Immersion Community Guidelines (Unofficial)
This brief unofficial guide serves to help users tackle translations, and find a common reference point when using Immersion. Refer to Wikipedia's Manual of Style or the Style Guides for writing conventions not covered by this guide. For more information about Immersion see Immersion Navigation Guide.
Content Correctness (ICC):
- Use natural translations over literal translations (von Ahn (2013)). See point 3 for exception;
- Be consistent throughout the text, e.g. Goldilocks is Goldilocks from the beginning to the end of the text (not blondylocks or goldenhair);
- Try to provide a reference in the comment (e.g. link) to motivate your translation/edit;
- Don't translate movie titles, book titles, or any art piece titles. Keep it like it is but between quotes (" ") and possibly add a (literal) translation between parenthesis. This rule doesn't apply if there is an official translated title, in which case use it; and
- Try to be as accurate as possible. Don't add any meaning that is not in the original sentence and don't drop anything that is there. This does not mean being literal because it applies to the meaning and not to grammar, syntax or exact wording (Olimo).
- Try to use correct and consistent grammar throughout the text.
- Use the same spelling of the word throughout the text (e.g. colour or color, not both).
- Follow the rules of the target language, consider the whole sentence before putting it. When in doubt avoid placing punctuations or rewrite the sentence to exclude them.
- For each document the first translator should indicate (in the title post) the variation of the language being used (e.g. US English vs British English), and follow the formatting (date, spelling, and so on) and rules of that system.
- An article should not be edited simply to switch from one valid use of the destination language to another;
- If the original sentence is (on purpose) clumsy, try to keep the clumsiness in your translation. If you don't keep it "clumsy", but someone edits your version, and adds the clumsiness, don't change it back to your original version;
- If the original sentence sounds a little old-fashioned (for example because the text was written some centuries ago), try to keep the translation "old-fashioned". If you don't but someone edits your version doing it (and explaining it), don't change it back to the "modern language";
- Don't translate proper names (and keep the accents when there are accents).
- Use wikipedia's Manual of style unless the style guide does not exist in the target language. If not then follow Styles guideline 2 or 3; or
- Use the European Interinstitutional style guide if the language is not covered by wikipedia, or
- Find an appropriate style guide (preferably in the public domain) for the target language, and make references to it. If possible, and not copyrighted upload the Style guide to immersion and refer to the link in the comment.
- Try to use the original verb tense in the translated document if the translation is natural in the target language, if not follow general guideline 1.
- Respect the language register (e.g. formal language) when translating: .
- Try to use the original "passive/active voice" in the translated document if the translation is natural in the target language, if not follow general guideline 1.
- In general, names are not translated, with few exceptions. This rule doesn't apply if there is an official translated name (e.g. Saints, important historical figures, characters from tales, and so on), in which case use it (Goran12)).
Immersion Conduct (IC):
- The instructions on resolving conflicts (which may not occur at all in some articles) are only here for the worst case scenario, and are not meant to discourage revision of other users' translations;
- "Don't use edits to fight with other editors – disagreements should be resolved through discussion";
- Check all submitted comments (if there are any) before submitting your translation. Of course it is recommended to first try to translate it by yourself, then read the previous comments/translations, and submit your translation if it still seems better;
- Avoid arguments;
- Always leave a comment; and
- Refer users to this discussion (URL) or Duolingo's guidelines when there's an Edit-War (conflict). Add the guideline and the number. e.g. IR1/IG1 = Immersion Rule/guideline 1.
Use of the immersion discussion :
- This can be used to sort out translation disagreements, and discuss issues that relate to the text such as idioms, consistency, translation style and so on. Make sure to add a link to the original article in immersion.
Guidelines for "looks wrong" button
- Attempt to edit and correct the error rather than click "looks wrong", unless it is unavoidable .
Click "looks wrong" if there is:
- If there is spam, or alternatively click "report abuse";
- If there is a completely wrong translation with no link to the original sentence (for example, someone translates the number "1" into "a monkey dances"); and
- If one does not know how to correct the sentence but is certain the sentence is incorrect, and already followed IRA1.
Do not click "looks wrong"
- If there is a minor mistake: Punctuation, simple misspelling, and so on (rather edit the sentence);
- If there is a conflict in translation: review existing comments and proceed with caution;
- If attempting to resolve arguments: the pen is mightier than the sword; and
- Incorrectly translated idiomatic sentence: try instead to search online for the idiom, and paste the link to the use.
Resolving/avoiding conflicts in translations
- Approach (the whole situation) with caution (anomalocaris);
- Always provide comments or references for concepts not easy to understand; and
- Always be open to the idea that you might be wrong.
- Refrain from making unnecessary edits;
- Review all comments;
- Research the topic thoroughly;
- Check the participants' tiers and take that information into account before you act;
- Up-vote the translation you find best after following the above steps;
- If you're already involved,and there are few users, follow IRA1; and
- Provide an alternate translation only if you feel all existing translations are wrong (after following the above steps), and always try to provide references (e.g. links).
Guidelines for submitting articles:
- Search online to make sure a translation does not already exist, if it does think twice before submitting or do not submit;
- Make sure articles are not copyrighted, if they are ask for permission from the authors;
- Wikipedia and creative commons content is welcome, but see rule 1 when submitting; and
- Duolingo's filters prevent content of a sexual nature, so follow the guidelines when submitting.
Red Alert (IRA) (When all else fails)
- Try starting a constructive discussion by posting on their stream or start a thread, and politely explain your perspective; and/or
- Unsubscribe to the article.
Guidelines for specific articles
- Follow specific rules for each language;
1.1. English: Keep it brief, omit any implied words, use imperative, and do not use spaces or pronouns in lists (jaye16); and
1.2. Other languages: Follow rules for the particular target language.
- Poems : Try to translate verse-by-verse, and make sure the rhymes and meter are replicated in the target language.
Community Immersion Strict Rules:
- Follow all Duolingo guidelines
Explanation of guidelines:
- Strict : Guidelines that are enforceable by Duolingo. If a user violates strict guidelines the user is also violating Duolingo's guidelines.
- Recommended : Guidelines that are not enforceable by Duolingo.
Guidelines for this discussion:
- Propose a guideline with one comment;
- Vote if you agree with that comment;
- Guidelines will be ranked based on most votes; and
- Indicate if it is a strict/recommended guideline.
Companion Thread(for discussions) https://www.duolingo.com/comment/3139106
Report any user/article breaking duolingo's rules
User's breaking strict guidelines must be reported to staff, and must also break Duolingo's guidelines.
I'm sorry, but I don't like the general tone being set here. Duolingo is not wikipedia. We are not working to create authoritative reference articles and the practice of translating articles in Immersion is meant to serve two purposes 1) to provide good quality translations, yes, but also 2) to provide a learning experience.
So while some of the above 'rules' make for good practice when people are working on immersion translations, I think they should only be put forward as suggestions. Talk about 'breaking' rules leading to 'reporting to staff' sounds far too authoritarian to me and will only scare people away from the valuable learning experience of doing translation of real world articles.
I think that ship has sailed a long time ago, I've edited the part oskalingo mentioned, and kept it as unofficial as possible.
Besides, the only strict guideline is that people should follow all official duolingo guidelines. It is more a reminder than any official statement. But as always these are just unofficial recommendations, nothing more.
I thought that the distinction was clear, but in another context someone mentioned that the wiki guidelines are the "same as Duolingo's guidelines". I think you might have seen that comment.
Lastlevel edit @Dessamator
The "wiki's take" on immersion is the same as the one in Duolingo.
Lastlevel edit @Dessamator
I see the misunderstanding.
Thank you from the heart. I don't know how old you are, but if all adults behaved like you when serious concerns are raised against you and against things into which you've invested a lot of thought and good will, the world would be a lot less insane. I just don't want anybody telling me that they speak for me, for the people, for the community, for Immersion. As my great green teacher once said: No me gusta la dictadura.
I see the misunderstanding. I meant that there are Immersion Community Guidelines in the Duolingo forum, that are the same as Immersion Community Guidelines in the Wiki.
But neither are endorsed by Duolingo. Although our Community Manager (KristineMC) is completely aware of it.
Not at all, I've made it painfully clear:
These are unofficial community guidelines for Duolingo's Immersion, and are not in any way sanctioned by Duolingo's founders or staff.
Whoever said so, made a clear mistake.
They are unofficial and state it clearly. Supporting them or not is not an issue. I only know that before they were available we were wondering around in the dark, every man for himself and lots of disputes. Now, they are on Wiki so you can add or change as you like. I still look to them for guidance and recommend them to all new Duo learners.
These guidelines spread a toxic influence in my opinion. Of course, it's only my opinion. I support your freedom to aggressively promote your personal vision. But if someone calls them "Duolingo's community guidelines", I will strongly object.
Would any casual reader recognize a difference between "Duolingo's community guidelines", and "Immersion community guidlines", or "User consensus guidelines"? They represent only personal opinions. They do not represent "the community"- whatever that is.
It does not indicate consensus of anyone but the people who worked on it. As for me, and anyone who agees with me, if that's possible, the whole idea of forming a voting bloc to impose order on the rest of us is a well-meaning mistake.
As a standard of behavior for yourselves, I have no problem with it other than to disagree with a number of assumptions about what immersion is about. But as a presumption of consensus and of representation, that can be brought out in the name of the community, its influence has not been healthy in my experience.
I think that those who didn't participate in the discussion that inspired these guidelines may see it that way. But this thread shows the rationale (https://www.duolingo.com/comment/980663).
Yes, they do indicate user consensus. But anyone in the community is free to challenge them, improve on them, or alternatively ignore them.
The suggestion about retaining the verb tense of the original is much too specific. Italian, for example, sometimes uses the present tense for narrations of the past. I have encountered disagreements with other translators who insisted on retaining the present when it did not look natural in English. There are other cases where tenses do not line up between languages.
what about this:
- Try to use the original verb tense in the translated document if the translation is natural in the target language, if not follow General guideline 1;
That seems reasonable. I wouldn't support changing the tense arbitrarily.
I think we should look to Wikipedia for our guidelines, since they have a lot of experience with exactly the types of problems we're dealing with. This section of their manual is especially worth reading: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Help:Wikipedia:_The_Missing_Manual/Collaborating_with_Other_Editors/Resolving_Content_Disputes#Avoiding_Content_Disputes
One rule of theirs that I'd like as a recommended guideline is this: "An article should not be edited or renamed simply to switch from one valid use of English to another." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Manual_of_Style#National_varieties_of_English It's nice to aim for consistency, but you shouldn't edit a sentence just to add or remove a U from "color"/"colour".
Good idea, just choose the ones you like, and we can add here. That way everyone can weigh in.
A few of the many Lingots I should give you for so many reasons. Thanks for being there when I/we were lost and confused, for all your brilliant ideas (too many to mention), Sudoku, 984423! and more. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
What about some guidelines/suggestions about what sort of articles to submit for translation in the first place? For example, I once put in a lot of effort translating an about.com article into English only to find out that not only was there already an exact English counterpart already existing on the web, but that the English article was the original one and the Spanish article was itself a translation! I know personally that a big part of my motivation in participating in the Immersion section is the belief that by doing so I am providing a service. And even if I were just in in for the experience, that would be all the more reason to want the articles I'm translating to be written in authentic language, not a translation from English.
I like Abykale's idea. I'm just kind of getting back into Spanish after a long, long absence, so right now, I just upload articles as I happen to stumble upon them. At the moment, however, all I've been doing, for the most part, is uploading Wikipedia articles. At some point, I may want to do other types of articles and I notice that when uploading an article, the user must categorize it with one of the following choices:
When I want a change of pace from uploading Wikipedia articles, I will need to choose one of the other selections, but what might influence the type of article I upload is whether or not it is needed. For example, let's say duolingo has a count on all of its articles and it can show me that, of all the articles it has, less than 1% are translations of "Economy & Finances" and more than 50% are translations of "Entertainment," then I might want to focus my efforts on finding and translating documents related to economics and finances. (Please keep in mind, my example is purely a hypothetical example used for effect rather than any resemblance of what duolingo's percentages actually might be.)
Then again, if we could get to a point where we could use Immersion to translate movies, television, news broadcasts, and other video, I might not care about the dispersion of translation so much, but I would imagine, even then, it should be divided into categories similar to what we see for documents. Anyway, I think my point has been made.
Before writing a new translation to an already translated sentence, check all submitted translations and the number of up votes for each. Make sure your translation is not replacing one with 10 up votes or something (as this is most likely correct) and that the translation you are proposing has not already been submitted.
Guidelines on names: in general, names are not translated, with few exceptions. It's somewhat similar to art pieces.
Saints and biblical persons: as a rule, if the name exists both in the original and the target language, it should be translated. Even less common saints should be in the list of all saints on wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_saints) and it's mutations for other languages. In general, switching between various language of the same wikipedia article is a good method. Names of saints not in wikipedia should not be translated, or translated with a comment linking to a source proving that the original and translated name means the same saint. A comment with a link to the wikipedia article should be a good practice anyway.
This is important for churches and other places named after the saints or "pseudosaints" like "Assumption of Mary". There may be other language specific rules for this: for example, in French, hyphen is used in these names (e.g. cathédrale Saint-Paul), but there shouldn't be any hyphens in English (Saint Paul's Cathedral).
The same is true for people mentioned in Bible. If they don't have wikipedia articles in both languages, BibleGateway (http://www.biblegateway.com/) or any other site with multiple translations of Bible in various languages should be searched. You don't have to do it yourself, but if you transcribe the name (don't translate it if you don't know how), you should comment that the name should be verified. "New International Version" seems to be the best fit for the English form of biblical names.
Important historical figures: mostly kings and other rulers, sometimes even artists, philosophers and others. If the wikipedia article don't list the version used in the original language as correct for the target language, then translate it. If there's no wikipedia article, there's probably no reason to translate the name.
As a fairly novice immersion translator I agree with Barbara about the negative effect of downvotes--I know I get a lot wrong even when I am trying hard, and I do find downvotes discouraging. I would probably think differently about this if I were a good translator, but for those of us who are working hard but still have a long way to go I don't support downvotes even if they don't carry a high penalty.
Not having downvotes would actually work if people reserved upvotes only for *perfect translations. That way the tier level would be an accurate assessment of a translator's proficiency. That is unlikely to happen because quite a lot of the people voting are novices themselves and can't really tell if a sentence is accurate or not.
Aside from that, the vast majority of Duolinguists have no knowledge of proper translator standards and practices, so they can't reasonably be expected to do such a good job without considerable effort.
They could have three buttons, "Looks perfect"(+2), "Looks ok"(+1), and "Looks wrong"(-1).
About novices affecting the tiers, maybe Duolingo should only count votes for tier advancement if the voter is at a higher tier than the translator. That way a novice's votes wouldn't have any effect. And maybe the abusers wouldn't be able to rise through the tiers the way they can now by working together.
I am about 2 months old in Duolingo. I still understand very little of the role that the translations actually play, despite doing some most days (as I believe this is a way to contribute to Duolingo in return for access to the free, interactive, learning tools). What I know for sure is that the translation material is often way above the level of the taught material/exercises. Which really doesn't make sense to me. And talking about punishment, downvotes etc seems all wrong in this context.
If there is an expectation that we behave like professional translators then that needs to be made clear as soon as we join Duolingo, with full guidelines clearly available, and some teaching on how to do it. Anything I have found out so far has been largely by chance (such as the translation guidelines), and I fully expect that there is a lot else I am not yet aware of. How many people will even know about this discussion thread?
Downvoting is not a punishment, it is just a signal that the translation is incorrect, much like how a spellchecker/test result/ loss of hearts in the lessons indicates that something is incorrect.
I presume that Duolingo doesn't expect anyone to behave like professional translations since it teaches us a language and then has us translate. It would also take considerable time to actually teach all the translator's know-how, and most people would probably quit Duolingo long before then.
I do however agree that this discussion is probably long lost, and less than 200 people are even aware of it. But even having clear instructions is no guarantee that people will read them. There are clear instructions on terms and guidelines for Duolingo, yet most people are probably not even aware of where they are located or what they contain.
All true. However, as some have suggested, posting a link to the guidelines on the Discuss tab of each article, and/or posting a link to the guidelines when making comments on a sentence in Immersion makes more people aware that the guidelines exist and "should" be followed. I think you (and others) have done a great job attempting to get the guidelines in front of people. I haven't been with Duo very long and yet I found links to the guidelines pretty quickly after starting the Immersion side!
@crumplehorn, someone told me that the articles that Duo earns money for are usually English to some other language. (not Italian to English, nor French to English, for example) However, if my information is not true, I hope someone will correct me!
But who sees the signal that it is incorrect? The only way a third person can see the votes on a sentence is if they vote on it themself, and presumably they have already made their own assessment.
The person whose translation got downvoted sees it, but either they are bot-pasters and they don't care whether it's good or bad in the first place, or they already did their best and knowing that someone thinks it looks wrong isn't going to help them do any better.
Well, I presume they did it that way intentionally to prevent people from being biased by the downvote/upvote.
It helps them to know that they aren't making good translations and would profit by learning more from others or consulting reference material. They can also read the translation of other users once the sentence is edited/reverted.
If the original sentence is (on purpose) clumsy, try to keep the clumsiness in your translation. If you don't but someone edit your version doing it (and explaining it), don't change it back.
Interesting idea, in the research world we use "sic" to indicate a mistake made by the original author. I have a question though, how do we decide which rules to add to guidelines?
People will probably propose strange things, and I don't want to dictate what must be added.
Yes, the use of (sic) could be used. But I'm afraid to see too much of them if we start. ;)
I don't understand the guidance not to change it back. If the clumsy version is a better translation, then we should change it back with a comment about why. What is different about this situation, and the similar one about old-fashioned text, that leads to a "don't change it back" rule?
Sometimes the clumsiness is intentional, the original author intended to be humorous, or was trying to emphasize a particular point. For example, in this post the OP, http://www.duolingo.com/comment/1094392, identifies the exact problem.
Also sometimes it may just be a quote, "I no speak English", an author attempting to indicate that the person could not speak English. It loses the meaning if you correct the spelling.
Oh I think you misunderstood it, the guideline is: If the original sentence is "no sabo", and the first translator translates it to "I don't know". When someone else changes it to "me not know" (and puts a comment), which is an accurate representation of the clumsiness, the first (or third) translator should not change it back to "I don't know".
- First translator : "no sabo" - "I don't know"
- Second translator : "no sabo" - "me no know" (comment: keeping the clumsiness in the original)
- First (or Third) translator : reads "no sabo", sees comment, Clicks "looks good".
Thats what he meant. I can re-write the guideline if you think it is confusing. What do you suggest?
Edit: I did "improve" the sentence after I wrote this.
I have just run into the problem again where the original translation doesn't show up when I am making the first edit. This makes it difficult to comment about my change. There are ways around this like cancelling and starting again after copying the original into notepad, but it would be better if we could always see all the previous translations.
Has anyone else been bothered by this?
I did start a discussion about this in Troubleshooting a while ago (http://www.duolingo.com/comment/857020), but it looks like nobody noticed the discussion (or rather, nobody cared about the problem) since there are no comments and no likes. (I'm assuming that there aren't an equal number of likes and dislikes, since this subject doesn't seem controversial enough for someone to dislike it.)
This seems like an immersion oversight, rather than a bug. Have you tried viewing it using translation view?
You are a really patient and committed editor. Most of the time I just write a single word. In any event, this is a design feature, not really a design flaw, they chose to make it like that for whatever reason. So I guess you should move that troubleshooting thread to the main view, and change it to suggestion rather than a "bug".
Anyway, an alternative is just pasting the previous translation in the comment box, add a character such as "@" to separate the comments from the previous translation. Once you are done, just delete it and voila. Another way is to copy and paste the current translation in the edit box, add a space or a paragraph , and then do your stuff. Then delete the previous translation when you are done.
That's been my experience as well, Barbara, but since I've been primarily uploading documents, I'm not often changing the translations of others in the first place. In the future, however, I'm going to start employing Dessamator's suggestion. Quite good and quite simple, actually.
@BarbaraMorris The missing translations have had me worried because I thought that perhaps with the introduction of thr "fix mistake" option we might be expected to figure out the correct translations from now on. On another thread I read that it was a bug which DL was working to correct. Here is the site with the Missing translation comments:www.duolingo.com/comment/1148337. Hope it helps.
@jaye16, sorry for the confusion, but I'm talking about Immersion where there's only one translation so far for a sentence. Once you start to edit the sentence, you can't see the original translation any more. (Well, you can, but you have to jump through a few hoops, like copy/paste or opening the article again in another browser tab.)
@BarbaraMorris No problem. It's my fault if I had read your post more carefully I'd have understood. I haven't had any such problem but can well understand your distress. I depend on the second original version to know what to edit. Hope it's resolved soon.
I was thinking of adding one more statement to the downvoting guidelines:
Downvoting Etiquette :
- Avoid downvoting, but if you truly must. Upon downvoting, edit the sentence, make a small change, and indicate why it was downvoted.
Another laudable idea. I have a few worries. Since it isn't an official requirement those who agree will be on board in a flash those who don't could ignore it. Then again, with time it would become established practice with very positive results. Something else (but I may not know what I'm talking about) by making a small change in the sentence, which I assume is to get you access to the comment box, you will be revealing your identity which apparently DL is trying to avoid. I'm just playing devil's advocate here this initiative would be a huge step towards bringing Immersion to the level it deserves. One question please. I've read that a new policy entails getting permission from the translator before editing a sentence. Have you any info?
Guideline - Indicating a correct alternative translation
- A sentence that is a correct alternative translation should bear the tag "[Correct Alternative]", as a comment.
When there is a dispute of over correct alternative is more correct, the most upvoted one should become the default translation.
Makes sense, EXCEPT: I would hope that BOTH alternatives would become part of the finished product, leaving the choice to the Editor, either DL or the purchaser of the piece. That's the way the publishing world works, for all our wishes for a democratic solution. In most cases the vox populi will ultimately rule, but in the meantime there is a gatekeeper who makes the (temporary) "final" determination.
I like and appreciate your efforts to make this enterprise a socially congenial one, as well as a socially driven one. Thanks.
I think that would not work very well, consider this article . Some sentences have more than 200 alternate translations. Quite a lot of them are probably correct.
Now if we assume every article has more than 20 correct alternate translations then the editor will waste considerable time sifting through those to find the best sentence.
Anyway, editors generally make corrections themselves, or orders that corrections be made. So I don't see the benefit of giving them more work.
Point bien pris! Je ris toujours. Mais que l'éditeur doit-il faire? C'est son travail. Peut-étre dans le ciel il ne devra pas travailler, mais ce n'est pas ciel. C'est le monde réel. Il doit gagne le sein gardent. Ansi ce qui? Puis ce qui?
Dans le monde réel, le client est roi et veut la traduction complete.
Malheureusement, c'est le travail.
That was very interesting, Dessamator. Thank you for sharing that link with us.
in re: "Don't translate movie titles, book titles, or any art piece titles. Keep it like it is but between quotes (" ") and possibly add a (literal) translation between parenthesis."
To differentiate between parenthetical sections in the article itself, perhaps the literal translation of the titles should be in square brackets.
Hmm, I don't really think square brackets suit those purposes. The parenthesis generally serve to explain a certain concept, square brackets have another role. http://www.grammar-monster.com/lessons/brackets_round_and_square_brackets.htm
I think that guideline is meant mostly for a principal author. In the case of translation or even in the case of an extended quotation, if I saw parentheses and square brackets, I would assume that the parentheses were part of the original text and that the square brackets were added by an editor or translator to clarify the material.
Apart from that, I agree with ejm_etherwork for two practical reasons: 1) if you only use a single set of symbols for two different purposes, it adds to the cognitive load of the reader to figure out when they mean one thing and when they mean the other 2) it seems likely that there will be many more source documents that do not have square brackets than those that do. For that reason, square brackets seem like they would more obviously represent something that the translator has added to the document.
p.s. Dessamator, thanks for all the great work you have been doing re: guidelines!
Well, you make valid points, except for one thing. A translation is meant to stand on its own, and should exist as an independent text. The purpose of a translation is to create a text that closely reflects the original in another language. When one translates a name, it may make it harder to understand the original for non-native speakers.
If a text is very well translated or natural, then the readers would not even know it was a translation, so adding square brackets makes it rather obvious that the text is a translation.
In these cases, it is not for text, nor is it for names. It is for titles (books and artwork). It's my feeling that these titles should remain untranslated but still, to help people who are reading the article that is not in its original language, may need to be translated.
Interesting. For me, the square bracket around the English translation on a title is the same as text added by someone other than the original author. But if the majority prefer to use round brackets for this, I'm willing to make the change in future translations.
Nothing to do with the subject but it seems that someone is downvoting all comments (as some users are doing on a lot of discussion...)
