[Foundation-l] Wikimania 2007 - get ready for the third edition.

Delphine Ménard notafishz at gmail.com
Thu Aug 17 13:14:24 UTC 2006

On 8/17/06, Aphaia <aphaia at gmail.com> wrote:

> Sorry interception, but I prefer to say "have taken", "have been
> taking" or just "is ongoing" ... because I have now many things to
> discuss about its linguistic aspects ... I am now strongly hesitant to
> call it an intenational event in its full meaning. I know most of
> "int'l" computer related conf. are monolingual but Wikimania is not
> only a specific-computer science-related-topic- oriented conference
> but also aiming to a community event? And as a humanist who studies
> philosophy, an int'l conf or session I have attended and first imagine
> is at least bilingual. So, you won't be realized the monolinguality of
> Wikimania beaten me heavily. It was really a shock when I learned not
> only the ongoing conference at Boston but also Frankfurterkonferenz
> had been also monolingual (de facto English), since I have read
> possible interpretation and translation were discussed by mailinglist

For the record, simultaneous translation is an enormous budget,
especially when it comes to many languages. The question is always,
which of the chicken or the egg comes first. ie. Would providing
translation in say 5 languages actually bring enough people who speak
those languages to make it worthwhile? Or would the so many people
speaking one language present at the conference would make it
worthwhile to have translation in that language? It is a tough call.
In an ideal world, we'd be very very rich and could provide audio
guides for every single language represented.

Although I find a ratio of 50% international / 50% local interesting,
I believe a higher ratio of local people makes Wikimania lose its
"international" meaning altogether.

> Besides my personal impression, as English speaker as
> a foreign language, I found many "it would be much greater if ..."
> like sorts at conference. Like transription providing for at least
> keynotes (planeries). Due to the current workload, currently I have no
> enough time to summarize my proposal for universal access to Wikimedia
> things for "ESAFL/ESASL", so I expect you as those to input your
> opinion frankly, and also expect the next year conf. is greatly
> progressing at this point.

I believe I can be hardly taxed of monolinguism activism myself, but I
still believe that Wikimania in English, wherever it happens, makes
perfect sense. That we facilitate the coming of speakers who do not
speak English, and make sure they can express themselves in their own
language, sure. That we provide translation for the language of the
country that hosts the conference, why not. But in the end, English
should remain the main language, even if we need to make sure that it
is never an obstacle for people to come.


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