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From Andrus Adamchik <aadamc...@apache.org>
Subject Multilingual projects [Re: women@a.o mail list]
Date Sun, 30 Jul 2006 18:50:03 GMT

On Jul 28, 2006, at 4:03 PM, Gianugo Rabellino wrote:

> this might be a good chance to bring forward a pet peeve of mine:  
> there is more than just sex as an issue to address when it comes to  
> diversity. The first thing that comes to my mind is the language  
> barrier: while it's perfectly understandable that Apache has been  
> an english speaking community, this nevertheless means we're  
> somewhat leaving a lot of potential outside our fence. I for one  
> know a lot of people here in Italy who are either non or under  
> participating due to their poor (or perceived as such) knowledge of  
> English.

Same here. Spent lots of time in the past few years in Belarus (my  
native country) and Russia. There is lots of people who are doing or  
attempting to do open source development, but don't get too far  
because of the language barrier. Even registering a project on  
SourceForge turned to be a problem for some guys (who are otherwise  
extremely smart developers), let alone communication on the mailing  
lists with the English speaking community.

Another real-life example was Japan - it turned out that a number of  
big and small companies there used our product, but there was no  
participation or communication with anybody from Japan, so we likely  
missed on a lot of feedback and improvement ideas.


> Note: I don't have a solution handy, yet it might be interesting to  
> discuss the issue and see if we can do something about it.

I don't have a solution either, but the fact that a solution would  
bring so much more fresh talent to the open source world should  
encourage work in this direction. I can think of a few steps that can  
be taken:

* parallel native language mailing lists for the existing projects  
that have substantial non-English speaking communities.
* make it a matter of policy to accept incubator proposals for the  
projects in other languages (post this visibly on the Incubator web  
site, and translate it, to encourage people submitting such  
proposals). If and when we have such proposal, we'll be able to  
develop a better insight into what it takes to run multilingual  
community.

Of course there are problems with that as well. There have to be  
multilingual people on the PMC to serve as an alias between wider ASF  
community and the project community. All issues requiring a vote will  
have to be translated to all languages involved, etc.

Thoughts?

Andrus




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