Grants:Project/Uniba - Dipartimento LELIA/Translatathon@Uniba: Developing Transversal Competences

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Beyond Translatathon@Uniba: Developing Transversal Competences via Wikipedia
summaryThe present project builds on a successful experience under the already existing line of projects labelled as "Teaching translation via Wikipedia". It aims both at enhancing the impact of Wikipedia-based translation activities at academic level and at providing an opportunity for specific research on such impact from the perspective of theoretical and applied Translation Studies. More specifically, it aims at tapping on the potential of Wikipedia as a stimulating environment for the achievement of a comprehensive translation competence, as described in the relevant literature, while investigating its largely unexplored potential for the development of a number of related sub-competences and transversal skills, as required of present-day higher education programmes.
targetItalian Wikipedia; Wikivoyage;
type of grantresearch
type of applicantorganization
grantee"Gatto Uniba"
contactDipartimento LELIA - Università di Bari••
this project needs...
created on12:51, 12 February 2020 (UTC)

Project idea[edit]

What is the problem you're trying to solve?[edit]

What problem are you trying to solve by doing this project? This problem should be small enough that you expect it to be completely or mostly resolved by the end of this project. Remember to review the tutorial for tips on how to answer this question.

In her recent article published in Translation Studies, Maria Calzada Perez explores the interplay between translation theory, approaches and methods in translator training and complexity theory. Among the pioneers in promoting Translation via Wikipedia projects, she argues that approaches and methods in the didactics of translation should move more and more towards post-positivist approaches based on the triad “autonomy, experience and expertise”, and need to be open to the challenges of ’emergentism’, i.e. the acknowledgment of ‘complexity’ in the learning process (Calzada Perez 2019). This new vision of translation teaching inevitably involves the problem of designing innovative teaching methods, where the traditional translation class is abandoned in favour of more complex activities based on “authentic projects”, which inevitably bring both teacher and learners virtually “at the edge of chaos”(Lewin 1993; Kiraly 2016; Calzada Perez 2019). It is against this background that this project aims to address the complex multilingual nature of Wikipedia both as a source and a working environment for real-life authentic translation tasks, and as a perfect place for the development of the translation competence along with a number key transversal competences, as required in higher education today (Biesta 2013; Martinez-Carrasco 2018).

The project builds on a previous successful experience, namely the Rapid Grant funded Translatathon@Uniba. On the basis of a comprehensive assessment of this experience, the new project aims at both tapping on its potential for further development, and at addressing its intrinsic limitations. The original project was basically a translation editathon focussed on the theme of "sustainable development" carried out with University students in our MA Programme in Specialized Translation at the University of Bari. If financially supported for a larger project, we would like to expand the experience of translation editathons to all the domains covered in our MA programme:

- sustainability discourse

- medical discourse

- tourism discourse

- economic discourse

Furthermore, the initial project was limited to the English/Italian language pair. We would like to extend this experience to other language pairs, by involving more colleagues. The wish to expand project, however, is where the limitations already faced in the first experience are eventually foregrounded, namely the need for training (both for students and for teaching staff) and the need to support the work of University teaching staff with dedicated staff for project-related activities, especially during the translatathon.

What is your solution?[edit]

For the problem you identified in the previous section, briefly describe your how you would like to address this problem. We recognize that there are many ways to solve a problem. We’d like to understand why you chose this particular solution, and why you think it is worth pursuing. Remember to review the tutorial for tips on how to answer this question.

Promoting Wikipedia-related translation activities in the academia requires specific training both for students and for teaching staff. In particular, the teaching staff needs to be introduced to both the theoretical issues raised by the implementation of Wikipedia-based translation activities and to the practice of editing Wikipedia pages. This need can be addressed by organizing specific workshops for trainers, under the "training for trainers" praxis, which is a form of life-learning quite popular in the academia at the moment. One or more Wikimedia volunteers, as well as University teaching staff or senior students already familiar with the Wikipedia ecosystem, will train new colleagues to prepare them for project-related activities. This can happen in the context of a dedicated event which can include talks by academic staff from other universities running similar projects so as to share good practices while debating theoretical issues.

As for the problems specifically related to the translation editahtons, as University teaching staff we have realised how hard it is to fit all the project-related activities into the tight schedule of our ordinary academic life. In particular, preparing the material, training and supervising the students during the editathon, revising translations both for accuracy and for compliance with Wikipedia standards, requires extra-time which is not easy to find. This problem could be solved by hiring dedicated staff. This is why our project includes a small budget for short-term project related teaching (i.e. supervision/revision) activities during the editathons. We assumed that this could be considered eligible for funding under "Funds for people’s time for short-term project activities that can't be completed by volunteers and does not involve content creation", as the hired staff would not be Wikimedia volunteers and are not meant to create content themselves.

