Local Unit Document Translation

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Kent Larsen-p40
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Local Unit Document Translation

Postby Kent Larsen-p40 » Tue Jun 24, 2008 8:56 am

One of the difficulties we face here in New York, like in many other places in the US (news reports claim there are 639 LDS Spanish-speaking units in the US as of 2006), is in translating local communications for the non-English-speaking units in our stake. So I propose the development of a document translation website -- something that local units could use to translate documents (programs, letters, flyers, etc.)

[We also have interpreting issues, so, to be clear, translating is rendering a previously prepared text in another language, while interpreting is rendering a text "on-the-fly" into the second language. Interpreting is much more difficult, and beyond the scope of this proposal.]

Any Stake that includes a unit that speaks another language could use this help. And many local wards with significant non-English-speaking minorities have similar problems. I'd guess, given the 639 units mentioned above, that this issue probably affects hundreds of stakes in the US, and probably many more wards and branches with minority populations (which wouldn't be included in the 639 units).

I don't know howw it works in other stakes, but here in New York we call members to a translation committees, and assign out documents to members of those committees to get translated. It takes a long time, translations vary in quality, and a relatively small portion of documents actually get translated. And those on the committees feel burdened by many documents because of the huge amount of time that translating can take. [Professionals tell me that a hour a page is a good estimate for an experienced professional. Our stake has never had a professional-level translator, so I'm sure the amount of time needed for these translations is double or more!!]

I think this is different from what TomW was talking about in the "Calling Spanish Speakers" thread. That idea is about making information for the whole Church available - documentation and official Church-wide communication.

What I'm talking about is a site that a Bishop or Stake President, their respective clerks and others assigned to providing translations could use to get translations done on a collaborative basis, among those assigned to help.

As I envision it, this service would simply be a collaborative translation website. Documents could be submitted for translation by approved members in the unit. The documents would appear on a web page on the site side-by-side with a page where the translation could be entered. Any approved member then could enter the page and translate or edit the translation. Like a wiki, the system would keep track of who made what edit, and the history of all edits would be available.

What would make this system more than a wiki, is the tools available to help translate. At a minimum, the site would need good glossaries of Church terms and their equivalent in various languages. Pop-up alternative translations or definitions might also be very useful.

* * *

I don't know if others will think this is useful. The Mormon Translation wiki does some of this already, and I've already had a request from the person responsible for translation in our stake to look into setting up a version for our stake.

What do the rest of you think? Is this a worthy project?
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The_Earl
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Postby The_Earl » Tue Jun 24, 2008 9:48 am

Kent Larsen wrote:...

I don't know if others will think this is useful. The Mormon Translation wiki does some of this already, and I've already had a request from the person responsible for translation in our stake to look into setting up a version for our stake.

What do the rest of you think? Is this a worthy project?


If your ward is anything like my old upstate ward, your problems only begin with the spanish ward. We had a number of people whose primary language was not english, and they all went to our ward. We had 5 languages once for General conference :).

I think using Mormon Translation would be a great idea. I think both projects would benefit from having a large community.

The Earl

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Postby russellhltn » Tue Jun 24, 2008 11:10 am

Kent Larsen wrote:(news reports claim there are 639 LDS Spanish-speaking units in the US as of 2006)


Sounds about right. I count around 633 in LUWS.

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Postby Kent Larsen-p40 » Tue Jun 24, 2008 12:00 pm

The Earl wrote:If your ward is anything like my old upstate ward, your problems only begin with the spanish ward. We had a number of people whose primary language was not english, and they all went to our ward. We had 5 languages once for General conference :).


You're right. Our stake covers just Manhattan at the moment. We currently have two Spanish-speaking units, a Chinese branch and a deaf branch (which doesn't need translation, since they generally read in English. They do need interpreting, however). In past years we've also had a Korean branch and a fledgling Russian program in one ward that never really took off.

But most immigrants don't end up on Manhattan. They go to Brooklyn and Queens, where there is even greater variety.

And then there's the district I heard about in inner city Philadelphia which included eight different languages, if my memory is correct.

But any stake or ward that operates in more than one language could use what I'm proposing here.

The Earl wrote: I think using Mormon Translation would be a great idea. I think both projects would benefit from having a large community.

The Earl


Well, just to be clear. I wasn't proposing that the Church adopt Mormon Translation. I'm not sure it is quite the right tool for this (you're welcome to check it out and see if it works), especially because it doesn't have integrated tools for translation or any glossary of LDS terms.

I suspect that if the Church's software people here on LDS Tech put their minds to it, they'd have a pretty good tool specific to the needs of wards and stakes.

Kent
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Postby WelchTC » Wed Jun 25, 2008 6:34 am

This is a good idea and also is one in which we have been talking about internally at the Church. We feel that this may be a great project for the community to help us build. However there are a few things we are working through.

1. Much of the correspondence that is sent from Church headquaters is copyrighted and therefore may special treatment.

2. Policies and procedures need to be developed to ensure that confidential OR mis-information is not posted.

3. Policies and procedures also need to be developed to ensure that people don't intentionally mis-translation some document in an effort to thwart our efforts.

Item #1 is the trickiest right now. The other two items are fairly easy to protect through developing software that has double or triple verification. I've built a system like this. Basically every translation has to be done by at least 2 different individuals. Documents are passed "up" from translators to translate moderators who have a higher language confidence level in the system to work through conflicts, etc.

