexible enough for just about *any* language and script system, we'll get into real trouble once it's implemented on the live site and it turns out that, say, new language_x makes a distinction between animate/inanimate objects that we hadn't considered.

We've already tested to varying degrees for Finnish, Italian, German, Korean, Spanish, Dutch, Norwegian, Romanian, and Polish; we're hoping to test Chinese and Hindi soon, because as you can see, we have tons of Indoeuropean languages that are relatively similar, and desperately need other script systems and language families. And yes, we totally want you for this! We'll make an open call for testers soon, I'll signal-boost once it's up.

Other than that, I signed up two Italian translators last night, one an old friend. I always enjoy these introductory chats because of the high energy and (often) wacky cheer that inevitably develops! :> So now I'm dropping website texts for translation into Gdocs and assigning them via GQueues (our new to-do-list tool). Go go Italian team! *\o/*

For Internationalization & Outreach (eh, I&O), meeting up with Claudia from my committee later to work on Internal Survey. Lots of food for thought from the recent discussions, thinking about how to integrate that meaningfully into the survey. Later this week, I need to work on our term evaluation (what have we done, what are the loose ends in need of following up?) and a collaboration with the Archive peeps. Oh, and do some wiki gardening because of the rename. >_>;
julia_beck: GIF with Sackboy and captions "cute. capable. determined!" + "OTW translationmasters!!" + "now with added jetpacks" (translation_masters)
Happy Ada Lovelace day!

Your task for today: highlight one excellent woman in tech. You have 20 minutes!

Truth to be told, if it weren't for the OTW, I'd spend these 20 minutes frantically trying to remember female game designers/writers (uuhmmm... Jennifer Hepler? *blank* ... ... oh brain, why so scatter?)

But since I am a happy little cog* in that glorious open culture contraption, I'm faced with an embarrassement of riches -- only one woman? /o\

My first inclination was to write about Kristen Murphy, our Webmasters chair. But that would mean ignoring allison morris, who has been coaxing Drupal into cooperation before her; and then I thought about how inspiring Elz has been to me; and of Rebecca, who has my undying gratitude because she rose up to become the "someone" in "someone should build that Archive translation interface..."

...cue INDECISION 2011...

Faced with so many choices I... decided to return to my initial inspiration, the one I'm acquainted with most closely.

Why am I choosing Kristen as my tech heroine?

Together with the webmasters team, she administers the various OTW websites, from our mains site transformativeworks.org to the Transformative Works and Cultures platform, all based on existing OSS like OJS or Drupal.

...that doesn't sound very creative on the face of it, does it?

But it means adapting and maintaining sometimes extremely recalcitrant content management systems and modules. That is, constant problem-solving and bug-sleuthing and hand-wringing (okay, the hand-wringing is usually my part, Kristen herself always exhibits extreme serenity under pressure.) I wasn't joking when I wrote about "coaxing Drupal into cooperation" above -- and Kristen, who took over liaising with the Translation committee from allison, has always been very diligent in trying to accommodate our translatorly needs, keeping us up to date, and in explaining problems and hiccups in a way that we can understand.

It's not that she can bend Drupal to do everything we want it to, sadly, hah. But her friendly, respectful and transparent communication inspires confidence that we'll get there, eventually, together. That is worth so much to me as someone who is very curious, but has all too often experienced equivalents of "just sit back and wait, you won't understand this anyway."

In fact, that "oh! I get this!" impulse has made me confident enough to lurk the Drupal forums and wanting to get more involved (*knocks on wood*), to the degree that I've now decided to learn PHP. (/o\ YES I am actually kind of terrified? Look I can't even play Metal Gear Solid without tears of frustration. Sad truth.)

I'm pretty sure I will be mediocre at best, and, knowing myself, I won't get very far before ultimately throwing my hands up in frustration. But what I've finally grokked is that it's perfectly okay to try scary technical things out ...and fail at them abyssmally.

I just shouldn't let my preconceptions keep me from trying. That's all.


(and imagine, it only took three years in the OTW for this to seep in! Hah. Those were some persistent internalized attitudes.)


Let's celebrate those preconception-busting heroines today :D Do tell/link me yours?



Related links:

- [personal profile] lucyp (herself an inspiration): portrait of [personal profile] lim

- the AO3 team's celebration of [personal profile] sidra

- plus, of course, the general OTW post on the subject

- [personal profile] via_ostiense's three heroines: undersigned.



ETA:
* oh, right, happy little cog? )

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Julia Beck

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