Tips for original uploader when starting a discussion in immersion:
Start with something like this:
[Formatting] : e.g. mm/dd/yy dates and a 12:00 AM/PM time.
[Language Region] : e.g. US
[Other comments] : e.g. There will be a lot of specific meteorological terms which may not be familiar to basic English speakers.
With the new Discussion section in Immersion, perhaps those of us that see value in these guidelines should post them in the Discussion of every article we translate.
Sorry for being picky, but looking at the title post, I feel like adding some rules of using spaces: there should not be spaces before periods, commas, colons, semi-colons, exclamation and question marks. Brackets should have spaces outside but not inside.
I'm not an expert on ellipses in English and I'm also not sure about dashes: I doubt people would use proper em-dashes or en-dashes (— or –), so probably the best way is to use just hyphens with spaces around them.
UPD: I'd suggest to consider making a separate discussion of a style guide for English (and maybe also similar discussions for other languages). It is no good to make this header post too big and complicated.
I don't mind at all, your input is welcome. This actually started as general guidelines for conduct, but then evolved into that big thing in the title post (I never meant it to be that big), which is why I tend to sometimes veto language specific guidelines. Anyway, I agree entirely, each language should have its own style guide, this one is meant to be a general community guideline for all immersion documents regardless of language, and spaces or punctuation exists in all of them.
I guess this should be a subheading under punctuation:
General: Follow the spacing rules for the target language.
Notes on English (and perhaps Romance languages): There should not be spaces before periods, commas, colons, semi-colons, exclamation and question marks. Brackets should have spaces outside but not inside.
Hyphens: Use hyphens with spaces around them.
Edit: P.S. Maybe someone should get started on a Russian immersion guide, since it will be available soon™. :)
And now find two violations of the rules you wrote in your own post :-P
As for Russian, this looks too much like work >_< For some reason, I'm much more interested in helping English speakers with Russian than vice versa. Maybe I just have enough Russians around and feel like taking a rest from them here :D
Well c'est la vie, to err is human, and all that. You mean that I included language specific rules?
Regarding making the rules, yes it is some work. I'm also lazy to do it, for the portuguese guidelines, I just submitted it to immersion, and voila, the community created their own community translation of the immersion guidelines for Portuguese. All I did was proof-read and clear a few mistakes. I'm still surprised people even touched it, I would have expected them to ignore this boring document.
But style guides already exist for Russian I suppose. I'm sure you have loads of those lying around the office, and some commitee or organization probably produces them anyway. So all you'd have to do is copy and paste.
EDit: You have a keen eye, found and corrected them hopefully. Also regarding dashes, I never really use them because I don't even know how to use them properly or their function. Let alone know that there are two types of dashes. :)
I meant "English(and" and "Hyphens : Use" :-) Yes, you indeed corrected them.
Style guides we get from customers are proprietary, I can't just copy and paste them. Anyway, I'm not planning anything for the Duolingo Russian → English course. I'm not sure I'll have time for it with my baby, and it also seems too inconvenient to use more than one basic language here. With an English → Russian course it would be different.
Perhaps along with the Guidelines there could be a companion thread where translators could go for more specific information. If the guidelines get too detailed it scare people away. On the other hand you don't want to deny access to further details for those who want them. Eventually it might accumulate a great deal of grammar with references. It might also be handy to resolve disputes over proper use. THe guidelines are an invaluable asset a
Certainly, that is why I'm always hesitant to add more language specific things. In my mind this is not a style guide, it is just a general guide for use of immersion.
That said, I nominate you (jaye16) to create a English language style guide that will serve as a companion to this one. :)
@olimo Joined DL to learn a foreign language and learned a lot about English. Quite a generous bonus. Many thanks. Always look forward to your posts. (Short statements due to computer crashing often)
Your update reminds me of a lecturer that taught me about computer memory and Operating Systems. In computer systems, the quickest memory is the most expensive, and the slowest memory is the cheapest. So the designers of the system divided this memory because of the prohibitive pricing.
To illustrate this point the lecturer indicated that computer designers face the same problem (with regards to memory) as some women may have. He stated, the problem is similar to "a woman choosing the size of her skirt, how does she choose it? The problem is how big or how small". He continued, if a skirt is too big, it is not fashionable, if it is too small, it is a belt. :)
I say this because it is the same problem here, if I summarize the guidelines, it may become too small to be of any help, if I enlarge it, then it may become too big and tiresome to read.
P.S. I hope I didn't offend you with this statement. It was intended as merely a joke in a specific cultural setting.
This thread : http://www.duolingo.com/comment/1273607, made me realize thing that there is one painfully obvious thing missing in the guidelines, the purpose and use of immersion. To veteran users it may be obvious, but not so much to those who have never tried it.
It should actually have been the very first guideline. So here's my attempt:
Purpose and use of Immersion
- For users of immersion it serves to practice reading, writing, comprehension, and translation. You may also check other users translations by upvoting correct sentences, and improving incorrect sentences by editing them. You can also refer to the Immersion navigation for detailed information/tutorial (http://www.duolingo.com/comment/1276245)
I think I found the perfect solution to the commas, grammas, and style guide issues:
Writing Style (Style Guides)
- Use wikipedia's Manual of style (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Manual_of_Style) unless the style guide does not exist in the target language. If not then Styles guideline 2 or 3;
- Use the European Interinstitutional style guide if the language is not covered by wikipedia, http://publications.europa.eu/code/en/en-6000000.htm; and
- Find an appropriate style guide (preferably in the public domain) for the target language, and make references to it. If possible, and not copyrighted upload the Style guide to immersion and refer the link in the comment.
Sounds good to me, Dessamator. Why recreate the wheel if you don't have to?
Poems usually have rhymes and a meter. Don't try to translate them line by line. It's better to do it verse-by-verse. In poems not only the literal meaning of a phrase but also its sound, its meter and formal aspects are important. Think thrice before "messing around" with a translation that manages to replicate rhymes, meter and the general atmosphere of the original. Only change it if you can improve on it substantially.
This is a great thread, I'm glad that I found it. In my opinion poems are an important (because controversial) topic.
Regarding poems: I understand (and share the opinion), that they should not be translated line by line, missing the overall rhythmic. While it's fairly easy to keep the rhythm, it's a different task with the rhyme - how do you suggest do deal with that?
I don't think many translators here are artistically able to transform a complete poem into another language (including rhyme and meter). I would rather read a not too narrow translation (of a poem) with a good rhythm than a translation that has been forced to rhyme in another language. What do you think?
It's certainly a challenge but it's up to the individual whether he/she wants to take it or not. Translations of poems are inherently hard, so beginners should stay away from them. I agree that it's not always possible to replicate the rhymes. My point was rather that if someone already has found a pleasing solution with a natural rhyme, you shouldn't change it into plain English. To illustrate my point: "Am Morgen ist das Mondschaf tot. Sein Leib ist weiß, die Sonn ist rot.". I came up with this translation "The morning sees the moon sheep dead. Its belly's white, the sun is red". And I find it quite annoying if somebody changes that to "In the morning, the moon sheep is dead. It has a white belly. The sun is red" because that's supposed to be "more natural" English.
Yes, it is a shame we don't have subtopics to tag the article as literature, and a poem...
Hmm, quite correct. I translated a poem that had many issues, and a repeating word that people wanted to change in every line. Quite a strange perspective they had.
In any event, I would add it to the list, but wouldn't either wikipedia's style guide or the European Interinstitutional style guide contain that? I mean, the OP(Opening Post) may become too big...
I don't think this is really covered in the style guides. At least I couldn't find it quickly. Wikipedia rarely has the problem of translating poems. I just wanted to suggest this point about poems. I understand that you want to keep the list succint and that it's only a minor point. So, please do as you please :)
Well, seeing as I already included recipes, I might as well add this. It would help if you could summarize it into one or two lines, or I'll try summarizing it later...
I made it a bit shorter, is this fine?
- Poems - Try to translate poems verse-by-verse (rather than line-by-line) because poems usually have rhymes and a meter which are important and should be be replicated in the translation (if possible).
About not changing it to make it literal, that is immersion guideline 1, and writing style general guideline 1. So I don't think it is necessary to emphasize that.
For anyone interested. I uploaded the guidelines to the wiki:
Please post on Discussion. This deserves more that a p.s. I'd do it but it's your oeuvre and should be your post. You've worked so hard one more little post ...
I would post it, but I don't really know what I would write there, aside from indicating that I've added them to a Wiki.
Of course 1. simplicity is a virtue and 2. the work speaks for itself. Go for it!
I was thinking we could wait, if we're going to make a post, until we've got all of the current guides up on the Wiki. Yeah?
Please clear something up for me. Do we translate the names of holidays, or supply a description if no equivalent term in English; if so how do we do it? I have reread: ICG, the Wiki ICG and MOS, as well as gengo finally The Interinstitutional style guide. There doesn't seem to be any reference to holidays. Thank you.
It's an art, not a science. It depends on how well known they are in the wider world and how well the name lends itself to being translated. So Eid al Fitr is always transliterated rather than translated, though good luck with getting universal agreement on transliteration and any hyphenation. But something like The Rose Festival, I would put in English rather than leaving it in Bulgarian/Turkish/anywhere that has a rose festival. You just have to do what you feel works.
Wow. How fast and how knowledgeable. So, that's the reason there's nothing on all those sites. Yes, I'm sitting here thinking. My conclusion in this situation is to leave it. Can't thank you enough.
That is a very generous answer to what is essentially a non answer! :-D Seriously, it's just a judgement call on the less obvious ones where you can't identify a common practice. We don't attempt to translate Eid (feast or festival), but we always talk about Chinese New Year. There's no rhyme or reason, is there? And whatever you do here, someone will be sure to tell you they disagree, I think the only solution is not to worry about it.
In general, names are not translated, with few exceptions. This rule doesn't apply if there is an official translated name (e.g. Saints, important historical figures, characters from tales, and so on), in which case use it (Goran12).
Don't translate movie titles, book titles, or any art piece titles. Keep it like it is but between quotes (" ") and possibly add a (literal) translation between parenthesis. This rule doesn't apply if there is an official translated title, in which case use it; and
That's self explanatory I believe. I agree with Luscinda, it really depends on the translator. In my opinion, where there is an 'official'(common) translated name you may use it, if not leave it as is and put a literal translation and/or explanation in brackets or quotes, if need be. Some widely "popular" holidays seem to be translated in many languages, such as "Christmas", but others are left alone. This applies to all sorts of names, think of El nino, La chupacabra, "The Enterprise", "Lambada", "Ramadan", and ... DESSAMATOR . :)
Many thanks. Ok, so we don't translate names but putting an explanation/translation between parenthesis is permissible. When there is an official translation I like to keep the original and include the official between parenthesis. Only one problem on Immersion it's not one translator. So, let's see how the crowd responds. Then there's always "walk away" but I'll give it one try first.
And never, ever, ever repeatedly put a translation in brackets after a title every time it appears in a text. Sheer lunacy but there are people here who attempt it! Once and once only.
It is not entirely their fault. The system is missing a lot of features to make translation consistent. They also have no "training" in basic translations practices. Though I still agree with you, some people are just missing a couple of screws.
Yup. That's why I'm taking your advice and "walking away." If I had a dime for everytime I copy-pasted the "Newbie", "Immersion" and other sites, or gave half a dozen references only to have it replaced by gibberish.
You scared me for a minute there but I don't think I've done that. That must make a charming sight. Thanks for letting me know.
That's why we have a style guide :), just as each publishing house probably has their unique style guides. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if some months or years from now some other users come up with their own style guides that may contradict the majority of the guidelines in this one.
Perhaps some additions or edits I guess but the foundations are sturdy so I don't see them crumbling. And have you asked how those usurpers got to where they did without the guides.
About this rule for when to click Looks Wrong: "If one does not know 'how to correct the sentence' but is certain the sentence is incorrect."
It doesn't seem fair that the previous translator A gets a downvote only because the later translator B is unable to do better. If B had more skill, they would just edit the sentence, and A wouldn't get the downvote.
For that case, I think it's better for B to post something in the article's discussion, and also something on A's stream, alerting A to the discussion.
Well, the general rule advises B to edit, unless it is unavoidable. That would mean the user considered IRA1, which overules most other rules. Discussions are always the best way to resolve any problem, including the idea of downvoting without editing.
Besides, the downvotes don't really have much of an impact nowadays, so it doesn't seem as such a big problem.
Ok, I see. I have been assuming that IRA1 applies to "Resolving conflicts", although I see that it is actually a separate section.
