Paul's Internet Landfill/ 2015/ Wishful Thinking 003: Software Translation Club

Wishful Thinking 003: Software Translation Club

Although I do not intend every "Wishful Thinking" entry to involve setting up some user group, a few weeks ago I identified yet another demographic who might benefit from greater involvement in FLOSS: recent immigrants. Over the last decade Kitchener-Waterloo has been blessed with immigrants from many different countries: Ethiopia, Sudan, Guatamala, Columbia, Venezuela, and others. The circumstances under which many of these immigrants have arrived have been awful (it is no coincidence that many of the above countries are war zones) but they are here now.

I sometimes worry that these newcomers are not integrating into the broader community as well as they could. Alternatively, I worry that the broader community have not been as welcoming to newcomers as it could be. Even at KWLUG and Computer Recycling, I see a lot fewer immigrants than I would expect.

Immigrants who speak (and write) other languages have a huge gift to offer the free software movement. There is lots and lots of free software being produced, and translation tools for this software exists, but actual translations lag behind, especially for non-European languages.

I have never really used software translation tools before, but I imagine it takes quite a bit of work to get the tools set up and working, especially when it comes to alternative language inputs. That is a challenge, but we have enough nerds in the KWLUG community to figure that part out. Meanwhile, there are lots of English conversation circles where immigrants congregate to practice their English. It should be possible to advertise at these events (and maybe other places such as the African and South American cafes that have popped up) for people to participate in the project.

I think this could be a win for free software because more software would be translated more widely. Some of the translators participating in the project might become free software advocates along the way.

I think this could also be a win for our immigrant populations because it would offer opportunities to practice their translation skills and work with technology, as well as interacting with the broader tech community locally.

I think this could work well as a monthly or biweekly meetup, but I am not sure.

One aspect of this project I like over some of the other Linux meetings I have proposed is that this would be a hands-on project, not just a discussion group.

Project Status: nonexistent. I have discussed this idea with a couple of people, but that is it.

What I can offer: