[Foundation-l] 1.3 billion of humans don't have Wikipedia in their native language (Milos Rancic)

Samuel Klein meta.sj at gmail.com
Sun May 29 04:40:37 UTC 2011

On Mon, May 23, 2011 at 11:07 AM, Neil Harris <neil at tonal.clara.co.uk> wrote:
> On 22/05/11 18:29, WereSpielChequers wrote:
>> We are likely to reach each of the following on the way to our target,
>> and it would be great to announce them when we reach them:
>> 1 90% of literate people have a version of wikipedia available in a
>> language that they understand

I like this idea for milestones.

> This raises the interesting prospect of bringing Wikipedia to the
> billion or more people who are currently illiterate, as the cost of
> access to mobile phones and network connectivity continues to fall to
> the point where it is becoming available even to some of the poorest


Improving literacy is one way to proceed, but has a number of points
of failure: you have to have a good program, you have to convince
people to undertake it, and they have to find the time (and have that
much time in connectivity or access to the material) to successfully
become literate.

Another way is to develop good text-to-speech in each language -- a
finite problem -- and a way for illiterate people to search for what
they want to know.  [is there a visual way to do this?  does it
require speech-to-text, which is a distinctly harder problem to solve
that is multiplied by dialects?]

I think we should start being more conscious of the state of TTS in
each language we care about, once we have developed good ways to offer
it to our visitors on various platforms.  A mobile client that can
[locally, on your phone] render text into speech would be a tremendous
step forward.

> providing a Web-based [English or other language] literacy course that
> could start with very simple video lessons to give an elementary
> vocabulary first, and then allow the user to slowly bootstrap their
> language sophistication

It seems to me that most countries in the world have it in their
interest to develop excellent intro-literacy courses to help people
learn their language, which could then be disseminated far and wide.
As Casey says, Wikiversity would be a great place to host such work.


Samuel Klein          identi.ca:sj           w:user:sj          +1 617 529 4266

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