How about making a clearer link between IRA1 and that "Looks Wrong" guideline.
Suggestion: "If one does not know how to correct the sentence but is certain the sentence is incorrect, and one has already followed IRA1."
A reasonable suggestion, added.
P.S. I presume you're reviewing the wikia version, since this sentence seems to come from there.
Edit: Some users and I were actually contemplating the idea of removing the downvoting guidelines from ICG, since the penalty is not as severe as it used to be. So this change may be unnecessary in the long run.
I think a reasonable guideline for "looks wrong" would be to use it whenever an edit makes the translation materially worse. Not for trivial or debatable changes, but ones that genuinely make it worse. You should always follow a down vote with a revert or an edit. (And a comment would be nice.)
For an original translation (not an edit) I think downvote should be reserved for things that look like they either came from Duobot or from someone who really didn't understand the language at all. In the first case, you should also report the person for abuse, but, since you can only do that once per person, you should down vote every bot translation.
As you say, the recent changes have made down votes very weak, and that suggests people should stop being shy about using them.
If down votes really were broadly used, I could imagine a rule that said not to revert something unless it already had at least one down vote. That is, even if you think it's wrong, just vote it down--don't revert it--unless you're not the first person to think this. At present, though, down vote doesn't get used enough to make that viable.
I agree with what you are saying about trivial or debatable changes- and then when you say you should down vote every bot translation - that does not make sense when sometimes it is the right translation. There are just no other ways to say the thing :) Unless, I do not get what you are saying here. I read the Spanish words and look for the best way to order them, but sometimes it is what the bot suggests that I go with. Help me understand this please. The bot cannot always be wrong. I also like it very much when a down vote comes with an explanation. I am here to learn Spanish and whatever help you can give me when you down vote something I have put up, I am in favor of getting. I would also love to see more use of the discussion tabs on the articles as a learning tool.
By a "bot translation" I mean a translation so crazy that it had to have come from a bot. If the bot really did give a satisfactory translation, I'd vote it up myself. :-) But that is not the way to bet.
I definitely wish that Duo did more with the UI to make it usable for learning and teaching. Rather than merely voting someone down, I ought to be able to earn "teaching points" for explaining the error and getting an up vote from the person I was correcting. People are proud of their level as translators (more, I think, than their XP level) but, if we had it, I think the most prestigious would be a high teacher level.
thanks for explaining this - and I like the idea of teaching points or some kind of reward for those that take the time to explain the corrections.
While this seems like a reasonable guideline it could result in a down-vote/ edit war, especially when users disagree on what constitutes a "wrong" translation, such as in a thread like this.
Also what you suggest seems a lot like the guideline:
- If there is a completely wrong translation with no link to the original sentence (for example, someone translates the number "1" into "a monkey dances");
The only change required would be to modify the "completely wrong" to something else, I guess.
Well, I do think it's clear that the down vote guideline needs some sort of change to make the down vote meaningful again. People who want to fight wars will do so with whatever tools they have at hand--this won't increase the odds of that. (Lack of a way to comment when reverting a change is probably the biggest cause of edit wars.)
Right, I was using the wikia version.
I don't think you should remove downvoting guidelines, since people will wonder what the button is for. I think several thoughtful people have reported that prior to reading the guidelines, they assumed they should click on Looks Wrong before editing.
I agree with BM in the 'anything that can go wrong will go wrong sense'. It a part of the Immersion system so some guidance should be included.
Btw love your new photo B. Good looking and makes a statement.
Well, in truth it is out of my hands, I'm merely the contributor of the wiki page. People can just go there and delete those if they wish to, since it is a wiki after all.
I'm still trying to think of a way to have a version that doesn't change. So it could serve as a reference point if people start making unnecessary edits.
Anyway, the guidelines are not endorsed by Duolingo, so perhaps that is the way Duolingo wants them to act. Downvote then edit, or upvote then edit, or downvote with no edit. We simply have no way of knowing.
IRA means Immersion Red Alert 1 (it is a heading)
1.Try starting a constructive discussion by posting on their stream or start a thread, and politely explain your perspective; and/or
It is a situation where all methods to resolve a translation problem haven't helped, and there may be a problem resolving it with someone.
P.S. I'm surprised and glad that people can still find this thread after all this time. :)
About whether downvotes don't don't have much impact nowadays.
Say A has tried to translate several long sentences in a difficult article, and B thinks several of them are partially wrong but doesn't know how to fix them. So B posts something on A's stream describing each problem, but A has already done their best with the sentences, and doesn't know how to make them any better. Should B then go ahead and click Looks Wrong for all the sentences?
Does clicking Looks Wrong eventually lead to any improvement in the overall translation?
Well, clicking looks wrong doesn't lead to an immediate improvement, but may indicate to other editors that several sentences look wrong. Those editors could in turn improve the sentence. Anyway, some users couldn't bother reading an immersion discussion, or wouldn't care about any other edits to their sentences.
But yes, I do agree that users shouldn't go on an down-voting rampage, and should attempt to discuss something if a particular user has a problematic sentence which the editor doesn't know how to improve on.
I just thought of another way to help resolve translation misunderstandings:
Red Alert (when all else fails)
- Choose a mediator - If the conflict has escalated, then a mediator* could be chosen.
The mediator* must:
- Not be involved in the translation
- Be competent in both languages;
- Have experience translating;
- Evaluate the translations and references and choose the best alternative. Or request a vote on the appropriate translation; and
- Require that both parties abide by the mediator's decision.
Your ideas get better all the time. Of course agreeing on a mediator will be the sticky part. And all parties must agree to abide by the mediator's decision.
That is the tricky thing, the best mediators would probably be the moderators/staff. But they are probably too busy. Perhaps then, the document uploader can serve as the mediator. Since the authority of the document relies with them. Unless the uploader is also involved.
The uploader's authority stems from the fact that they can at any point in time remove the article, and end the debate forcibly. Another person could be one of the discussion helpers. People like sitesurfer, and such inspire a lot of confidence since they have helped a lot of people, and have a certain degree of their trust and respect.
The issue here is not at all clear to me. Is the aim of translating to produce a document that DuoLingo can then sell for profit? Or is it for the benefit of those who are trying to do the translation? It seems that the awareness of differences is itself a benefit to those who are learning, and the resolution of those difference is not a primary goal. Language is not only a social phenomenon, but it is a very individual one--a tool we use for thinking. Trying to decide which modes of thought are better is something like trying to decide whether Faulkner or Hemingway is a better writer. Give it up. We need to find a way of agreeing to disagree and get on with the task at hand. Let's let alternative translations stand as alternatives without the need for dispute. How can we do that?
The aim is both, to produce documents that can be sold, and it is also for the benefit for those who are trying to learn. As for letting alternatives stand, they already do stand. That's why there is a whole list of revisions.
The dispute happens because only one sentence can be used as the default translation. The only way this could be resolved is either for the staff to create a button or feature that indicates that a sentence is an alternative, or for users to agree that one sentence can be an alternative without being wrong.
This makes sense, but it seems more like a feature request for Duolingo, rather than a guideline.
Well, it seems that your idea is supported by the community, as such I'll add it. I just need to figure a nice way to write it under the "use of immersion discussion".
Use of the immersion discussion This can be used to sort out translation disagreements, discuss issues that relate to the text such as idioms, consistency, translation style and so on. Make sure to add a link to the original article in immersion.
@BarbaraMorris, I've run into this difficulty. I find it odd that DL hasn't already seen to this detail. +1
Well, I didn't do it alone though. The comments in this thread are proof of it.
Posting this comment to group issues I encounter while translating, particularly issues that could do with guidelines.
Guidelines for punctuation
Does one 'translate' the punctuation? E.g. commas are located differently in German.
Should one insert punctuation where some should have been in the original text? E.g. ["Habt das Essen versäumt, und ich" er stockte in der Rede] - Interrupted speech is often indicated with a dash in English, "and I-"
This is a simple issue, you don't translate word for word or punctuation by punctuation, you translate it in the most natural way. So if it will make the sentence unnatural/incorrect when you put a punctuation then don't put it. See ICC1.
I see, it also applies, you put the punctuation where it fits better. If a dash will make the sentence sound better then so be it. When you translate think of the whole sentence, not a part of it.
- London looked like the moon's capital - empty, and extinct;
- Londres parecia a capital da lua, estava vazia, e extincta.
But what do you propose for that guideline, something like this?:
- When dealing with punctuations read the whole sentence and put it where it fits better, not necessarily where it is in the original text.
@Druckles -Yes, it is ambiguous on purpose, punctuation rules vary from language to language. I've read that at least Mandarin Chinese doesn't or did not even have any punctuations at all!
I also read that in German, for example, there are strict rules about where you put the punctuation ("comma"). Also many people (including myself) use punctuations such as the "comma" incorrectly, so the original author could have made a mistake anyway.
- Follow the rules of the language you are translating to when dealing with punctuations. Consider the whole sentence before putting it. When in doubt avoid placing punctuations and rewrite the sentence to exclude it.
P.S. Don't worry about being wrong. You should suggest whatever you feel may help. Others will hopefully provide suggestions to improve it.
I think that's too ambiguous to be of help here. Punctuation can be highly subjective. Unfortunately I don't have enough experience translating articles to suggest an alternative.
Can one change the voice from passive to active or vice versa while translating? Are there situations where this is acceptable?
Hmm,I think the rule for verb tense would apply here:
- Try to use the original "Passive/active voice" in the translated document if the translation is natural in the target language, if not follow General guideline 1;
Lets see what others say.
A passive is translated with a passive, an active with an active even when this is unnatural in the receptor language or results in wrong sense. ... As Beekman and Callow point out, translators sometimes translate voice automatically, not respecting the linguistic peculiarities of the source and target language, which subsequently results in the creation of clumsy, unnatural texts. This approach has been mostly rejected in the field of the translation theory; it has been generally agreed that the translation process should not be a mechanic transformation of the text from one language into another but a fully conscious and a well-thought-out process. (http://is.muni.cz/th/64873/ff_m/diplomka_final_version.pdf)
Are there different styles for writing recipes in different languages? What are these?
E.g. while many English recipes omit pronouns [Place in the oven], do German articles usually use them? Is it unusual if they don't? Should they be left in if it does?
Ulala, you ask difficult questions, I don't know about German so I can only speak about the two languages I speak fluently, Portuguese and English.
The writing style in a recipe is different from "formal" written texts, as such abbreviations, and omitting pronoun, as well as other "nonsense", is completely acceptable in those two languages. I suspect that it is probably the same in other Romance languages. So here I would say it is up to the translator, to judge what fits better in the target language and generally write informally.
Funny you should mention it. Yes, there is a particular style or tone for English recipes. It is brief, omitting any implied words, uses umperative, does not use spaces or pronouns in lists. E.g. 1cup sugar 1cup butter etc (these would of course be listed vertically) . Beat butter and sugar until light. No, 'place in bowl' etc unless required.
OMG Where has this been? Bookmarked it and plan to pass it on. Many thanks. And since I got an inch let me go for the mile: are there any other guidelines we should know about and how do we find them.
Yeah, and why in the world doesn't DL have their own official version of this posted or taught when you start "immersion"?? This is a valiant effort, but this really should be more system wide. Another concept missing is how to deal with differences between regions of the target language: i.e. British vs American punctuation & spelling (vs. Australian, Irish, NZ, etc.). In this case the translated version shouldn't switch back and forth (nor version to version -- except if it's to make it consistent). It's also difficult to assume that translators, who usually edit only a handful of lines in an article, can follow all the spelling/grammar rules different from their own. For instance, I try to follow US rules with commas and quotes and spell color without a "u" and would have a hard time switching to an alternative. Sometimes it is even difficult to ignore the differences as they just look incorrect rather than just being regional.
I don't think this is high priority for duolingo, that's why I guess. Also I think it is useful for the community to self moderate instead of relying on "Big Brother". In any event, regarding regional differences, I propose this:
- Regional Guidelines: For each document the first translator should indicate (in the title post) which variation of the language they intend to use (e.g. US English vs British English), and follow the formatting (Date, spelling, and so on) and rules of that system.
@SeatleSoxFan Yes, indeed. Why no official guidelines? And of course all the regional differences neec care. But the worst are those literal translations which range from funny to painful. I'll continue to do my best but it is really frustrating sometImes. I'm hopeful that all the recent attention might bring about some positive changes.
Article title : The first letter must always be capitalized; and
In-text : Follow the capitalization rules in the target language, and be consistent if there are special exceptions.
