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Fundraising 2011/Translation/Process

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This year we’d like to try out some new ideas with volunteer translations for the Fundraiser.

Some things we’d like to improve this year include:
  • Getting a lot more translators involved, including newbies, to help complete translations quickly – so we want to make it really easy for someone to sign up and find new work to do, make sure we’re recruiting as widely as possible, and trying to create process that scales well.
  • Making sure translations are proofread and checked for quality before they are published – so we want to try a process that asks more than 1 person to look at a translation before it is marked as done.

Translation team roles


Organizing volunteers into teams might be one way to scale participation, and increase speed and quality.

Language coordinator (LC)
The coordinator(s) facilitates the translation into a specific language. This includes:
  • recruiting and tracking more translators and quality checkers,
  • communicating to the translators when a new batch of source text is available for translation
  • making sure the translations are done on time
  • making sure the translations are quality checked
  • coordinators are welcome to help translate or quality check if they want to but they ideally aren’t doing all of this themselves
Translator (T)
The translators are the ones who translate the texts from English to their language. The aim is to have many translators available, at least for the big languages, in order to reach the goals for speedy translations and not to overburden individual translators.
Quality checker (QC)
The quality checker’s task is to check that:
  • the translation doesn’t have spelling errors
  • the translation has correct grammar
  • the translation is true to the spirit of the source text in a way that is most appropriate for the target language and locale(s)
  • the translation is idiomatic in the target language
  • and to mark translations as ready for publishing
Ideally we will have two or more quality checkers to review each translations, at least for high priority languages.
Project coordinator
The project coordinator’s task is to help make the project run smoothly by
  • doing outreach in different ways to find more volunteers
  • communicating goals for the project to the volunteers; this includes
  • overall strategy (e.g. always have separate quality check when possible)
  • milestones and deadlines for translations
  • helping coordinators, translators and quality checkers with issues that come up during the translation process
  • track translations to make sure they go through the process in the right way (be sure things are proofread before marked as ready), and get metrics regarding the speed of this and number of people involved in a particular translation

Translation statuses defined

  1. Missing = doesn’t exist, redlink = call to action is “create now”
  2. In progress = exists but not done = call to action is “help translate”
  3. Needs proofreading = done, but not QC’d = call to action is “help proofread”
  4. Ready = quality checked = done, PCs can publish
  5. Published = translation is live
  6. Needs updating = source has been changed = call to action is go back to status 2 and redo

A translation is considered quality checked when it has passed through status 3 on the way from 1 to 4.

New pages


Translation project page

Page components
  • form to signup that helps Project Coordinator gather user name, langauge, and email address into a database
  • list of people who have signed up, along with any role preference, sorted by language, and written by a bot from the database
  • call to action “choose language to start translating” followed by list of languages (sidebar?) that link to language template with all work available
  • ability to add a new language to the list
  • volunteer is brought to the Translation Project Page on meta, and is led to the form to signup
  • after they submit the form they are dropped back to the call to action to choose their language to find work
  • translators who don’t sign up can still do work, but we won’t be able to contact them with requests when more help is needed or new work is available later

To do

  • create new project page on meta
  • create signup form and hook it up to the page
  • create list of all languages w/ each language name linking to the new language hub page for that language
Template components
  • template acts as 1 page per language, showing all appeals/work to be done, with the status for each
  • instructions for how to translate and update status of a translation, including clear ask that teams move through statuses 1-4 for quality checking (this may be waived for very small languages where only 1 person can be found, but for most languages we want to find more people to help)
  • T finds work marked with status 1/2/6, does some translation, and when finished with an entire appeal marks as status 3
  • QC finds work marked with status 3, proofreads and makes changes, then marks as status 4
  • LC is checking on status regularly, asking T and QCs as needed to help out, and communicating with Project Coordinator about any issues

To do

  • finish language template
  • create page for each language in the old template
  • write instructions for translation and status changes
  • write up documentation for new template


  • Recruitment so far has been somewhat similar to other years.
    • Initial survey was posted to translators-l asking people if they were willing to be coordinators, translators and/or proofreaders, and what languages they are proficient in.
    • Project Coordinator contacted survey respondents individually to see if they are up for the task, and explaining some more what it is all about,
    • e-mailing individual contributors who have helped with translations in past fundraisers or board elections, or who have signed up for translation but not coordination
    • and posting messages on the village pumps of languages that don’t have LC’s yet
    • results: many hours work for the Production Coordinator, and most languages still have only 1 or 0 people signed up
  • A new attempt at scaled recruitment, planned for after the new project page and templates are ready, might make it easier to get more new translators involved:
    • LCs post on their VPs in their native languages to get more participants
    • Run banners with Central Notice

To do

  • Find out if banners can be run side-by-side with tests, for logged-in users only, to recruit translators, or if it is better/easier to do them separately
  • When new pages are ready, ask LCs to do their part in recruiting

  • Translation so far for the core messages has happened similar to other years
    • an email to the LCs via the fr-translations list was sent notifying them of new work to be done on the translation hub
    • result: a handful of languages are marked as done, but all were completed by just one person, without QC or proofreading
  • For the next attempt at getting many volunteers to come back and translate when there is new work:
    • Project Coordinator adds the new appeal to the language hub template,
    • emails the list of signed up volunteers (from the DB) with link to new work
    • Global Message bot also notifies translators on talk pages of new work (this way we can test if talk pages are more or less effective than emails)
    • translators arrive at language template looking for work

To do

  • move from fr translations list to CRM mailing system tied to signup form
  • setup Global Messages bot to post on talk pages when new work is added
  • So far we’re processing same as last year
    • PC copy/pastes translations to Foundation Wiki and marks as status 5 in template
  • Later on we might see if this can be automated by using the translate extension from Translatewiki deployed on Meta (or a dedicated wiki?)
  • or if we can externalize/automate it in some other way (bots/scrips). This can be done e.g. by prefixing strings with template names (e.g. have the “Donate by PayPal” string prefixed with , which tells a bot which string to place in what template on foundationwiki).

To do

  • explore automation possibilities

Project tracking
  • scripts takes info from the wiki pages/templates edit history and status markers and updates tracking (fallback is do manually)
  • PC cat metrics allow PC to see status of 1 appeal all languages (for reporting)

To do

  • set up automated scrips

Quality Checking
We’d like to try 3 complimentary methods to ensure quality for high priority languages
  1. Ensure translations move though status 3 on the way to publication and someone other than the original translator moves the translation to status 4
    • have clear instructions posted on language template
    • email coordinators the QC process suggestion and link to page with similar documentation, asking for feedback and their help recruiting more translators to serve as eyeballs (message is we can’t keep having one person do all the work alone and call it “done”...need to keep the WP spirit of having many people working together to make great translations just as many authors/gnomes make great articles)
  2. “Improve this Translation” link on landing pages
  3. Place Article Feedback Tool on translation text page with call to comment on talk page if more written feedback is needed, and ask coordinators to check the talk page for more info on bad ratings
    • Possible AFT buckets: Accurate (faithful to original), Well Written (idiomatic), Typo-Free, Complete

To do

  • Important: Test landing pages with “improve this translation” link to see if it has any negative impact on donations
  • Find out how to add AFT to the translations

Success metrics


How we’ll measure if the new ideas are successful:

1) Quantity
  • 3 major appeals and all core messages translated into all high- and mid-priority languages
2) Speed
  • High-priority languages complete within 1 week of being made available for translation
  • Mid-priority languages complete within 2 weeks of beeing made available for translation
(ource texts will probably be available mid October, late November, and mid December.
3) Quality
  • Quality check complete and signed off on all high-priority languages.