Project goals[edit]

What are your goals for this project? Your goals should describe the top two or three benefits that will come out of your project. These should be benefits to the Wikimedia projects or Wikimedia communities. They should not be benefits to you individually. Remember to review the tutorial for tips on how to answer this question.

The practice of translation editathons builds on a convergence of interests bewteen the world of translation studies and the Wikipedia community. On the one hand Wikipedia is not only a source for challenging fascinating real-life translation tasks at the level of training, but is also recognized in professional practice as an essential resource for translators, who extensively use it as a reference for general documentation, a resource for specialized terminology, or as a source for parallel and comparable texts for the compilation of ad hoc corpora. On the other hand translation definitely seems to be key to the activities of the Wikipedia community, as testified by the very existence – to say the least - of the “Translate us” policy and of similar projects; of the “Wikitraduttori” category (for Italian); and of a dedicated content translation tool. With this in mind the project will certainly benefit the academia from the perspective of translation teaching, but is also meant to have an impact on the Wikipedia project as a whole in the following terms.

First of all we plan to work in synergy with exisiting Wikimedia projects. In particular, we plan to carry out translations of Wikipedia pages from English into Italian for medical discourse by contributing to the project Healthcare Translation Task Force. For this specific task we also plan to create interdisciplinary teams by involving students from other Departments, especially the Bari English Medical School. As for tourism discourse we expect our contribution to have an impact on Wikivoyage. We have noticed that the coverage of our region, Apulia or Puglia (in the South of Italy) needs to be enhanced in Wikivoyage, both in Italan and in English, and also in the other languages taught in our MA programme. We plan to map the actual coverage of Puglia in Wikivoyage and contribute to filling exisiting gaps.

Translations for sustainability and economics, the other two domains covered in our MA, will largely contribute to the multilingual nature of Wikipedia in more general terms as was the case with our previous project. In this case also, we plan to create multidisciplinary teams by involving students and collegues from other Departments.

As for the working languages, the project as a whole will remain based on the English/Italian language pair, but all the students will be invited to propose translations also from the second language they are fluent in (Spanish, German, French or Russian), under the supervision of the relevant teaching staff.

In more general terms we think that promoting a closer familiarity with the complex fascinating ecosystem of Wikipedia, and increasing the number of new editors through our activities, can intrinsicly benefit the Wikipedia project. And we would not underestimate the return in terms of image that comes from partnership with Univeristy activities, which – especilally in Italy - is growing at a very fast pace but still needs to be supported.

Project impact[edit]

How will you know if you have met your goals?[edit]

For each of your goals, we’d like you to answer the following questions:

  1. During your project, what will you do to achieve this goal? (These are your outputs.)
  2. Once your project is over, how will it continue to positively impact the Wikimedia community or projects? (These are your outcomes.)

For each of your answers, think about how you will capture this information. Will you capture it with a survey? With a story? Will you measure it with a number? Remember, if you plan to measure a number, you will need to set a numeric target in your proposal (e.g. 45 people, 10 articles, 100 scanned documents). Remember to review the tutorial for tips on how to answer this question.

Goal n.1 - The first goal is to expand the domains covered by our translatathon so as to include all the domains taught in our MA programme. In order to achieve this goal we plan to organize 4 editathons, one at the end each semester of our biennial MA programme:

Semester I: 1st year students TOURISM

Semester I: 2nd year students ECONOMY

Semester II: 1st year students SUSTAINABILITY

Semester II: 2nd year students MEDICINE

We aim to achieve the goal of nearly 40 students (20 for each year) editing/translating 80 articles (20 for each domain) for the English/Italian language pair. The number of participants potentially interested is much higher; the upper limit of 20 is determined by the workstations available in our computer lab.

Goal n.2 - The second goal is to expand the language pairs covered by our translatathon so as to include all the languages taught in our MA programme (English French German Spanish and Russian). In order to achieve this goal we will organize a 5th editathon with students willing to work on a language pair including Italian as a target language and a language other than English as a source language. For this second goal we set a lower limit of 20 articles in all, either in the same domains as in Goal n.1 or on topics chosen by the students themselves.

We assume that promoting Wikipedia editing activities in the form of translatathons at our University can be a first step towards a greater and more comprehensive involvement in "Wikipedia in Academia" projects, following the model of very interesting projects already running in Italy and elsewhere in Europe.

