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Thread: Community Translation via Google Docs

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    Senior Member Grundle's Avatar
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    Default Community Translation via Google Docs

    I have used Google docs for a long time to do my translations. One thing I really like about it is the ability for multiple people to open a document, make changes, and make comments/suggestions.

    I had an idea that this community would benefit greatly if a particular novel was chosen and translators, who may not be interested in committing to an entire work, could pop in when they have free time to translate a few phrases, etc. Although the personal commitment would be low, if 5 or more people were doing this on a weekly basis I think that there would actually be some significant progress made.

    I wanted to post it on this forum to see if there is any enthusiasm behind the idea, or if it is too much of a hassle. I know that I would definitely feel happy to translate with the knowledge that others are helping out. The pressure to try and get a chapter a week/day by yourself can be overwhelming.

    Now discuss

    Translators Showing Interest:

    Grundle
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    dexter64
    Last edited by Grundle; 07-24-14 at 06:38 PM.
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  2. #2
    Senior Member szfong's Avatar
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    I think a system such as WordBee (http://www.wordbee.com) is more appropriate for such multiuser system. I believe a couple of years ago someone modified a Project Manage System for programmers to do translation. That way you have a responsible leader who can control access and rollbackward or forward anything that was done, such as the distributed revision control and source code management systems used by open source programmers.

    For single users, SDL Trados is the dominant software for translation...

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    I would join in for tang twin dragons. Are there any good free tools? I find google translate to be quite limited.

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    Senior Member Grundle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by szfong View Post
    I think a system such as WordBee (http://www.wordbee.com) is more appropriate for such multiuser system. I believe a couple of years ago someone modified a Project Manage System for programmers to do translation. That way you have a responsible leader who can control access and rollbackward or forward anything that was done, such as the distributed revision control and source code management systems used by open source programmers.

    For single users, SDL Trados is the dominant software for translation...
    Trados seems good, but I wouldn't pay money for it. I don't know how others translate but I use a rollover word dictionary and refer to machine translation. It isn't that efficient, but it's all I can do.

    wordbee looks expensive too. Most of us do this for fun, so paying for a new tool doesn't make sense.
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    Senior Member szfong's Avatar
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    Wordfast Anywhere is a free translation tool that has a good feature set that I played with a couple of years ago.

    Most of all it is free and web-based.

    I'm not really sure how far it has developed after half a decade.

    If you've got time, can you take a look at it. They are supposedly almost as popular/successful as SDL Trados.

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    Great idea, Grundle. If the original translators are willing and I like the novel, I would chip in. I've been doing GT/BT/Baidu for ST and Coiling Dragon anyway.

    I know that he-man welcomes other translators to jump in, but I didn't because I can't translate (mostly because the efforts needed were to great for me) the whole chapter accurately by myself.

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    What is the best translator tool; anyway? I find Google translation, barely understandable. Is there anything better?

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    Senior Member szfong's Avatar
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    The best translation tools professionals use are those that have so called memory files which keeps track of things such as names rather than translating them literally or specific phrases that the same author will constantly use. They can be more than 95 percent accurate after going through a few thousand words. Google Translate at one time use to allow for the creation and usage of memory files through a development kit but somehow they've lost interest.

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    Senior Member whiteskwirl's Avatar
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    The tool used isn't that important, Google Docs would work fine. The problem is multiple people working on the same chapter, possibly even the same passage? Seems like a train wreck waiting to happen. Everyone has different styles. What if I translate a phrase one way and someone else thinks it should be different so he changes it? You could have arguments spring up from that.

    Plus variable quality. Frankly, some translators are clearly not native English speakers based on the poor grammar and syntax of some of the translations. I'm talking basic subject-verb disagreement. Can you imagine reading a page where proper grammar and poor grammar is mixed up?

    That's why I wouldn't want anyone working with me on one of my projects. Any flaws or poor choices are all my own, and therefore are at least consistent.

    Why not instead pick a short novel and assign each translator a chapter, first setting and agreeing on some style choices, such as: do you translate 大哥 as big brother, or just leave it as Da-ge, or something else? Make sure everyone is using the same romanization system for names, such as Hanyu pinyin, just to keep things as consistent as possible. There will still be differences given everyone has different styles, but this way a whole novel can be completed quickly, and you wouldn't even need to worty about collaboration software, unless you just wanted to use it so everyone can see everyone else's progress.

    I recommend Huang Ying's novel 《風雲十七劍》, which is only eight chapters, published in one slim volume. It would be a good project to start out on anyway because it is short and with several translators could be completed quickly. Also it's an author who has not been translated before. The text can be found here: http://www.oldrain.com/wuxia/huangying/fysqj/index.html

    You coukd use Google Docs so everyone can write their chapters on there, so if any translator is behind schedule or suddenly says they're too busy to continue or whatever, someone else can then jump in and finish that person's chapter. Seems like that could work.

    Plus, by starting with a short novel, you get sooner gratification, the good feeling of completing the project, which could get momentum going for the next project and then the next, with the result that more wuxia is available for people to read.

    I would certainly contribute a chapter to such a project.

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    Senior Member Grundle's Avatar
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    Those are some valid points whiteskwirl, however I think that the community nature of the project would resolve many of your concerns. Those who may not necessarily be able to translate can chip in by editing the English of translated portions to make it flow better.

    I do think that there will be disagreements with terminology or naming, however this can be resolved rather quickly with some quick discussion using the commenting feature. I also want to mention that I don't expect this to be professional quality work. We are all crazy about wuxia, and there are many different levels of translators. If we wanted a pure and perfect translation, I don't think this is the way to achieve it, however to make a close approximation to the original available to a wider audience...that is the main goal, and this could be a means to that end.

    I am not sure I agree with assigning chapters out. I like the idea of doing two or three paragraphs per day. It takes me a long time to translate even one paragraph, so an entire chapter can be overwhelming. You would also run into bottlenecks where one translator would finish their chapter quickly and another would take months. Leaving it open and free would allow things to flow more naturally.

    Of course I am willing to listen to what others have to say. I think such a venture is worth exploring and I definitely agree with you that the tool doesn't matter. Google docs is good enough.
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    Senior Member whiteskwirl's Avatar
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    The bottlenek situation can be solved simply by having one Google document everyone works in. Just make chapter headers for each chapter. I do my chapter, you do yours. When I finish my chapter I can then go help you with yours. Overall this would be the quickest way to get the whole project done.

    Your way is fine too if everything goes to plan. But you'll have to make sure everyone is translating directly into Google Docs so that the rest of us can see it being updated in realtime so we will know what is being worked on. But you know how people don't follow rules, I;m just worries someone will translate in Word or some other program on their computer, then copy/paste into Google Docs only to find someone else has already translated the section they worked hours to complete. Such a waste. Or two people not paying attention will end up working on the same section at the same time, causing confusion. So it would need to be planned well.

    Two or three paragraphs per day seems slow to me. Most of the translators here are pretty quick, at least it seems that way as every update is fairly long. Whichever way you decide to run the project, the faster translators will inevitably be doing the most work anyway.

    To sum up, I think your method will work if it's managed well and all the translators are on the same page and communicating well.

    I still think the novel I suggested would be good to start on. If not that one, Liang Yusheng also has some short novels. The one I suggested is nice because it's mostly dialogue, which is generally easier and faster to translate than descriptive narrative.

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    I think there should be general rules for a consistent translation. I agree with Grundle about a paragraph or two for each person, of course one can always contribute the whole chapter if one likes. This way the contributions will be up to the individuals and the phase will be up to the whole community.

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    Senior Member whiteskwirl's Avatar
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    Grundle, you should go ahead and set the project up so we can get started. We can iron out the details as we go.

    Did you have a novel in mind to translate?

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    Why don't you translate The History of the Tang Dynasty Two Dragons, the novel is so long, i don't think it will ever be solo translated. If you don't like this novel how about Joy of Life ?

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    Senior Member Grundle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by whiteskwirl View Post
    Grundle, you should go ahead and set the project up so we can get started. We can iron out the details as we go.

    Did you have a novel in mind to translate?
    Yea, I'll set it up no problem.

    Honestly I have a bunch we could translate, however I'd like to find out what the majority of the other translators are enthusiastic about. I would prefer to work on something that is already in progress, so that we can sort of clear off some of the "in progress" works. No sense in starting yet another novel.

    Quote Originally Posted by Zlack View Post
    Why don't you translate The History of the Tang Dynasty Two Dragons, the novel is so long, i don't think it will ever be solo translated. If you don't like this novel how about Joy of Life ?
    I will say no to JOL. I am friends with Lanny and I know he is still actively working on it. If it has to be a Maoni work, I'd suggest Night Coming.
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    Senior Member whiteskwirl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grundle View Post
    Yea, I'll set it up no problem.

    Honestly I have a bunch we could translate, however I'd like to find out what the majority of the other translators are enthusiastic about. I would prefer to work on something that is already in progress, so that we can sort of clear off some of the "in progress" works. No sense in starting yet another novel.
    Oh, well in that case I guess I'll just stick to my Song of the Exile project. There's nothing in progress that interests me, except maybe Liang Yusheng's Wanderer Chronicles or whatever English name it was given. I can't remember if that was started or if it was just a chapter summary though. Huany Yi's work is way too long for me, I don't want to work on something that will take five years to finish. I have no interest in translating Gu Long unless maybe it was one of his novels from his early period.

    Is there anything else unfinished?

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    Senior Member Grundle's Avatar
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    Wanderer Chronicles is translated by Abhay up to chapter 8. That is a possibility, since it hasn't been touched since late 2013.
    The four constables by Wen Rui'an is also unfinished.

    Let me see if I can find some more stuff to your liking
    --=={Grundle}==--

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    Senior Member whiteskwirl's Avatar
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    Just wait and see what others say, no need to try to placate me. You need to get other translators on board as well. If it's just me, well I'm already working on a project, so if I'm just going to be doing another one solo then of course it would be one of my own choosing.

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    Senior Member he-man's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dexter64 View Post
    Great idea, Grundle. If the original translators are willing and I like the novel, I would chip in. I've been doing GT/BT/Baidu for ST and Coiling Dragon anyway.

    I know that he-man welcomes other translators to jump in, but I didn't because I can't translate (mostly because the efforts needed were to great for me) the whole chapter accurately by myself.
    Thank you for offering help with translating ST. In the beginning I was hoping someone would do the translation with me but now that I have translated 30% of the novel, I would prefer it if I can finish it off on my own. There are a few reasons for this: a/ Working with someone would make me feel pressured to translate faster whereas I've been translating this novel totally for fun. b/ I only go online a couple of hours/day so it would be hard for me to collaborate with other translators. c/ There is quite a lot of tweaking needed in translating ST in order for the translation to be logical and consistent because there are many minor mistakes in the original.

    But I think it is a great idea to have a group of translators working on a single novel on Google Docs if speed is the most important factor.
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    Senior Member Grundle's Avatar
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    Thanks for chiming in Heman. I never really considered you, deathblade, or foxs as taking part in this project since you guys are so consistent with your solo projects. I more envision this for translators that want to work on something from time to time, without the pressure of the entire work looming overhead. I know there are talented translators such as Jean, Hoju, Bliss, Abhay, and others (please forgive me if I didn't mention you) that might feel inclined to add a little here and there as time permits.
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