Sunday, September 03, 2006

Design in translation

Perhaps not the deepest, or most enthralling learning from Moscow OSonOS, but a useful one to capture is about designing an event where there will be a lot of translation happening.

A few things i learned:
  1. Do not attempt to cut short the time for the sessions. Alot at least the 1.5 hours recommended and perhaps even extend that by 15 minutes or so. I have noticed the dampening effect of shorter time slots before, but it was more pronounced here where conversations were all translated and so the effective conversational time was often halved. (But we got better at getting more concise as the days progressed.)
  2. Allow a bit more time for the opening and closing segments. Again, with translation, we ran into trouble staying on schedule for the first session each day (there were some other reasons for that, too...) and inviting a focus to the closing comments and reminding folks to please keep things brief at the end of the day is a necessity.
  3. Using translators that have a grasp of the subject matter is a huge benefit. For those of us who have no experience with translating into other languages, it is easy to forget that a lot of words and concepts do not have direct translations and that subtle shades of meaning can be very tricky to convey. Translators who have some exposure already to the field of conversation can really enrich the experience for everyone.
  4. Inviting volunteer translators from within the participants can really boost your translating power.
  5. Translation support in the newsroom and extra hands on deck to help get all the reports in order would be handy (especially when the character set is different--very tricky to match up reports with their translations if you not only don't speak the language, but also can't decipher it either...).
Well, those are the main points i noticed. Did you notice anything else Raffi?

I want to commend the organizing team of OSonOS in Moscow for creating an incredibly flexible and rich translation environment. It was a wonderful experience.


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