Do you have any goals around participation or content?[edit]

Are any of your goals related to increasing participation within the Wikimedia movement, or increasing/improving the content on Wikimedia projects? If so, we ask that you look through these three metrics, and include any that are relevant to your project. Please set a numeric target against the metrics, if applicable. Remember to review the tutorial for tips on how to answer this question.

We assume that all our goals are aimed at increasing participation within the Wikimedia movement and at increasing/improving the content of Wikimedia projects.

Goal n.1: we argue that our project may benefit the Wkimedia community as a whole by introducing both new editors and new content. The minimum target is 20 new articles for each domain (80 articles) and at least 40 new editors. In addition, as already mentioned, translations for specific domains are going to target exisiting Wikimedia projects.

Goal n.2: al the new editors are potentially going to translate also for language pairs involving languages other than English. We set a conservative estimate of 20 articles translated for language pairs other than Italian/English by our students, as much depends on the involvement of new colleagues in the project.

Our (minimum) target can be summarized as follows:

Number of new editors: 40

Number of new articles: 100

Project plan[edit]


Tell us how you'll carry out your project. What will you and other organizers spend your time doing? What will you have done at the end of your project? How will you follow-up with people that are involved with your project?

The project involves the organizaztion of 2 large events, 1 small training workshop and a series of 5 editathons. By the end of our project we hope we will have made significant progress in integrating Wikipedia-based translation teaching activities in our MA programme. This is going to give greater visibility to Wikipedia-based activities in general within our Department and pave the way to a larger involvement of colleagues willing to experience other forms of teaching that can be supported by (and support) Wikimedia projects. By means of the final conference we finally hope to promote a more comprehensive involvement of our University in "Wikipedia in Academia" projects in the long term.

1. LAUNCH EVENT We plan a conference to promote the event and explain the rationale behind our choice for the implementation of Teaching Translation with Wikipedia activities at our University. The conference will give us the possibility to reflect on the sinergy and convergence of interests between the Wikipedia community and the world of language studies in general and Transaltions Studies in particular.

2. TRAINING WORKSHOP We plan a workshop aimed at involving all the teaching staff for Language and Translation to familiarize them with the digital environment of Wikipedia (especially editing skills). While we do not expect everyone to be ready to edit Wikipedia pages at the end of this workshop, we think that it is of crucial importance to share this expertise so that everyone is aware of all aspects of the editathon. During the editathon, the teaching staff will be basically involved only in supervising the translation process from the point of view of accuracy and quality. All other aspects related to the Wikification of content will be carried out be dedicated staff hired for short-term project-related activities.

3. TRANSLATATHONS We plan to run 5 translation editathons, as stated in the goals described above. The staff involved will perform different tasks:

- choose and prepare the translation tasks (University teaching staff)

- supervise the translation process (University teaching staff + project-related dedicated staff)

- revise the translation product for language accuracy (University teaching staff)

- revise the translation product for content (peer review by fellow students from other departments + domain experts)

- revise the translation product for Wikimedia standard (expert Wikimedian + project-related dedicated staff with advanced editing skills)

4. CLOSING CONFERENCE At the end of the project we would like to host a conference to discuss the results of this experience and to envisage potential for further development. This conference will be a Univeristy-wide event, as we assume that in presenting the results of our experience we could pave the way for a larger involvement of our University in teaching with Wikipedia activities, beyond translatathons. In particular we aim to focus on the great contribution that Wikipedia activities can bring to the development of e-skills, soft-skills and, in more general terms, to the wider set of transversal competences that higher education is required to support today.

5. DISSEMINATION ACTIVITIES As already mentioned, while the project is apparently only focussed on teaching practice, it is in fact expected to provide food for thought in the research field of translation studies as a whole. In particular translatathons can be used to observe the development of translation competence (Gambier 2009; Toudic – Krause 2017) by the students when carrying out a real-world translation task, but it also offers an opportunity to observe the development of others sub-competences and skills, as well as of a number of transversal competences. Furthermore, translatathons are an experience in cooperative translation (Al-Shehari 2017), whose potential and limitations in a teaching context is also worth being studied. Finally the project is expected to provide invaluable insights into some specific aspects of translation and knowledge dissemination in the self-contained ecosystem of Wikipedia (Shuttleworth 2017; 2018) while offering a reproducible example of translation didactics inspired by complexity theory, constructivism and approaches to cooperative learning (Kilary 2016; Calzada Perez 2019). For this reason we are willing to share the methods, results and the research quesitons raised by this experience by taking part in confenrences of various kind and by publishing the results in specialized journals or in an edited collection/monograph.


