[Wikipedia-l] Re: One Chinese Wikipedia

Mark Williamson node.ue at gmail.com
Thu Sep 16 05:58:48 UTC 2004

That's the thing with the ambiguity. That's the reason I'm suggesting
articles be stored in Traditional and converted into Simplified

Traditional-to-Simplified conversions will have a much much much
smaller number with ambiguous conversions than
Simplified-to-Traditional. If a Simplified user writes additional
content in Simplified, but parts of it are converted incorrectly
before being added to the database, then a special process will take

Since the wrong character and the right character in Traditional are
the same character in Simplified, it won't have any effect on
Simplified users who will continue browsing it as it is. However, the
error *will* show up to Traditional users, who will then correct it.
This correction will have no effect on the apperance of the text to a
Simplified user, but it will make it so it uses the correct character
for a Traditional user.

This eliminates the need for special semantic markup.

--Jin Junshu/Mark

On Wed, 15 Sep 2004 13:51:54 +0100, Rowan Collins
<rowan.collins at gmail.com> wrote:
> On Tue, 14 Sep 2004 20:31:11 -0700, Mark Williamson <node.ue at gmail.com> wrote:
> <snip>
> > I propose to store all text in Traditional but convert it to
> > Simplified (perhaps with some sort of caching so articles do not have
> > to be re-generated each time) because TC>SC conversion is less
> > ambiguous than SC>TC conversion. If somebody adds text to an article
> > but they are typing in SC, it will be converted to TC when it adds it
> > to the database. In the edit window even though, text will appear as
> > whichever domain you are at. Titles of articles should be converted
> > too. If a mistake is made in conversion when a Simplified text is
> > added to the database, eventually somebody browsing at
> > http://zh-tw.wikipedia.org/ will notice this error and hopefully fix
> > it. In the mean time this error won't cause any problems on zh-cn
> > because it will convert back the same way.
> This is more or less the concept I was mulling over as a very general
> solution, but I realised that it does have a big disadvantage: naive
> users 'correcting' the translation may simply shift the error into the
> opposite version. Or, more specifically, there is no way of
> distinguishing a translational correction from a factual one. For
> example:
> Say you have a database in English, but with automated conversion to a
> dialect, we'll call it Blinglish. The English database contains the
> text "...while eating an apple...", and this is viewed by a Blinglish
> user. They replace the word 'apple' (in the Blinglish version) with
> 'orange'. The software now has no way of knowing whether the use is
> saying that 'orange' is the Blinglish word for 'apple', or whether the
> Blinglish user is correcting a fact, and the English version should be
> updated to say 'orange'.
> Obviously, the translation corrections *should* be labelled using
> special markup, but the majority of users find special markup very
> hard to learn, and huge numbers of users pass through who have no idea
> how to use such things. In order to encourage them to return and
> contribute more, we need to not only make the system work *despite*
> them, but to actively fit them into it.
> If, to continue my example, we translate 'orange' back to English,
> when it is in fact supposed to be an idiomatic translation, another
> user may come along on the English site and correct it back to
> 'apple'. The Blinglish version will then be in its original state, and
> the cycle will continue until a more experienced user spots the
> ambiguity and marks it up appropriately. A waste of everyone's time,
> and a definite turn-off for the casual users whose changes keep
> disappearing.
> If we can rely on a majority of the users understanding more than one
> of the languages involved, we could more-or-less avoid this by
> providing some obvious mechanism for saying "this change is because of
> a translation issue", that even technophobes can use. But anyone that
> only understands one version will not know themselves whether it is a
> translation issue - only that it is, within the version they are
> looking at, a mistake...
> --
> Rowan Collins BSc
> [IMSoP]

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