The way I learned to capitalize titles (way back when) is: capitalize the first word, of course, then all nouns. Articles, conjunctions, pronouns and prepositions don't get capitalized.
Yes, the site that druckles listed also included some other guidelines:
- Must be capitalised: 6.1. nouns, verbs, adverbs, pronouns, adjectives and interjections; 6.2. an article, conjunction or adposition which follows colon (:), semicolon (;) or dash (—). 6.3. English and non-English abbreviations which are upper case normally (a few common only): B.C. (Before Christ), A.D. (Anno Domini), Ph.D. (Philosophiae Doctor), R.I.P. (requiescat in pace).
Should I also include all the above?
Another problem is that these rules only apply to romance languages I presume. Languages such as Russian, Chinese, and so on may have their own rules. So I'd prefer if we could keep the guideline general so it can apply to all cases, and maybe add a small note for English.
What do you think?
I've been wishing for something like this. Would it be possible to post a link to these guidelines on the main page for the immersion?
Only if you/somebody can convince either KristineMC (our community manager) or Luis( Duolingo Ceo) to add it.
I couldn't agree more about following some of Wikipedia's basic rules (specially, when translating Wikipedia articles). I've been weeks reverting things to a neutral translation (in this case https://www.duolingo.com/translation/a5007140263cad023f19f4af5c3f4daa$index=1 that means keeping the original title or showing all Spanish translations) and just seem worthless if people don't think about it and stop making those changes.
I also think that some of the translations though may be interesting and useful to translate, are quite unnecessary. I mean, for instance, if there's a good article written in English about "William Shakespeare" why should I translate it from Turkish? (just wondering). In my opinion, translating Wikipedia articles from language A should be focused as a way to enlarge and complete Wikipedia B, C, D... and therefore we should try not to duplicate articles and using Wikipedia rules.
Or we all are going to need this some day http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Staying_cool_when_the_editing_gets_hot
I do understand your concern, and such a guideline already exists in the ICG. But the fact of the matter is that in the same way that new students need to re-learn and practice shakespeare in a school setting, new Duolingo users also need the practice material.
P.S. I did use Wikipedia's guidelines as a template for some of the guidelines here.
I have the same feeling about re-translating perfectly good articles written in English about English subjects. It seems counter-productive and may even encourage copy-and-paste translation.
Thanks for the links to Wikipedia editing tips. I fear that we may need them already.
Perhaps an open Google Document might be appropriate for this? While Duolingo's discussions serve well as q&as, they're not great for this sort of thing. That way people could add ideas as they please and discuss things in a more informal environment.
You already have people letting useless/cluttered comments and downvoting all the messages, if you do a google doc, they'll come and erase all... And Duo will not be able to undo it and to take adapted actions.
There's a version history in Docs. Edit-access could always be restricted.
I think that won't work. The best we can do, is try to suggest google-docs features for addition into the immersion area. What happens, for example, if google-docs is offline? Who is going to maintain the google-docs?
I'm thinking of adding these for avoiding/resolving conflicts in translation(Edit-Wars) :
- Approach (the whole situation) with caution (anomalocaris); and
- Always provide comments or references for concepts not easy to understand.
- Refrain from making unnecessary edits (fueling the Edit-War);
- Review all comments;
- Research the topic thoroughly;
- Up-vote the translation you find best after following steps 1-3; and
- Provide an alternate translation only if you feel all existing translations are wrong (after following the above steps) , and always try to provide references(e.g. links).
These are just my views on the guidelines, and may change if the community disagrees with these points.
If you wish to comment, indicate which ones you agree/disagree with, and provide your reasoning.
Run with it you've done a top rate job. There is something I've been doing all the time recently: when I revert (and my name comes up as translator) I always #1. name the originator #2. Give reasons for preferring it (without putting down the others) and #3 Sometimes send note on originator's Stream to have him/her go back and get the credit.
So I'm thinking of adding these Guidelines for commenting [Coding rubric] to the unofficial Immersion Community guidelines (http://www.duolingo.com/comment/984423):
Always try to provide a comment; If more than one rule applies, use [CR-1,2,3], as shown below;
[Spe] - Spelling mistake in the text;
[Gram] [*rule]- Grammar mistake in the text, [rule];
[Impr] - Improving the text making it more natural;
[Word] - Word[s] translated incorrectly;
[Punct] - Punctuation error;
[Idiom] - An incorrectly translated idiom;
[Lit] - Literal translation;
[Tense] - Use of incorrect tense ;
[Unif] - Change made to maintain consistency;
[Reg] - Language Register error correcting language ; and
[CR(numbers)] - This is for many errors, e.g. (CR 1,2 refers to spelling, and grammar.
Sentence: "I to eat grapes"; Comment: [punct] A full stop is missing; Comment: [CR1,2]: place verb in correct position spelling;
Hmm. I don't think it should be required (or even suggested as a guideline) to add a comment for self-explanatory things like spelling and punctuation, or even things that are relatively straightforward like word or number.
But aside from that, I think that if some people started using these codifications, it could be intimidating, especially newcomers.
So, I'm sorry to say this after your hard work developing this code, but I think the whole idea of codification should be scrapped.
I agree that it might be overkill to add rubrics for spellings or punctuation. But I think you underestimate newcomers. Digital natives use loads of rubrics every single day, especially the young ones with all their texting. Some of the things they say or try to say, I hardly understand. IRL, IKR, rofl, tldr, and so on...
So I think it may help to make them consistent. I personally prefer it, it makes it easier than having to explain it over and over again. For example, one person gave me an excellent feedback, regarding consistency and my wrong translation of a word, something which could be summarized with 3 words in the coding rubric.
In any case, I believe few people even know these guidelines exist, fewer people follow them, so it is just a suggested practice. If it picks up good, if not, well it is there for reference.
@ dessamator re: RUBRICS I've just reread your list of rubrics and am amazed at how clear and self-explanatory they are. At first it looked complex and difficult to learn and I reacted negatively. I think they would go far to expediate translations and advance general English knowledge. Of course the idea won't be accepted overnight but I would definitely appreciate such a swift uniform means of editing. Perhaps introducing the rubrics slowly starting with the easier ones would facilitate acceptance.
Agreed, I think it would be far easier to gradually instill them in users by first removing the writing the whole word inside the square brackets, and then gradually reducing it to a 3 or 5 letter rubric. Or alternatively, use both. The main one serves as a shorthand, and the full one as the default one to use. For example:
- [spelling] instead of [spel]
- [grammar] instead of [gram]
- [punctuation] rather than [Punct]
OMG Were you looking over my shoulder. Yes, your 3 introductory rubrics are just what I would have chosen. I've just realized that I use exactly those 3 plus others when correcting compositions. Rather than make the changes my students do it themselves which is so beneficial. Another common error we encounted was WO [word order].
Excellent, perhaps you can use your students as guinea pigs. Just document the results and then publish them.
Also I really think people misunderstood it originally. I meant it as a shortcut.
e.g.: Sentence: " I now that"
Rather than: " I know that" - Comment: "corrected spelling, it is "know" not "now"";
I would say: " I know that" -Comment: "[spelling]"; or comment: "[spelling]" : know
It is well tested. I came up with the idea years ago when I rrealized how often I was making the same correction and the kids ( and adults too ) repeated them again and again. When they got used to making the corrections themselves I began to see an improvement across the board. I am also diligent re follow ups. How weird that I didn't recognize the similarities between your proposal and my composition methods. BTW my "hints" took a while to be accepted. Some of my colleagues still don't "get it".
I thinking of changing target voice guideline to this(as per Olimo's advice) :
> Target voice: > > * the main thing is to preserve the meaning.
I think it makes sense, and the research article I pasted above supports her statement.
I don't see the article you're referring to, but my general instinct is to trust Olimo's advice. I do feel that this guideline is easier to understand for novice translators, but I'm curious what the reasoning is behind the proposed change?
Well, I asked Olimo in a thread , http://www.duolingo.com/comment/1194950, and that was her advice. Also I think like you said for novices it will make it easier, trying to keep something in active or passive rather than keeping the meaning is a waste of energy better spent on other more productive activities.
The article I spoke about is this one: (http://is.muni.cz/th/64873/ff_m/diplomka_final_version.pdf)
Any advice on capitalisation in articles? If the source article has full capitalisation? Or in titles?
You always seem to find things that are not in the list, from what I've seen or read, capitalization varies from language to language. In German for example, nouns must always be capitalized, in French names of languages must not be capitalized. In Portuguese and English, proper nouns must be capitalized, there are exceptions obviously, but this really depends on the target language.
The author of an article also has artistic "freedom" and can capitalize just about anything, depending on the writing style or emphasis.
To sum up, it depends, my advice is to follow the rules of the target language, or if it is a certain artistic choice, follow the style used by the original author.
There must be some kind of standard for titles in English. It is hard to tell the capitalisation of German articles because all the nouns are capitalised anyway.
Do other articles on Duolingo follow a standard?
Example of one standard: http://alasir.com/motley/title_capitalisation/.
Hmm, I like that standard, especially this part : " The final suggestion: whatever style you follow, be consistent." Anyway, is it really a widespread problem?
If it is I can add it to the guidelines, but like I said, it is language dependent, and would boil down to me putting something like :
- Follow the capitalization rules in the target language, or follow the capitalization rules in the original document.
Although this may not apply to Mandarin, do those characters even have capitalization?
To answer your question, the immersion articles don't follow any standard, they just do whatever they wish. Those who know better follow the rules in that link you posted. I actually recall that someone once corrected the title I translated and followed those rules, i.e. capitalize all nouns, and the first letter.
All articles will have a title. It therefore seems like a reasonable problem to address.
Agreed, although capitalization applies to the whole document, not only to the title, making this an important guideline, I'll suggest a guideline for capitalization, and hopefully others will improve it.
I had an article earlier about Spanish Grammar, and I am not sure what one does in that case. It was about the use of articles, and then contained examples and mentions the articles by name.
For example, given the following: "R. El que determina y fija la significacion de las palabras, de modo que no pueden confundirse con otras de la misma especie, v. g. trae el sombrero, dáme la capa."
Is it correct to translate it as "....others of the same type. For example, "trae el sombrero, d'ame la capa.""
If it is an article about Spanish grammar written in Spanish, you have to end up with an article about Spanish grammar, but translated into English. Thus, you should keep all the examples in Spanish, and, depending on the intended audience, add a translation into English in parenthesis.
In fact, translation of grammar articles and books should start from the assessment of whether such a translation is really necessary. For example, if it is a grammar book written for native Spanish speakers, why do you need to translate it into English at all? I don't mean it couldn't be helpful for advanced Spanish learners, but at that level they should know Spanish well enough to be able to read the original. A book for beginner or intermediate Spanish learners, on the other hand, is usually written in their native language rather than in Spanish and should be composed in such a way as to address the common problems specific to their native language, e.g. a Spanish grammar for English speakers should consider common difficulties that native English speakers experience with Spanish. It is usually no good to translate this book to French or Russian or German, because the problems of native French, Russian or German speakers are different.
For Wikipedia articles about grammar, I believe it is better to write a new article. You can refer to those written in other languages, but rather not directly translate them.
It would help if you posted the article, it is kind of hard to picture the problem. So your issue is that you are attempting to turn a document that was written in a single language, into a multi-language document in order to preserve the original meaning?
I think we shall really need a new guideline for this. I would suggest you translate all the explanations and leave the examples intact. I really can't say much until I see the article.
d'oh, here is the article in question:
Looks like a chapter from a grammar book for Spanish-speaking children. As I said in my earlier comment, there is no practical need to directly translate it into English, so all the effort of translation is just for practice and it does not really matter how you translate.
I see three scenarios:
Take this book as a reference and write a similar book for English-speaking children. You'll have to write some parts of it completely differently because English and Spanish grammars are not the same.
Take this book as a basis for writing a Spanish grammar book for English speakers. In this case, direct translation also won't work and you'll have to add explanations of new concepts such as masculine and feminine nouns and articles.
Translate the book directly but keep the examples in Spanish with translation in parenthesis. It is fine for practice, but the usefulness of the resulting text is questionable: in fact, from reading this book an English speaker will get an idea of how grammar is taught to Spanish children. It won't be a good book to teach Spanish as a second language and also won't be a good book to teach just grammar theory.
The first two scenarios are obviously impossible on Duolingo where other users are always ready edit a less-than-literate translation and downvote you. The third scenario will also have problems of pointless corrections, but you can just ignore them if your goal is only practice.