How you will use the funds you are requesting? List bullet points for each expense. (You can create a table later if needed.) Don’t forget to include a total amount, and update this amount in the Probox at the top of your page too!

NOTE ON THE BUDGET. Most of the budget will be spent in conferences and dissemination activities whose aim is not only to promote the translatathons themselves, which provide the core of the project, but also to create a context in which ideas can be shared and research questions can be discussed. In fact, the project is basically meant as a research project in the didactics of translation, which aims at both offering an opportunity for teaching innovation and at promoting research on the intersection between the complex multilingual system of Wikipedia and the world of linguistics and translation studies. In drafting the budget, sums have been rounded up as in most cases the actual cost cannot be precisely indicated in advance. We assume to have indicated only eligible costs, but we are of course ready to adjust our budget on the basis of suggestions by the community.

1. LAUNCH EVENT: 2400 Euros

- Travel, meals and accommodation for speakers from other Universities: 2000 Euros

- Food for the launch event: 400 Euros


NOTE: The training workshop for teaching staff is expected to be carried out by one Wikimedia volunteer for free, with the support of local University teaching staff with proven editing skills. Nonetheless, we have included a budget for reimbursement of meals and travel expenses (if any) to the expert Wikimedian(s) who are going to provide the initial training.


Four contracts for short-term project related activities (to senior students, young researchers, part time teaching staff and/or domain experts), to help University reaching staff in supervising the translation process and revising the translation product: 3000 Euros

Food for 20-25 students during five translatathons : 1000 Euros


- Travel, meals and accommodation for speakers from other Universities: 2000 Euros

- Food for the closing university-wide conference: 1000 Euros

- Gadgets (if eligible) for the closing conference: 800 Euros

NOTE: This budget includes gadgets for the students. In particular we are considering buying water bottles to be customized with both our University logo and the WMF logo (if possible). We think that this could contribute to foster the feeling of the two communities joining forces for teaching innovation and progress in research.

5. DISSEMINATION: 4500 Euros

NOTE: The budget for dissemination activities is meant to support dissemination activities by the University teaching staff and by all the people involved in the project (including also students, senior students, young researchers and part-time teaching staff).

TOTAL: 15000 euros

Covid 19 Plan[edit]

Covid 19 Plan[edit]

Our project aims at fully integrating Wikipedia-based translation activities into our ordinary teaching activities. The basic assumption behind our project is that Wikipedia can play a major role in higher education as an instrument for the development of transversal competences, through translation activities, which include online cooperation, digital and soft skills, and abilities for cross-linguistic communication. Now that all teaching is moving online as part of the social distancing measures adopted in Italy and worldwide against the spread of Covid 19, the contribution of ‘teaching with Wikipedia” activities cannot be underestimated but, on the contrary, needs to be foregrounded. Indeed, while addessing issues pertaining to translation teaching in general, this project is particularly appropriate as part of project-work to be carried in the new context created by online teaching. Thus we see in the current challenge posed by the COVID 19 emergency not a reason for giving up, but rather a reason for going on.

Nonetheless we appreciate that we might have to give up some or all of the scheduled offline events which where at the core of our grant proposal. In particular we would reconsider the plan as follows:

1. LAUNCH EVENT In compliance with social distancing measures in our country and worldwide, this launch event which should ideally take place in the 1st semester (late October - mid Novembre 2020), can be replaced by an online conference.

2. TRAINING WORKSHOP. In compliance with social distancing measures in our country and worldwide, this training which was meant to follow the launch event (late November) can be replaced by online classes and tutorials.

3. TRANSLATATHONS In this project all the translatathon have been coinceved as an integral part of the teaching activities for the English Linguistics and Translations Studies module in our Master's Degree Programme in Speacialized Translation. Should the entire module move online for the a.y. 2020-2021, all the Wikipedia-related activities will move online accordingly.

4. CLOSING CONFERENCE We really hope that this closing conference, which should ideally take place at the end of the project (early Summer 2021 or October 2021), will be held in a world where the Covid 19 pandemia is over. In any case, should the need for social distancing measures persist, we would host an online conference to discuss the results of our experience.

5. DISSEMINATION ACTIVITIES We really hope that also dissemination activities can take place when the Covid-19 global pandemia is over. If this is not the case, we would opt for disseminaitons activities that can take place online (online conferences, panels, etc.) or for offline/online publications.

In light of the above our budget could be reduced so as to cut all expenses related to travel and accommodation for speakers, and other typical costs of offline events (e.g. meals, gadgets, etc.). We would nontheless keep a budget for lecture fees for academic speakers; contracts for short-term project related activities (to senior students, young researchers, part time teaching staff and/or domain experts); dissemination activities.

