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Aspiration designed and hosted the first-ever “Open Translation Tools Convergence”. This 3-day event brought together two passionate communities: those creating open source software tools to support translating open content, and those with a need for better tools to support translation of the open content they create.
Aspiration published a paper entitled “Open Translation Tools: Disruptive Potential to Broaden Access to Knowledge”, documenting learnings and outcomes from the event. In addition, a video and inventory of open translation tools were also produced.
The event took place in Zagreb, Croatia, from 29 November to 1 December 2007, and was co-organized by Aspiration and Multimedia Institute - [MI2]. Open Translation Tools 2007 was supported by the generosity of the Open Society Institute, with additional support provided by TechSoup.
The event was convened to:
- Document the open source translation tool landscape - What’s out there? And what should we create to fill the gaps?
- Inventory “open content translation use cases” - What translation support is needed?
- Strengthen the community of practice around open source translation tools for open content, with a particular focus on delivering value to nonprofit and non-governmental organizations (NPOs and NGOs).
The agenda was collaboratively developed by participants in the time leading up to and during the gathering. Also see additional event background.
Overall, we followed a user-driven approach to map tools to use cases, assessing what is supported by currently available open source software tools and services, and identifying the most pressing needs. Primary focus was placed on supporting and enabling distributed human translation of content, but the role of machine translation was also considered. “Open content” encompasses a range of resource types, from books to manuals to documents to blog posts to multimedia.
The event targeted three complementary outcomes:
- A mapping of the open source translation tool landscape, enumerating tools and tool categories as well as services, projects and resources, and assessing gaps and opportunities for development. There is currently very little in terms of a directory of translation tools for content publishers, and this event will serve to create such an inventory.
- An inventory of “open content translation use cases”, with open content creators and publishers describing how they would like open source software tools and technologies to support their translation needs. These use cases will cover a range of tasks (“I need to translate a document into a second language”) and usage scenarios (“I need a widget for my blog that links to open content translation request services and lists available translated versions of my content”).
- A strengthened community of practice around translation tools for open content for NPO and NGO needs. While many amazing projects are in play all around the globe, there are relatively few opportunities for practitioners in the field of open content translation to meet and collaborate as a community. Open Translation Tools 2007 will provide such a venue.
For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call +1.415.839.6456.
Oracle invited Aspiration to MC and facilitate the first-ever No Slide Zone at Oracle OpenWorld 2007. Bucking long-held conference and trade show tradition, the No Slide Zone track prohibited the use of projected “slideware” decks, instead encouraging presenters to engage in creative and interactive presentation formats.
Sessions included a Jeopardy spoof focused on database security, a caged death match between old school and new school database admins, a content management cook-off, and a mad scientist laboratory cooking up “Enterprise 2.0” experiments.
While it was a tad outside of our nonprofit technology mission focus, the event provided Aspiration a great opportunity to introduce our collaborative event philosophy and participant-driven session formats to a very large new audience at this 42,000-attendee gathering. Plus it was fun to play with all the high-tech event toys not normally found in the nonprofit sector, including state-of-the-art SWAG.
Aspiration and Blue Oxen Associates co-hosted the fifth FLOSS Usability Sprint November 2-4, 2007. FLOSS Usability alums Daniel Schwartz and Jon Slenk stepped up to lead the event planning, outreach and logistics. Once again, Google graciously hosted the event at their headquarters in Mountain View. Project participants included Firefox, Chandler, and WiserEarth.
“FLOSS” stands for Free/Libre/Open Source Software, and at FLOSS Usability Sprints, open source software projects partner with usability practitioners to address specific usability challenges in the software tools they are creating. Each team identifies usability outcomes they want to achieve during the course of the 3-day sprint, then collaboratively designs and implements processes for realizing the stated outcomes.
Event proceedings were tracked on the FLOSS Usability Wiki.
At the invitation of IDRC and in partnership with PRIDE Africa, Aspiration directed the first-ever “Good to Great FOSS: Open Source Software Development in Africa” convening in Nairobi from October 24-26. The workshop provided a collaborative venue for discussion on Open Source software development in a developing country context, and was attended by a diverse group of open source projects and practitioners. The workshop goal was to facilitate an open assessment on how ‘Open Source’ approaches do (and do not) improve the impact of software initiatives in a developing country context. Also discussed and documented were reflections on the most successful approaches and strategy to implementing Open Source.
The main objectives of this workshop were:
- To provide an opportunity for reflection and learning about how to develop successful Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) initiatives in Africa;
- To promote collaboration and understanding of what it takes to have a successful FOSS project;
- To document community processes and tool sets of featured projects, profiling best practices required to apply FOSS expertise to add value to various technology driven IDRC-funded projects;
- To provide knowledge on business process in the context of FOSS projects.
An event wiki was maintained to store session notes and project profiles.
Following from the event, Aspiration will be authoring a paper that details community processes and tool sets of featured projects from the event; a profile of best practices, required resources and processes in the developing country context; as well as points of disagreement on the subject of how to develop an Open Source project in the African context; and finally, recommendations for focus areas in future support and collaboration.
Despite the use of informal and occasionally salty language, Craigslist Foundation was kind enough to post a podcast of Aspiration Executive Director Allen Gunn’s recent presentation at the 2007 San Francisco Boot Camp.
Using the soap box as his publishing platform, gunner opined on a range of nonprofit tech challenges, best practices and pathologies before heading off to babysit his nephew and niece.
Thanks to Craigslist Foundation for creating a venue in which people passionate about nonprofit technology were able to come discuss and share knowledge while strengthening the network of nonprofit practice!
The Mott Foundation invited Aspiration to design and facilitate a series of convenings to engage Mott grantees on how the foundation’s web site could better serve their needs.
Grantees in Flint, Michigan, San Francisco, California, and Washington, DC were invited to review the current slate of online services, and offer feedback on both the value of those offerings and their ability to take advantage of the same.