Well, I am just wondering what I should do here on Duolingo. Obviously I am only translating the immersion documents for fun. I just was not sure what to do in this case - leave examples in Spanish? Leave examples in Spanish and append English translations in brackets? Completely alter the document to be about English articles?
I'm not sure it's the kind of thing that can be translated into English, but hey, I didn't upload it :)
I'd say just choose the scenario you like the most and have fun ;-) Even if your translations are later edited by others, what do you care? You've had your part of fun, let others have theirs, too. Just an opinion.
I think olimo said it best, although I would be against completely altering the document to English, it is meant to teach people about Spanish, not about English.
Also, I think you missed the immersion discussion there, you should actually discuss it with other people who work on the document. I'm sure others would benefit and are also interested in your solution to it.
Edit: I think that is guideline (IRA1).
I added the following sentences to the immersion conduct section:
- The instructions on resolving conflicts (which may not occur at all in some articles) are only here for the worst case scenario, and are not meant to discourage revision of other users' translations.
- "Don't use edits to fight with other editors – disagreements should be resolved through discussion" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Edit_warring).
I was also planning to remove all references to "Edit-wars" and leave only the word "disagreements".
I think "disagreements" is more "politically correct, "but "edit-war" is a sign of modern times. (Did we use "edit-war" before the advent of Wikipedia?) However, I will admit
disagreements should be resolved through discussion
does sound better than "edit-wars should be resolved through discussion."
You wrote that two years ago, so I imagine you already made your decision, but just thought I'd add my two cents FWIW. I'm sure the decision you made was a good one.
One more guideline:
Questions or doubts about a translation?
- Ask the question on the immersion discussion, the general discussion, post it on the stream of a native speaker you've befriended.
The Discussion thread now found on each Immersion is an excellent method of explaining corrections and general grammar/style issues. I tried it for the first time about two weeks ago and until today have opened my email with trepidation expecting to get a few "revision' notices. Happily, there was not one revision, there were four up votes and one down vote. I'm very pleased to be able to explain my edits and hope it becomes common practice. Of course it would be a lot easier if there were line numbers but I expect there will be in time.
It is not always appropriate, I can show you an article(1) where this was a problem. This is a poem or text by someone, and it must follow a specific translation and consistency, I even put the source document in the first post, yet people kept translating it incorrectly despite my recommendation. Reenversa is translated as "upset" by the original author, yet people still want to do their own strange translations.
In the articles I mentioned it was necessary to give explanations about the tone or style of the entire article. I included reference sites and the Immersion Guidelines. While there were no replies there were also no revisions which had occurred repeatedly on the same articles before. Oh, and I'm happy to report that the down vote was from an old translation and it was a petty issue.
It will be interesting though, to see how the users use the downvotes. So far, my two downvotes were justified, I made mistakes when I translated a sentence. Not big ones but obvious ones.
Does that really warrant downvoting you as a translator? (Which is what downvoting seems to imply).
@ druckles, beats me. They aren't blatantly incorrect, but they are not really correct either:
Original: We come together from across the world at varying language levels with the same goal in mind - to learn.
Translation: Nós viemos juntos de todo o mundo em diferentes níveis de linguagem com o mesmo objetivo em mente - para aprender.
OG: Be respectful of others and where they’re coming from.
Tr: Seja respeitoso com os outros e da sua origem. Correct: Seja respeitoso com os outros e de onde eles vieram.
I don't know if you understand portuguese or not. It is my native language, I know it well enough to identify the mistakes myself. I think I just didn't proofread it at the time.
I had actually submitted duolingo's guidelines, just as a test :).
Rules on Oxford/Serial/Harvard commas? Personally, I like them because they leave less room for ambiguity, but either way, a standard would be nice.
I wasn't sure what those meant, so I googled it. Anyway, I believe the use of commas belongs to a style guide, not a general guide like this one. It may become too big, and won't make sense in the diverse languages of duolingo which may have other rules.
Edit: According to wikipedia, there are those who are against the use of it:
The Times style manual  Avoid the so-called Oxford comma; say "he ate bread, butter and jam" rather than "he ate bread, butter, and jam". The Economist Style Guide Do not put a comma before and at the end of a sequence of items unless one of the items includes another and.
P.S. You can use (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Manual_of_Style) or the http://publications.europa.eu/code/en/en-6000000.htm. Just refer to it.
The rules suggest adding comments to certain edits...but I can't figure out how to do this. One person sent me a screen shot of their session showing the option to add a comment...but I never see anything like that on my computer.
I think it would be useful to be able to leave a comment with both "original" and "translation" displayed side-by-side, as this is how I seem to find myself working mostly.
Perhaps I'm missing something, but I can't really see the sense in having to shut down the "translation" and then navigate to the part of the original I want to edit, then do so and leave a comment, and then re-open the translation. With the "translation" open, I can edit, but not leave a comment. I wonder why DL haven't provided full-functionality when editing with both "original" and "translation" displayed.
Is there a reason?
I usually open another window so I can have both views open at the same time, one on the Original tab for actually translating, and one on the Translation tab for looking at the whole translation, when I want to see how a word/phrase has been translated for other sentences.
Sometimes I even have it open in a third window so I can have the Original view open twice - it's hard to read the translation history for a sentence in the Translation tab - every time I move my mouse or try to arrow down, it goes away.
But I completely agree that it would be great to have the full functionality of the Original tab available in the Translation tab. I'd also like to have to explicitly close the "Show more" window so it wouldn't be so hard to see it all. Keeping 2 or 3 windows open is ok, but I have to continually remember to refresh the extra windows since other people might be translating the same article at the same time.
That is the best advice I've seen in a long time. It bypasses all the opening and closing Immersion to go to Discussion etc. And being able to see what was translated above to be consistent is very convenient. Brilliant. Many thanks.
That's a good idea, thanks. I'll try it.
I have far too many tabs open in various groups as it is, so I don't think a couple of extra DL ones will matter too much!
Nevertheless, hopefully at some point they'll get round to standardising the edit functionality.
I love the opportunity to post comments on the actual translation page in Immersion but agree with Gedh. The maneuvers involved are unnecessarily complex. We could also do with some line codes to avoid: "Second paragraph, third line, beginning..."
@ Gedh Go to BarbaraMorris's post for a really good way to avoid all the hassle.
Use of the immersion discussion *:
- This can be used to sort out translation disagreements, discuss issues that relate to the text such as idioms, consistency, translation style and so on.
Any thoughts on adding this?
For anyone who has created one of these guides, I've backed mine up on Google drive (by editing my post, using that mode to copy the text with the formatting marks, and then pasting it into a google docs new document.) I was thinking about the glitches today and decided to back up these many hours of work. Wanted to bring it up in case you wanted to do the same with yours.
Dankie boet. I've already backed it up a long time ago. I actually had a PDF of it, somewhere. Besides, it is also backed up to the immersion, although those are outdated copies of it, they still contain the bulk of the guide info.
I've thought of it before, but spaced it until Seth_H mentioned it. I'm not surprised that you're already on it!
Dessamator, you've addressed Down votes in the guidelines, but I didn't see anything about upvotes and giving credit to prior translators. I've just posted a suggestion that, if the community agrees, you might consider as a possible future addition to the guidelines. It can be found at
Actually I think there is a statement regarding upvotes and reverting to previous correct translations. But I'm not sure. I'm going to reread the Guidelines for another issue I have so I'll get back with references - or lack thereof. In any case yours is a constructive idea.
Yes, I only addressed downvotes because there was a need to be consistent in the downvotes. For upvotes though, since there is/was no negative effect from doing that, I left it at the discretion of the users. Anyway, we'll see what the community says about that.
The art of the up vote is important because there are a lot of unskilled people moving up the Tiers and then influencing people in all of the Tiers from their own down. However, I have a feeling that up votes won't bring a feeling of high priority. Someone can go through the entire document without giving a single down vote and still get the purse at the end for checking the entire thing. But anytime there is non-passive interaction with the article (save for the discussion area), it includes an up vote either for oneself or someone else.
@Usagiboy7 From a post to Dessamator. But I owe it to you. "Hi, I've just had a relook at the ICG which I told Usagiboy I knew well when he suggested I look sth up there. Well, (apologizes to "U7") I found a lot that either I'd forgotten or which has been recently added. And the format seems easier to access."
Again many thanks for steering me in the right direction and to steal a quote from the ICG: "Always be open to the idea that you might be wrong." Should write that on my monitor in Magic Marker. Many thanks for your help and patience.
Well, the issue is of the blind leading the blind. Would people trust a first year medical student to operate on them?
If so, then they are very brave. In my opinion, for translation, the only way to be proficient is to reach a certain level of proficiency, and undergo considerable training in the source language. While Duolingo offers considerable 'training', it is far too little to become a confident translator. So no matter what I put in the 'upvote' guidelines, it will have little effect because of the lack of knowledge of the average immersion user.
I think anyone should be allowed to translate, but you should have to reach a certain level to be allowed to revise.
Hi, I've just had a relook at the ICG which I told Usagiboy I knew well when he suggested I look sth up there. Well, (apologizes to "U7") I found a lot that either I'd forgotten or which has been recently added. And the format seems easier to access. Thumbs up.
The query was whether when we are presented with fragments on Immersion:e.g. "Henri Strand (b 15..." do we translate only that or add it to the next bit with the month etc.
And all those links. I've got my work cut out for me. Many thanks.
Well, you can only translate the highlighted fragments, translating parts as if they are whole will promote inconsistencies (and probably downvotes) in translation, I believe.
Thank you. Well, I do the fragments but s/one comes back and does the whole sentence. I just walked away. No edit wars for me. Shame though that there is nothing official I can show.
Well, there is an official rule on that, IRA1, translators are meant to discuss such things, and come to an understanding about how to resolve it best.
@Dessamato But it Takes two to tango, as a very old song says. Or to have an edit war. Ευχαριστώ! let's get used to the Greek it's coming. And of course it means thank you.
It seems to me that the fragmentation is an artifact of Duo's limitations; they are not part of the original text. If the idea is to translate the original text, then the end result should not be affected by the way that Duo happens to fragment it. So, when I come to fragments, I first string together all the fragments on a note pad, then translate the entire sentence, and, finally, figure out some way to distribute the translated sentence among the fragments provided by Duo. Actually, I believe that this should also be done on a larger scale. Sometimes the best translation depends on what is going on before and/or after this particular sentence. For example, whether the German sentence "Sie ist alt" means "It is old" or "She is old" depends on what "Sie" refers to (e.g. "The sun is old" versus "The women is old.")...and one may need to look outside of this sentence to determine that. On a more subtle level, there may be several different ways to arrange the clauses in the translation of a longer sentence. Different orders emphasize different parts of the sentence. And the appropriate emphasis may well depend on what is happening in other sentences around the sentence that is being translated.
I just re-read the guidelines, there is a very small line about upvotes, although it only applies to correct sentences. I can see your thread has a couple of supporters, so it seems like a good idea to add it. Although the addition will be rather small.
Users may also up-vote correct sentences or phrases that require negligible (slight) changes, and improve incorrect sentences by editing them.
I'm sorry but do you mean if something has e.g. a typo we can upvote it. Then do we edit thereby getting credit?
Jaye16, that's currently the way it works in reality, even if it's not written anywhere (until now). The original translator will get your one upvote, and then you can get up to three upvotes, assuming no one makes any more changes.
Yes, for example, a small space, or perhaps a comma, a full stop, or maybe just changing a word to a synonym which expresses it more clearly. Those are negligible changes, in my opinion. It is up to a user to discern whether a prior translation was good enough to warrant a 'looks good' vote before altering it.
But anyway, I put it clearly there, "users MAY also". So it is more like a piece of information and not a rule/guideline.
Dessamator, thank you. My suggestion is indeed for very minor changes only.
If this is something I should know and have forgotten chalk it up to Major Mental Block. For the titles of films, tv programs, books etc. do we give the original with the English in parenthesis or do we translate the title. I know the titles of the books on my shelf are in the language the book is in be it original or translated. Any references?
Its in the guidelines.
- Don't translate movie titles, book titles, or any art piece titles. Keep it like it is but between quotes (" ") and possibly add a (literal) translation between parenthesis. This rule doesn't apply if there is an official translated title, in which case use it;
As I said major block. Thanks to both pals for coming to the rescue. And honestly I have read the Guidelines.
I would think so.
See Kassandra8286's reply starting with the words: "My guide is: How is the film/TV/program/book best known to the [...]"
I did that with some Brazilian songs and was told off. I don't think I can be bothered to change them all back.