Community engagement[edit]

Community input and participation helps make projects successful. How will you let others in your community know about your project? Why are you targeting a specific audience? How will you engage the community you’re aiming to serve during your project?

As was the case with our previous project, all our activities will be promoted via the University website and via dedicated pages in social networks, as well as through a Wikipedia page fully devoted at charting the project's development while in progress.

Get involved[edit]


Please use this section to tell us more about who is working on this project. For each member of the team, please describe any project-related skills, experience, or other background you have that might help contribute to making this idea a success.

The project is organized as part of the teaching activities in a two-year Master’s Degree Programme in Specialized Translation at the University of Bari. The project leader is the Specialized Tanslation 1st year module convener, Prof. Maristella Gatto. Other University staff involved includes Prof. Gaetano Falco (Specialized Translation 2nd year) and dr Francesco Meledandri (ICT for Translation). We plan to host all the events at our University premises. The translation editathons will take place in our fully-equipped computer labs, so that all students will have the necessary resources for translation, including access to monolingual, comparable and parallel corpora (huge collections of digital text assembled for linguistic purposes) and CAT tools. Library facilities will be accessible both online and offline, and the students will have all the dictionaries available in our libraries at their disposal. The students involved are all from the MA in Specialized Translation and have both the theoretical background and the language skills required to produce high quality translations. Nonetheless, supervision by our teaching staff and quality assessment by experts have been included as part of the activities. Before publication in Wikipedia, all translations will be edited and proofread by university staff in translation studies and by project-related dedicated staff, and finally revised for domain-specific terminology consistency and accuracy by domain experts. Revision will possibly include peer review by fellow students from other departments (economy and medical students in particular). Tools, resources and assignments, along with all other relevant material, will be made available through the English Linguistics and Translation Studies course Moodle platform as well as through a dedicated Wikipedia Course page

Maristella Gatto is Associate Professor of English Linguistics and Translation. Her research interest include corpus linguistics, translation studies and, most recently Wikipedia Studies. She is the author of the monograph "The Web as Corpus. Theory and Practice" (Bloomsbury 2014). She has published on genre integrity in Wikipedia (Centrifugal and Centripetal forces in Web 2.0 genres. The case of Wikipedia, 2012) and on the representation of historical knowldege in Wikipedia (Making History. Representing Bloody Sunday in Wikipedia, 2016). Two book chapters resulting from the experience of a translatathon at the University of Bari are forthcoming ("Out of the (sand)box. Developing translation competence via Wikipedia" and "Wikipedia nella didattica della traduzione. Il caso di Translatathon@UniBa").

Gaetano Falco is a Researcher of English Linguistics and Translation at the University of Bari. His main research interests include Translation Studies, Translation Teaching, Specialized Translation, Critical Discourse Analysis, Cognitive Linguistics and Corpus Linguistics. In 2014, he published his monograph on methods and tools for translation of economics discourse (Metodi e strumenti per l’analisi linguistica dei testi economici. Dalla SFG al Web 2.0). He has also published journal articles and book chapters on translation teaching, translation of economic discourse in professional and non-professional genres (e.g. academic journals, comic books, movies), and CDA-based studies on corporate discourse.

Francesco Meledandri has a PhD in Translation Studies and teaches English Linguistics and Translation (undergraduate) as well as ICT (Advanced) and ICT for Translation in the MA Programme in Specialized Translation at the University of Bari. He has published a monograph on corpus-based analysis of specialized discourse (A corpus-based analysis of specialized texts. Lexico-grammatical patterns in computer science, 2012) and a monograph on quality assessment in machine translation (Machine translation tra teoria e prassi: valutazione della qualità in tipologie testuali differenti, 2016). He combines regular activity in academic research with professional work as a freelance translator.

We also note that Nicola Bellantuono (Nicolabel), an experienced Wikimedian and administrator in it.wp, has agreed to introduce our teaching staff to the key theoretical and practical issues involved in the editathon and will teach the group basic Wikipedia editing skills.

Community notification[edit]

Please paste links below to where relevant communities have been notified of your proposal, and to any other relevant community discussions. You are responsible for notifying relevant communities of your proposal, so that they can help you! Depending on your project, notification may be most appropriate on a Village Pump, talk page, mailing list, etc. Need notification tips?


Do you think this project should be selected for a Project Grant? Please add your name and rationale for endorsing this project below! (Other constructive feedback is welcome on the discussion page).

Great idea, good project. --Ferdi2005[Mail] 17:23, 2 March 2020 (UTC)