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Resources (was: Re: debian-l10n-galician)

Hello Jacobo and everyone on deb18n :)

Jacobo, I hope you don't mind me responding to this. I'm in a very similar situation to you, and have dealt with some of the same issues. I appreciate your experience, and would value your advice.

On 26/12/2006, at 10:29 AM, Jacobo Tarrio wrote:

El sábado, 23 de diciembre de 2006 a las 12:39:39 +0100, suso@riseup.net escribía:

My purpose is to help joining those efforts allowing localization,
translation and support to galician language in the Debian distribution.


I would have liked it very much if you had contacted me before all of this, because I have been involved in this for many years, and there's a couple of
issues you must be aware of.

I started translating in the year 1999, and between 2003-2004 I got burnt
out, so I stopped completely.

Then I started translating again when I got messaged by Christian about some incomplete translations. I half-grudgingly fixed it, then fixed some
other translations, and when I noticed I had 100% in the 5 levels.

However, even though I'm translating stuff again, I still consider myself
burnt out, so I set myself two conditions to deal with the condition:

 1- the translation must be the very best I can achieve. I hate bad
translations with a passion. I want to be proud of what I do.

I agree wholeheartedly.

 2- I must work alone. If someone else wants to work on something I'm
already working on, I stop. I have no interest in help, contributions or
coordination. I only expect people to tell me if they find any errors.

I can quite understand that you have to set some absolute limits. You have to protect your own health. But doesn't it help us avoid burnout if we have the help of others?

I know it means a lot of communication, and early on especially, a LOT of leadership, mentoring and organization, but it does have a ripple effect (like a stone dropped in a pool of water). Most likely, for every hour we put into encouraging others to participate, helping them learn what to do and how to do it, there are many hours contributed later to our communities.

It's true that short-term, it can look like we put in a lot of time for nothing, as people may contribute only briefly to that particular effort, but I have found long-term, that everything we do in community work does have a lasting effect.

I suppose my main concern at this stage is that I'm not particularly keen to go on being the only active translator in my language. I really want to encourage others to participate, even if it does mean modelling the whole thing first (as you need to do in our culture), even if it does mean a lot of time spent mentoring when I'd rather be translating. Without this help, the work just grows...

So I'm very interested in your views on setting limits for severely under-resourced i18n volunteers.

I follow these rules faithfully: recently, mancomun.org imported my Firefox
1.5 translation to make a Firefox 2.0, so I stopped the Firefox 2.0
translation I was doing. Of course, they never told me they had done that; I
learned of that while looking at my referrer logs.

I don't want to stop what I'm currently doing in Debian, so these are my

1- I'm translating d-i and debconf templates. You will never translate
anything having to do with d-i or debconf templates.

 2- only I set the criteria I'll follow when translating.

Don't you think we benefit from the experience and suggestions of others? I suppose this is the same question. If we can form a team within a larger i18n community, aren't we stronger and more knowledgeable as a group than when we're alone?

I set these conditions to deal with burnout, as I said before, and if they aren't respected, I will have no other choice than to withdraw from Debian
translation to protect my health, and I don't want to do that.

 Writing this message was hard for me, so I hope you understand.

I know you must have very strong reasons for making these rules for yourself. I hope you don't mind me asking these questions. I am in a very similar situation, and I would like to understand your choices. Hopefully, I can learn from you. :)

Thankyou for bringing up this topic. I always feel hesitant to talk about it, because I know it's not the usual situation, and I don't want to say, "Hey, look at me!", but it would really help to share some experience on what it's like to be the only active translator for your language community. It's a very isolated position. I suppose that's why I have all the more respect and appreciation for the concept of teamwork, and for our larger i18n communities (for example, through this list), because it's a vision of something I don't have, and very much want to have.

from Clytie (vi-VN, Vietnamese free-software translation team / nhóm Việt hóa phần mềm tự do)

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