My guide is: How is the film/TV/program/book best known to the English-speaking audience? Many of the Spanish Immersion articles are about U.S./British artists or their works. To me it doesn't make sense to not translate those titles into English. If it is an article about a Spanish/Latin American artist or work, I don't translate the titles, unless the title is more well-known to English audiences by its English title. For example: Shakira has released several Spanish language-only albums, and several in both Spanish English. In a recent article about her, we did not translate the former, but did translate the latter.
P.S. If it's a Wikipedia article, and there is a corresponding English article, I check it see what they use as the protocol.
Yes, that's about how I do it. Actually, I find myself translating a lot especially if I've found the official title-which I reference. Then there's also my thought that we are worldwide so what is common knowledge in one location may by "all Greek" in other places. I may be nit picking but I feel a little more is better than not enough. Thanks for your advice it get it all straight.
I usually leave titles in their original language and offer a translation in parenthesis.
I'm visual/pictoral. So, deciphering a lot of text on a page is difficult for me to absorb as well. :)
Thanks it's good to know there's a word/or two for it and also I'm in good company.
A lot of the new translators never see this topic so have no idea about the community guidelines. There should be a way to ensure that before delving into immersion for the very first time, they see these guidelines. After the most recent change in Duolingo, I've been seeing so many articles going completely against them.
In fine Duolingo form, feel free to share the link with the people you are following, and post them in the Article's "Discuss" option. In addition, some people are putting a link to this in the comment's section every time they edit, saying "Read this before editing my translation." I've heard good things about that approach. ^_^
Yes, and I also often go to their Activity stream because I'm afraid the "Discuss" option is not in optimum use, yet. Or write in the edit option "Please, see discuss."
Good, doing both is a good idea. A lot of people aren't using the Discuss option because they think other people aren't. It's a self-feeding cycle T^T
I wonder if it would help if the Discussion on each article was automatically set to "Following" for everyone who touches an article.
And I wonder if there's some way to make the Discussion section more "in your face" for newcomers to the article, especially if there's already something posted there.
But I think it's silly if people are avoiding posting in the discussion just because it might not be seen by anybody. What could possibly be the harm in posting something anyway?
The irony is that auto-following was actually suggested by one of Duolingo's developers, and either the developer's idea was not well received, or is/was low priority, so it is not implemented. My guess is that people already complain a lot about the barrage of emails they receive from Duolingo, so this may be one more annoyance they may want to deactivate.
I like your idea of making it more visible for newcomers. The only possible harm I can think of is spam.
P.S. I just noticed today, that the person who uploads the article automatically follows the discussion.
You're right also some don't even seem to notice it. Btw will there be an addition to the Guidelines re each of us being responsible for our revisions and of course reaping both "looks good" and "looks wrong" votes?
I have added it to the Immersion Navigation Guide Wikia. I still need to make some revisions before I make an announcement that it´s up. But, here is a drafty http://duolingo.wikia.com/wiki/Immersion_Navigation_Guide_%28Unofficial%29
Well, I presume you are referring to reverting. I don't think we really understand how it works well enough to add a guideline. Besides, that would not really be a guideline, it would be more like information, and adding that may have an adverse effect because people may not want to revert to better translations for fear of downvotes.
At least that is what occurred when someone presumed that these guidelines were designed because there were so many edit-wars, and ended up being "terrified".
Replying to GregHullender (that reply chain is long so I'm replying here):
Well, I do think it's clear that the down vote guideline needs some sort of change to make the down vote meaningful again. People who want to fight wars will do so with whatever tools they have at hand--this won't increase the odds of that. (Lack of a way to comment when reverting a change is probably the biggest cause of edit wars.)
Yes, I do agree that downvotes need to be meaningful, but the guidelines themselves also need to stand on their own and focus on the long term. This is because Duolingo is consistently changing immersion and this may prove to be a problem, especially when people reference guidelines that may no longer apply. For instance, the downvote was changed to -1 from -10, and even if it once again changes to -20, it would not affect the current guidelines at all.
I also agree with you that they will fight with whatever tools they have, and that's why the guidelines need to be very clear.
That said, if a new guideline can be suggested in such a way that it doesn't go into conflict with the existing ones, and the community agrees with it, then I'll gladly add it.
What sort of community response are you looking for? I've seen a couple of ideas reach this point of "if the community agrees" and then just die. Are you expecting people to lobby for their ideas in the discussion section? Otherwise no one will know to even look down here.
Well, I unintentionally ended up being a gatekeeper for the guidelines and it ends up being my decision because nobody else cares enough to maintain them, even though they've been added to a wikia.
To answer your question, for small meaningful changes they can post here, or make a new thread (like the user tfagan did) in the discussion area indicating that they want something to be added, and lobbying for support.
If it gets enough up-votes or comments agreeing on a new guideline then I add it. Given that most people don't know the guidelines, "enough" tends to be more than 2 upvotes. The exception is when someone points an oversight/error, much like BarbaraMorris did. In that case I'll make the change even if nobody else makes any comments.
The ideas that just "die" do so because nobody else seems to comment.
I realize that all you've said is true and I'm feeling rather guilty. Before the guidelines were completed I was rather loquacious since then I have depended on them in so many situations that I never noted any need for change. IOW you've given us a great tool. If however, there is anything else I should have reviewed I apologize for neglecting it. It's so easy to "let Sam do it" (US colloquialism) that we tend to become slothful.
Now, please give us (yes plural) a cue as to when we should take note and review something. Maybe a "Have a look at this" headline type note.
Even now that the "looks wrong" has been modified I'm still reluctant to use it preferring: editing, or going to Discuss or directly to Activity boards. Oh, or 'walk away' I do not enter edit wars. Been there done that.
Keep up the good work and I'll try to give at least a vote if not a suggestion.
Ok, I'm back. I've just realized the thread is way too long and having to hack through redundant or obsolete posts is rather off putting. The policy of not keeping chronological order adds to the confusion. Yes, I know it's to keep replies with the original post but it's still confusing. I've found Barbara Morris' posts and agree wholeheartedly.
Maybe the garden needs a bit of weeding. Or other streams for specific items.
Reply to Dessamator's post starting "Yes, this thread has gotten huge".
I vote for starting a companion thread. If you post a comment advertising the new thread, anyone who is following this discussion will see it and can follow the new one. I would also put a link back to this thread from the new thread.
Yes, this thread has gotten huge. I wonder if it really would benefit from weeding or if a new companion thread should be created. Then again I presume it will easily be lost and buried again.
Another alternative would be to ask the moderators to delete all posts here. The issue with that is that some people may be annoyed that their perfectly good contributions have been deleted.
Well, I don't really blame anyone. Co-operating on something like this is particularly complex, especially when it is not easily visible, and in the case of this thread only I can change the opening post.
Even if people decided to start making changes to the wikia version, it may end up resulting in a disagreement/edit-war. So I don't really know how that would work out.
Anyway, my solution for now is polls like this, http://duolingo.wikia.com/wiki/User_blog:Dessamator/Immersion_Poll_on_adding_new_Immersion_Downvoting_Guidelines.
From now on I think I'll use that.
I voted no because I think "whenever" and "worse" are much too strong.
How about this:
Downvote a change before reverting or editing if all the following are true:
the change is worse than the previous translation
you are sure that it is not just your opinion that it is worse
you think the change was done carelessly
the change was made without an accompanying comment
the change ignored a comment made by an earlier translator.
Dessamator, I know you think that the effect of downvotes is minimal now, and that we should use them more, but I don't agree. It may be minimal in how it affects someone's tier, but we can't really know the effect of downvotes on someone's psyche. So I think that downvotes should be used solely against people who are translating carelessly, to try to prevent them from reaching the next tier where they can do more damage.
A downvote followed by an edit or a revert is purely punishment. There is no way that it could possibly make the translation better. So it should be reserved for people whose behaviour deserves punishment.
I know you're not blaming anyone. I'm blaming myself. I've looked at the poll but have some issues with the wording:
>Should the guideline: "Downvote whenever a change makes a translation worse and revert or edit" be added?
Sorry but I don't understand it. Imagine I'm looking at a badly translated sentence. You say: "Downvote whenever a change..." but what change. My proposed change? Could you mean: "..whenever a change could/might make it worse."? I'm lost.
My point was that the word "change" caused confusion. Why can't it be that the original translation was awful. I'm putting myself in the place of a new user. I agree with Luscinda especially surely one just fixes it. And I agree with Barbara Morris but cannot understand why we are always talking about changes.
The new poll refers to down voting "edits". Why not plain ole "bad translation" whether edited, changed, reverted or the original?
jaye: Perhaps you misunderstand the intent. So I'll try explaining it again. If for example:
- Translator A writes : It was a very attractive person. (Correct);
- Translator B edits : It was a very ugly personnel. (wrong)
- Translator C : Downvotes B, and reverts to A or changes to an appropriate translation.
The idea is that if the translation is already good enough, one shouldn't change it to a bad translation. Doing so shows a clear lack of understanding. If one doesn't understand the sentence clearly, it is better to use the article discussion or consult the previous translator rather than make it worse.
BarbaraMorris, it is true that we don't know the effect it has on user's psyche, but it is also true that we don't know the effect that an edit/reversion either. It could actually be worse than a downvote, which is not that different from the wrong mark a student would get in a high school setting.
Besides, even after their experiments (in which downvotes were removed), Duolingo seems to have concluded that having the downvotes is more beneficial than not having it.
That said, I think we can squeeze in some of those criteria for the downvote guidelines.
@Jaye, when someone has taken a perfectly good translation and turned it into a blatantly bad one, I think. Though I would say only in that circumstance, not whenever something is made worse - sometimes there are legitimate misunderstandings where someone doesn't know/understand the material, in which case surely one just fixes it.
Yes, I didn't spend much time thinking of how to word it. Then again I'm not really sure if that's what GregHullender meant. So to be safe I'll add a second poll using better wording.
@Luscinda, yes I generally agree with your view, that's why I was reluctant to change it because people may disagree about what makes a translation worse, or may not understand a sentence properly.
P.S. I added a new poll to make it clearer.
@Barbara if the comment was wrong I usually don't comment on it because I don't want to be drawn into one of those awful pompous arguments that sometimes seem to arise. That's not a reason to downvote a translation. I only leave comments if I think people will genuinely be unlikely to have the relevant information, otherwise it sounds condescending to explain what people presumably already knew when they mistyped something. I wish people would stop leaving those awful comments. Along with the very misguided and inaccurate comments where they have misunderstood. I wish people would get better at checking facts rather than leaving comments!
I do agree with you absolutely about wanton use of downvotes to slap down those who either made a simple error or who dared to disagree. I still reserve it for the more objectionable behaviours like spamming articles or filling them with blatant bad copy/pastes. I want to be able to use it for replacing good text with gibberish but that's a bad idea at the moment, because it backfires on the person with the good text.
@Dessamator, I think you're missing a crucial point here. If B has 'shared credit' with A, then A also gets the downvote you deal to B. I don't feel that this is acceptable but I believe it's what happens under the current system. So whatever you put in your guidelines, I shall not be doing that, nor shall I have much patience with others doing it.
@Dessamator, I think you're missing a crucial point here. If B has 'shared credit' with A, then A also gets the downvote you deal to B. I don't feel that this is acceptable but I believe it's what happens under the current system. So whatever you put in your guidelines, I shall not be doing that, nor shall I have much patience with others doing it.
Luscinda, I'm not sure where you got that share credit information from, but it is not true according to mstreeter.
It's unfair to present two almost equal wordings in the poll. The anti-people will vote no against both. The pro people will split their votes among the two questions. You should delete the second question, since it was added after the polling began.
I'm getting that information from personal experience! I've been on the receiving end with someone feeling aggrieved that they've been downvoted for reverting to my text, when we were both affected by it and the same thing happening when I reverted to someone else's better text - both of us were affected. Either way, someone who hadn't made the change was adversely affected. And that was fairly recent, about a month back (I've just checked the date). So whether they have reacted to complaints or are unaware of how they've set the system up, I couldn't say. The only way to find out will be to do a test.
GregHullender: Good point. Done!
Though, I don't think that will make much difference since very few people will see this post.
As far as I'm aware people get downvoted for reverting to prior versions, not for sharing credit. Based on mstreeter's comment I think you should probably add a post to the troubleshooting section, if your experience is different.
I'm with jaye one this one. I didn't vote because I wasn't sure what I was voting for (plus, it is two years later so nobody probably really cares about my vote here). Nevertheless, I suggest breaking it down Barney style by adding a couple of screenshots with some text boxes and arrows to clear things up, especially for those who are new to Immersion. Otherwise, I think a couple of trends might develop:
People who think they understand it will apply the instructions incorrectly, and
Those who don't understand may be just confused enough that they stop downvoting altogether.
