Open Translation Tools 2009 - Agenda Overview

Open Translation Tools 2009 will be an extremely interactive and participatory affair. As with all Aspiration events, the agenda will be developed in collaboration with participants before and during the event.

OTT09 will focus on generating a range of outcomes:

  • Addressing the Translation Challenges Faced by the Open Education, Open Content, and human rights blogging communities, and mapping requirements to available open solutions.
  • Global Voices Lingua Translation Exchange project will be presented and discussed. The project seeks to leverage collaboration with like-minded partners in considering whether the Global Voices’s model for distributed translation can work within different contexts
  • Tool/Content Project Match-making: This experimental exercise will endeavor to match content projects possessing strong interest in collaborative translation with tool makers offering potentially relevant and useful tools. A primary objective will be productive discourse, but there will also be an eye towards developing collaborative project ideas with the potential for funding, both to help content projects realize their translation needs and visions, as well as to help tool developers enhance their offerings, both in terms of features and usability.
  • Standards-driven approach to open translation: Emphasis will be placed at every step of discourse and documentation on standards-based models for translation. While powerful and ubiquitous standards such as XLIFF, PO and TMX exist, gaps and interoperability problems between standards are substantial, as is uneven support for various standards in various tools. The event will strive to characterize missing standards, and documents barriers to utilizing existing standards in open translation work.
  • Specifying workflow requirements for missing open translation tools: The most glaring tool gap identified at OTT07 centered on management of the translation process. While individual tools address specific components of the translation processes and needs, those overseeing and direction translation projects do not enjoy tool support for overall management of roles, tasks, and resources. Participants would design a set of workflow definitions, and work with developers to assess appropriate means of implementation.
  • Open Translation API Design: Most translation tools operate as stand-alone technologies, and have not been designed with interoperability as a primary consideration. Participants at OTT07 called out API (Application Programmer Interface) design and adoption as a critical objective in growing the open translation movement. While many tools use standard data formats such as PO, XLIFF, and TMX, very few expose API's which would allow other tools to easily transfer data or invoke services remotely. The goal of an open translation API initiative would be to make the individual tools secondary, and shift focus to standardized services and functionality, thus providing translators with maximum power and flexibility. One proposed OTT07 example use case for API-based integration was to make Transifex, Damn Lies and Pootle work as a tool suite.
  • Mapping tools to use cases: OTT07 generated a rich inventory of open translation use cases, as well as a mapping of available open translation tools. An unfinished task is the correlation of appropriate tools to use cases. This mapping would be carried out in a fashion that enabled the information to be maintained online over time.
  • Designing the Translator Commons: A shared need identified at OTT07 was for an online venue where open translation practitioners could share best practices, find support, and exchange resources and services. Translator Commons was proposed as a destination where practitioners of open translation could go to find support and guidance for their practice. There is not currently any such online community for open translation, and the vision behind Translator Commons is to establish a venue where translators could discuss issues and challenges, including regional and language-pair-specific translation problems. Such a site would also maintain style guides and metastyle guides, and links to related resources. An additional desired feature would be a maintained mapping of other translation communities, providing context and contact information for those wanting to network more broadly. Ideally, such an entity would function as a social networking platform for translators, and provide not only support but opportunities for paid work and other engagement. Primary emphasis would be placed on complementing rather than duplicating existing resources.
  • Informing the book contents: Open content publishers with specific translation needs will define real-world use cases for the book to address, in part by attempting to design their translation strategies in collaboration with book authors. Depending on the state of each content project, tasks may include content design, tool selection, process definition, or quality tracking. This process will also serve to create a second circle of advocates for the use and dissemination of the book to a broad range of content publishing networks.