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FoI Translator’s Notes

So you want to help the articles on Falkvinge on Infopolicy cross more language barriers, and translate it into another language? That’s great! Here are a few things to think about.

We’re a growing community that try to get the ideas to bridge language barriers, first writing in English and then translating from there into many other languages. Our motivation is simple: to spread the ideas of information policy and civil liberties as far and wide as we can, using a bit of our spare time to do so. While we do get translator credits with a link in return for our efforts, the key motivator is to change the world for the better through spreading good ideas.

Can I just translate articles sporadically into my language?

As long as FoI already exists in the language you want to translate to, then you’re most welcome to join the crew and translate when you see something you’d like to translate.

What if FoI doesn’t exist yet in my intended language?

It’s great to be able to launch in a new language, but for the sake of continuity, a new language should have three initial volunteer translators. After all, people drop out, fall in love, get a new job, et cetera, and there’s nothing wrong or strange about that. So grab two friends and sign up as the initial team of three for your intended language!

How does translation work?

For a new language, the site framework needs to be translated. After that’s been done, articles are translated one by one. When you sign up as a translator team for a new language, you’ll get mails with links to translate the framework and the pages on the main menu.

For the actual articles, three things are translated – the title, the body text, and the categories the article belongs to. (Once a category name has been translated, it does not need to be re-translated for every new article in that category.) Do note that we translate the article from HTML to HTML, and don’t use the visual editor.

Do I need to commit to translating everything down the road?

Not in the slightest. New articles are announced on Twitter, Facebook, and G+. If you think that particular piece is worth a “meh” and certainly not a translation effort, just leave it. Perhaps somebody else will translate it into that language. Or perhaps your gut reaction was common enough that the article in question just wasn’t worth spreading.

If nobody thinks it’s worth translating, it isn’t. Simple as that.

How do I get started?

When you say that you want to translate, you’ll get a user account on the WordPress powering FoI (it needs to be created manually). You’ll get a mail with your password. Login and change it to something else, and you’re good to go. You’ll get mails whenever there is something new to translate, together with a link where you do it.

Graphics and visuals

In some places, it is more important to retain the visual impression than to have a perfect translation. For example, authors’ bios should ideally take four rows under an article and nine in the top right, the RSS plaque at the bottom of a post should take two lines, et cetera. Translators have a lot of creative freedom to retain the visual impressions of such elements.

Same thing goes for the FoI logo on the top left, which also needs to be translated. It can be pixel-controlled in CSS directives that are exposed for translation.

Embedding videos in articles are done, for YouTube, by writing {youtube videocode} alone on a line, except with square brackets, where “videocode” is the YouTube URL part that looks like line noise.

Is there something else I should be aware of?

For the translator credit to activate, you need to update the translation once after having saved it. This is due to a technical workaround for being able to show the translator credit in the first place.

Also, do note that everything published on FoI is CC0 – meaning, no copyright monopoly at all. You explicitly waive any rights to, or related to, the copyright monopoly. (This helps the articles and your translation spread even further.)

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