Sadly, those who might stop downvoting altogether are likely to be the more conscientious of these two types of Immersion users.
I like your idea, jaye16. In fact, it got me to thinking that it would be useful if somehow translation errors could be categorized and then tabulated by type so that when certain errors passed a certain threshold, a mass message would automatically pop up for those who enter into Immersion. Something like, "We've seen a lot of reports about Verb Tense. If you are unfamiliar with the guidelines on Verb Tense, please review them." The message could contain a link that would take the user directly to that section of the guideline.
It wouldn't always have to be a report with a cautionary message either. I'm sure crunching of the numbers could identify positive trends as well and corresponding messages of good will and encouragement could be the message a user then sees when entering into Immersion.
I don't want to jump the gun, but so far it seems that users who voted seem to disagree with adding that guideline.
I spoke to a few people, and they told me it won't let them vote, saying they need a "Wikia id."
I was able to vote and do not have a Wikia id.
In general, I'm opposed to "down voting", especially if there is no explanation given. As they did with Barbara M, the words "whenever" and "worse" gave me pause.
I have been lucky (so far) and have received only one down vote. It was unclear to me why I received the downvote. So, what was the point, if I don't learn anything from it?
For me, the only time that I will be likely to down vote is if a translation is clearly wilfully incorrect. Otherwise, I will simply edit it without down voting.
I just tested it out on another poll a few moments ago . It works perfectly even without a wikia ID. Maybe they were attempting to do something else.
Hello. I tried voting on the Downvote guideline poll and the New thread poll, and my votes didn't register. Needing to have a wikia ID was just a guess on my part, but no specific message came up. Maybe it's something to do with my browser or settings?
At this point, I'm just asking for curiosity's sake.
If users are security conscious they should probably use two different browsers, one for important things, and the other for General browsing.
So whatever the problem is, it is on the user's computer, not wikia.
As others have pointed out, this thread has become so big that it is hard to follow the discussions anymore. So I've thought of some ways to improve it. Feel free to vote here:
Also if the community believes it is better to create a new thread, I could ask the moderators to lock down this thread. That would mean no further changes can be made here, either by me or anyone else and only the Wikia ICG Guidelines would be updated.
P.S. Another thing I just thought of is what is going to stop the same thing happening to the new discussion?
I'm not sure under which section that'll fall. Also these resources are to translate things externally not internally.
Hi, I'm new to this. I just tried my first translation, and was just bumbling along, and then I found this.
This is very discouraging. I thought the idea was to get practice translating in order to become more familiar with the language one is studying, which to me meant trying to be pretty literal, as in the tree exercises (I thought that would be more useful for other learners, instead of trying to figure out how one got that translation from the original...) But now it seems much emphasis is put on producing a perfect, professional-level English product! Which means focusing more on English than on the language one is learning. And that gets very complicated for those of us not professional writers or translators, what with style guides, etc.
I guess that is the result of trying to kill two very different birds with one stone...
What I find most beneficial about Immersion is learning from my own mistakes. Very often my efforts are edited and the result is much better than mine. So, I've added to my knowledge of both English and the original language. In addition it's a good feeling that my attempts were the foundation for a good translation.
Although I appreciate the effort that Dessamator and all the other commenters have put out, I'd like to simplify things a bit.
There are three essential parts of translation:
1) Understand the original text. Not a word-for-word literal rendering but the meaning that the writer intends to convey. This includes such things as the level of discourse (formal or colloquial or eccentric), the writer's attempts at humor or "high seriousness," the stylistic peculiarities of the writer (attempts to be simple and direct or complicated in discussion of what he/she thinks are complicated ideas). We don't have to agree with any of this, but we need to try to capture the "feel" of the original. This is the part that can be most meaningful to learners of a language; this is where we learn the "fine points" of the language, with the help of other translators more knowledgeable than we are, who can correct our attempts.
2) State that meaning in the target language (most often in our case, English) as clearly and accurately as possible, taking into account all the variables that contribute to the meaning and writing style of the original document. Again, we don't have to agree that his/her way is the best way of saying what he/she want to say, but we need to recognize that it is the writer's say, not ours. This part of the process is where we can learn more about our own language, again with the help of other translators who offer alternative phrasings.
3) Format the text according to some recognized standard. In our case, this is the least important part, because we have no idea who DL will offer the translation to. The only important thing is that the whole document is consistent. The editors will modify it according to their own requirements.
In the case of Duolingo's Immersion, there is a fourth part, called "crowd sourcing." Translation is a shared activity, dependent on all of those who contribute. No translation is one's own, and the votes of those who participate decide what the final result will be. We are doing something the computer can not do, and we are "teaching" it, and at the same time we are learning from one another. The only reason to insist on a specific translation is that one has concrete, specific knowledge, and that reason should be documented in a "comment" available to other translators to evaluate. They can, of course, ignore it; to paraphrase Barnum, idiots are born every minute. So what?
And that's all, folks! All the other stuff, the "upvotes," downvotes," "skill points (XP's)," "shared credits," etc. are irrelevant. DL has decided that competition is a motivator. Why should it be? We are presumably interested in learning language(s), and the only judges of how well we do that are the other people who use it, not the "level" we reach in DL. Be decent people. That will solve many "problems." How much more could we learn if we didn't spend our time trying to create "guidlines" and commenting on them?
Well I agree with most of your points, except for the last one. Upvotes and downvotes are a necessity when one doesn't know the expertise of a crowd. If we all provided our background and expertise and proved our proficiency then they would be unnecessary. But the fact is that the majority of people aren't really good at the language, and to gain consensus a voting system of some sort is necessary. How else would one discern which of the thousands of translations in a document are correct, or which are incredibly bad?
Right, of course. Looks like I got a bit carried away by my own rhetoric there at the end. This issue is the real crux of crowd sourcing, as Eco has long maintained. Some kind of "voting" is necessary, indeed, and even ignorant voters have as much weight as knowledgeable ones. The "incredibly bad" translations can be spotted easily--Eco again: "some idiot says Napolean was a racehorse"--but evaluating the others is not easy. A problem is that when votes are tallied, DL's system makes that into a personal rating, rather than a judgment about the translation itself. That aspect of the system is what I think is irrelevant, possibly even self-defeating. I can't suggest a better way, or I would. Your often-repeated plea for discussion is the best alternative I know of.
Yes, I understood your perspective of course. That being said, the Unofficial Immersion Community Guidelines are supposed to be organic and dynamic rather than static. They are supposed to be discussed, criticized, and changed when there is consensus. That is why they're in the wiki.
As for the Tier levels, I think it was meant to be a way to create trustworthy translators, and a sort of translator rank. But it ended up being something gamed due to lack of proper tools to evaluate the translator's proficiency. It also serves to motivate users to translate more, and I think Duolingo has done an excellent job of turning a boring and time consuming activity into something that is sometimes considered to be fun.
Vive les jeux (et le gibiere) ! Human nature is what it is. I applaud your efforts. It is good to get people thinking about such things. And that's fun, too.
There is no need to produce a perfect translation, that is why there are a crowd of users to help you out. Also these guidelines are very much unofficial, you may use them if it helps you or ignore them completely and still have a good immersion experience.
I agree that the guidelines here are a bit much--they borrow too much from Wikipedia. Anyway, I don't think anyone follows that part. However, it is true that most people in Immersion frown on overly literal translations. But once you have translated the meaning into English, there's no reason for you to keep polishing the English if you don't want to. After all, that's not going to teach you much about the language you're studying.
So someone said that my translation "looks wrong" and downvoted me because I didn't capitalize a word??? Really not cool!
I think these guidelines are great. My only complaint is about posting articles that may already have a translation. If the purpose is to learn, then what does it matter if it already has a translation? I guess some people could just copy and paste from the translation, but I have not found that people actually do this.
I completely agree with you. And it's not so much that people will copy from the existing translation. The problem is that their awareness of the translation influences their own translation. For instance, where a specific turn of phrase is used, it is known for people to show a preference for the existing translation rather than attempting an alternative.
In my view, all Immersion articles should be treated as practice rather than an attempt to translate as closely to an existing translation as possible.
But it seems that I'm in the minority in this thinking, particularly where edit wars have occurred because translators insists that the "existing translation says..." this or that.
I see nothing very wrong with consulting an existing translation. That, in fact, is what we do when we edit each others' work. Even if the translation has been published, that simply indicates that someone (who?) thought it worthy. Professional editors can err, just as the rest of us can, and some published works have been translated differently numerous times. The comparison of our own ideas with those of others is one of the important ways we learn. That should be our primary goal, not "matching" what someone else has done.
I understand and respect what you're saying but still disagree on the basis that we are deliberately learning (some from scratch) within Duo's ecosystem. Whereas complete or published translated works are usually done for a reason, e.g. providing those of a different language with something new to read.
Yes, we learn from each other in editing translation but the purpose, to my mind, is clearly to attempt to translate anew.
We don't disagree at all. If you edit my translation, then you owe me a comment to explain why yours is an improvement. If you simply copy someone else's version, even more you should explain why it is better. (If you don't, it could be considered plagiarism.) That it exists is not a sufficient reason to repeat it. The goal, I think, is to use the best version available, hopefully our own (which should always be the starting point).
The guideline doesn't really indicate that one should not do so. But that one should weigh the benefits of uploading a translated work against adding a new article that nobody is familiar with.
Like all other guidelines it is simply a suggestion.
I started learning spanish from English recently and I can't find the immersion tab anywhere What could be the problem?
There is currently a test group running that disables the feature for an amount of the user population. That could be why. Another possibility is an instructor may have disabled the feature if you are in a Duolingo "classroom".
As in many things, there are good reasons to support both sides of the decision to continue or terminate Immersion. As this stream indicates, there have been numerous difficulties in the way it has been implemented. Some people have misused it as a way to accumulate "points"; others have found it to provoke arguments (even "wars") over "right" or "wrong" translations; the issue of "up votes" and "down votes" has been a constant concern; the attempt to deal with such issues has promoted the informal organization of small isolated communities of translators who routinely edit each others work; several kinds of copyright issues have made downloading texts - and I suspect selling them by Duolingo - problematic.
On the positive side, Immersion has provided a way of encountering language as it is used in real life, unlike the sometimes contrived and awkward exercises designed to teach words and basic forms. It has also provided some access to the culture that produces the language, both in the texts themselves and in interactions with native users. In learning a language, these are hard things to give up.
I would be interested in how the Duolingo staff evaluates their A/B test. Sometimes their other metrics leave something to be desired. In any case, I applaud Dessamator for a worthy effort to make sense of this activity that is now called into question. And I appreciate the work of Usagiboy7 as a "general moderator" to keep the wheels turning. Whatever transpires, you two have "done good." Thanks.
Well, though I support immersion and think that it could possibly be salvaged. Ultimately it is not feasible, much like the incubator it would always require work to set it up for every single language pair, moderation for it is nigh impossible, and translations can always be contested (in theory at least).
I think a much simpler solution for immersion would be a similar facility that provides comprehension practice with questions, and a facility for reading long passages and listening practice. A good approach would be possibly to link it up with the Duolingo test center.
Thanks for your kind words.
Good ideas. I would not like to see it become a "test" in any sense, but a chance at exposure to common patterns of usage. Listening practice would be especially welcome. The aim should not be translation, but familiarity (i.e., "immersion") in the language to encourage thinking in it.
They are certainly thinking of removing it. Otherwise they wouldn't run an A/B test for it.
In fact, they've already removed it for everyone who is on the wrong side of the A/B test.
Apparently, the things being considered for removal include:
- "vocab" - "novocab" experiment
- "immersion" - "noimmersion" experiment
- "remove quiz"
Personally , I never got much out of immersion. My understanding, though, was that the resulting translations funded the site.
BarbaraMorris wrote: I bet a lot of people won't even notice Immersion being gone. As far as I know, they no longer offer an article to translate when a lesson is completed. So newer people would have had to notice the "Immersion" tab.
True. But according to Duolingo their stats show that there wasn't that much engagement in it anyway.
My understanding was that it is/was only the English -> Spanish translations (and maybe other English -> ?) that were paid for.
Yes. But this A/B test likely shows that they are probably no longer profiting from immersion. Otherwise they wouldn't deliberate deactivate it for some users. That's like shooting themselves on the leg.
That will also make this thread (the immersion community guidelines) and its related wiki page obsolete.