Posted by Nan on August 3, 2007, 11:46 am
I posted yesterday about what was lost in the translation. I can’t help wondering what could be gained in the translation - were you to have access to accurate translations on this board. |
You have a somewhat unique situation on this forum in that you have people who are only really proficient in English sharing this on-line community with people who are only really proficient in Spanish – just as you have in your real world community of La Manzanilla. This is not the case in any of the other Forums I read regularly.
In the real world when people meet face-to-face it is much easier to overcome language barriers than it is in the cyber world where one is dealing only with the written word. In the real world we know right away when communication has broken down and when the person we are trying to communicate with has no idea what we are talking about. When that happens we take another tack, try another word, draw diagrams, use gestures...there are other communication options. In the cyber world we don't know right away when a misunderstanding occurs and the written word is all we have to work with. If a reader due to their language skills does not understand something that is written, or writes something unintelligible in the language they are not proficient in, then misunderstandings will occur. When you have people who are only competent in one of English or Spanish communicating on the same board the only remedy to avoid communication breakdowns will be found in accurate translation.
Translation programs such as Altavista babelfish are NOT the answer. They work ONLY when the original text in the source language is WELL WRITTEN and idioms are not used. Even then the writer should have a solid enough grasp of the language being translated into to recognize where the translation requires editing or the translation may wind up sounding like it was written by someone wearing a tinfoil hat.
That leaves human translation done by people competent in English and Spanish. Since you have the Catalina Language School in La Manzanilla where they teach both English and Spanish perhaps you could make an arrangement with them for translations. It wouldn’t be necessary to have translations for all postings, only for those involving complicated or sensitive community issues. Perhaps it would be something that they work into their teaching or have their students do for homework. The students could work in pairs or groups to do the translations with the instructor checking the work for accuracy prior to posting. I've no idea if the Catalina School would be intertested in that. For all I know they may run screaming into the forest at the very thought...but in the interest of communication I should think it would be worth asking them.
Just a thought...
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