Selet Wiki-School - IT Biler forum 2019/Report/Amir Aharoni
Selet school IT Biler forum 2019
I have known Farhad for several years, and loved his work for promoting Wikipedia writing in languages of Russian. I was pleasantly surprised to receive an invitation from Timerkhan Shaikhutdinov to give workshops for children at the Selet summer camp.
I landed in Kazan on Thursday and was immediately taken in a car to Biler. The ride took almost two hours, but I enjoyed it a lot, especially the impressive crossing of the majestic Volga and Kama rivers.
When we arrived, I had a short meeting with Dr. Javdet Suleimanov, the leader of the Selet youth movement, with whom I had a short, but inspiring conversation about languages, technology, and education. Later we had a short meeting with the other Wikimedians who were visiting the event. I know some of them, and I had a the pleasure fo meeting a few others for the first time. After that we had the online conversation with Nichole Saad, and a surprising brief encounter with the president of Tatarstan Rustam Minnikhanov.
I dedicated the rest of the day to learning about the Selet organization and its philosophy, talking to several of the young participants, and preparing for the workshop. I also learned about the high-quality machine translation system, which is available at https://translate.tatar. I discussed the possibility of integrating it into Content Translation with its developer.
This is the big day, the day of my Content Translation workshop. It was done in two one-hour sessions, with about 40 children in each. Because of time constraints, I did a very brief introduction about what Content Translation is, and gave away paper cards with suggestions for articles to translate. There were more children than we thought there would be, so the organizers Timerkhan and Alfiya helped select a few more articles.
We had 42 translated articles published. 7 were subsequently deleted because they had too much machine translation. Timerkhan and Alfiya chose one article as the best from each session. One girl, Gulnaz, also wrote an article from scratch in the Russian Wikipedia, in addition to translating the article Pizza.
The workshop was generally good given the constraints, but I have some recommendations for the future, and they can be reused for any language, not just Tatar:
- The workshop should be at least two full hours, so it wouldn't feel too rushed.
- All the computers need to have keyboard layouts enabled and tested as early as possible before the event. I verified this a few minutes before the beginning of the workshop, and found several that lacked Tatar keyboards, so we had time to ask the IT administrators to enable them.
- The user interface of Content Translation should be fully localized, so that Tatar buttons wouldn't be mixed with Russian and English buttons. (The link for Tatar: Content Translation localization in translatewiki.)
More general tips can be found at Best practices for Content Translation events. (I also updated this page as a result of this workshop, which is itself a good result.)
On the third day we had another semi-improvised workshop. First of all, I awarded Content Translations t-shirts to the translators of the two best articles from the day before: Кул белән ашала торган ризык (Finger food) and Курник (пирог) (Kurnik) I planned to demonstrate advanced techniques for reading and editing on mobile phones, but unfortunately the power went off, so we had a friendly Q&A.
After that I was taken back to Kazan, where I had a walk around the city with Farhad, and departed by train to the airport.
Thanks to Timerkhan, Alfiya, Abdullah, Farhad, and Khabil for your amazing hospitality and help.
- 42 (-7) new articles created.
- Gained experience with teaching a large group of children (I usually do such workshops with adults).
- Met Timerkhan and Khabil, who are good and energetic organizers of Wikimedia activity in Tatarstan.
- Learned about the translate.tatar machine translation technology, which may become useful and mutually beneficial.
- Improved the Best practices for Content Translation events page.