Tom

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Postby Kent Larsen-p40 » Wed Jun 25, 2008 8:18 am

tomw wrote:This is a good idea and also is one in which we have been talking about internally at the Church. We feel that this may be a great project for the community to help us build. However there are a few things we are working through.

1. Much of the correspondence that is sent from Church headquaters is copyrighted and therefore may special treatment.


I'm not sure I understand. Are you suggesting that local leaders would try to have their locally-designated translators try to translate correspondence from Church headquarters? Why?

Is official communications availability that big a problem?

My suggestion is meant to facilitate LOCAL documents, NOT official communications -- I think you were already working on that when you posted your call for Spanish speakers, right?

Perhaps these two things can't really be separated (i.e., any system for local use will eventually get used to translate official materials, regardless of the intent and the warnings in the system)?


tomw wrote: 2. Policies and procedures need to be developed to ensure that confidential OR mis-information is not posted.

3. Policies and procedures also need to be developed to ensure that people don't intentionally mis-translation some document in an effort to thwart our efforts.

Item #1 is the trickiest right now. The other two items are fairly easy to protect through developing software that has double or triple verification. I've built a system like this. Basically every translation has to be done by at least 2 different individuals. Documents are passed "up" from translators to translate moderators who have a higher language confidence level in the system to work through conflicts, etc.

Tom


Again I'm a little confused. It sounds like your idea is that anyone can translate, while I'm suggesting that the system be limited to those the Stake President or Bishop approve. The idea is to get programs, announcements and other local documents translated. I assumed that a different access system would be used for official Church-wide or regional materials.

Of course, I guess the underlying software is likely to be the same.

Could you clarify?

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Postby The_Earl » Wed Jun 25, 2008 9:18 am

Kent Larsen wrote:Again I'm a little confused. It sounds like your idea is that anyone can translate, while I'm suggesting that the system be limited to those the Stake President or Bishop approve. The idea is to get programs, announcements and other local documents translated. I assumed that a different access system would be used for official Church-wide or regional materials.

Of course, I guess the underlying software is likely to be the same.

Could you clarify?

Kent


I had misunderstood.

Tom is talking about an open community translation project, specifically to help with disseminating community information (like this forum) to multiple languages. The translations in question would be open to the world at large, and the world at large would be eligible to assist with the translation.

You seem to be wanting a private service, with well-vetted individuals (called by their leadership) to translate. You also want this to be church wide, so that you can benefit from the spanish speakers in my stake, and we can benefit from those in your ward that speak german. This service would mostly work on local documents, like letters from stake presidents, sacrament meeting talks, etc. It may or may not include doctrinal, or sensitive material.

I this this is a GREAT idea, and probably a much lower red-tape barrier than an open community project. As you stated, the software could be similar, so both projects would benefit from the development effort.

It sounds like TomW has at least a proof-of-concept application built, and certainly the Mormon-translation wiki is proof-of-concept.

One question:
What sorts of local docs do you need translation help with? Would this include doctrine, like talks, High Council messages etc? Would it include sensitive information like church court documents?

The next question is where to put this, as it would have to be accessible worldwide, but probably not public facing. In a corporate environment, this type of thing would usually be put behind the firewall, and require VPN access.

So it could be only on church computers, and require connecting to the church's sytems to function (like MLS).

It could also be in an authenticated part of the church's web site, like LUWS or similar.

I like this idea!
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Postby russellhltn » Wed Jun 25, 2008 11:13 am

tomw wrote:However there are a few things we are working through.


How big an issue would it be in having information "escaping" the area it was intended for?

For example in this forum we talk about MLS and clerk procedures. But how much of that is specific to the North America Area? Certainly translating it into other languages would be helpful, but would it result in clerks in other areas getting confused about procedures because what they read doesn't apply to them?

Do we even know how much we don't know?

Making information more accessible is a good thing, but not when it blurs the lines of authority.

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Postby MorettiDP » Wed Jun 25, 2008 11:59 am

tomw wrote:This is a good idea and also is one in which we have been talking about internally at the Church. We feel that this may be a great project for the community to help us build. However there are a few things we are working through.

1. Much of the correspondence that is sent from Church headquaters is copyrighted and therefore may special treatment.

2. Policies and procedures need to be developed to ensure that confidential OR mis-information is not posted.

3. Policies and procedures also need to be developed to ensure that people don't intentionally mis-translation some document in an effort to thwart our efforts.

Item #1 is the trickiest right now. The other two items are fairly easy to protect through developing software that has double or triple verification. I've built a system like this. Basically every translation has to be done by at least 2 different individuals. Documents are passed "up" from translators to translate moderators who have a higher language confidence level in the system to work through conflicts, etc.

Tom


I know that is available these site https://apps.lds.org/letters/SignIn.jsp. I can't have access (and I believe that any Brazilian leaders can't have access too), but I believe that it's a repository of the letters that priesthood leaders receive weekly. This system can be maked available to more leaders or language tools can be added to make available letters in most languages, like Spanish and (please!) Portuguese.

An "letter number" can be created (or the XXXXX XXX material number can be used) to index letters and make more easy to leaders access letters in different languages that your native language.
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Postby WelchTC » Thu Jun 26, 2008 2:33 pm

Kent Larsen wrote:
Could you clarify?

Kent


I was speaking much more generally. So for my little experiment that started this thread my recent comments are overkill. However we are discussing building a community translation site where we can involve members from around the world to help in translation of various information.

Tom


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