Hello, Houston. We had a problem. I translated ~500 core messages. Yesterday I've got message "Language code sjn is not valid.". What happened?
The language code: Sjn is actually not supported by translatewiki. We recently fixed a long standing bug where translators were allowed to translate to unsupported & invalid language codes. While sjn is valid, it is not supported by translatewiki.
I'm informing one of our staff who will review if support for this can be added to translatewiki.
Hey, I hope you haven't forgotten about my problem. I would like to fill out the application required to add a new language section on Wikipedia in Sindarin (sjn). I have previously translated 500 core posts and hope to continue translating in the future.
The line for which constructed languages in scope for translatewiki.net is a bit fuzzy. We have Esperanto and Volapük but not Klingon for example. Is Sindarin being used as a general purpose language?
Well it is valid in ISO 639, in BCP 47, in CLDR... And there are also languages supported in this wiki not only for translating the MediaWiki UI. As well there are MediaWiki-based wikis in Wikimedia that also exist (at least in Incubator, sometimes as subprojects of another project using another main language for the UI, e.g. dedicated sections/categories in international Wikisource and Wikimedia Commons, or translations of labels and terms in Wikidata, or translated terms and wordlists in Wiktionary), still without having a supported MediaWiki UI working in at least one wiki.
But generally they exist because they have an active and stable enough sponsoring community that develop and maintain them.
For languages in development, the first need is to create this community in some existing stable space, create the communication areas and link them, collect sources and references. Then comes the time to start developping an UI for testing a beta version of a wiki or any other software translated here (or in other translation tools hosted elsewhere with some open licencing terms). That small community will make their choices, will decide how to unite their efforts. At some points, there will be enough cross-reference that will allow to start porting the Mediawiki UI and support it in a stable way, with a reasonnable way to cooperate and decide what to do and how to review that work: it will be time for this test wiki to see if it can support the existing efforts (there may be various technical issues to discusss and solve, but here this is not the case for thelangauge code). When this beta wiki or site is working quite well, Wikimedia will support these efforts.
But Translatewiki.net does not depend only on Wikimedia decisions (via its Language comity supporting the Incubator) and as well developers of MediaWiki are not following only the goals of Wikimedia (because MediaWiki may also be used in other independant wikis, including proprietary ones: for example if a government or institution decides to support a language, and wants to develop a wiki for it, using MediaWiki, it will also start working on such adapation and will coordinate with MediaWiki developers to make the needed changes, and if this is released, rapidly Wikimedia will also accept to start testing some beta wikis, and later decide to open it with their own independant projects).
So the most important remains: developing the community. When the community is small, it needs to have its efforts best supported by hosting their project inside another existing project where they can easily find contacts and volunteers (not always speeking other languages with the same level of expertise). The wiki is then not the only goal, the first goal is social (once you have resolved the most critical blocking factor, notably the encoding support for its script: no problem here for Sindarin, as long as it starts with the Latin script because other artistic scripts are still not supported in Unicode)
If there's still no script support, the best that can be done is to first collect a material collection of text sources (e.g. facsimiles of books, and papers written by linguists, protographs of artistic objects...), and then provide that to Unicode/ISO/IEC to create or improve an encoding proposal with enough references (after solving copyright and licencing problems that many artistic creations will have to face for about one century after their initial publication, unless the authors decide to open these sources to the public with open licences). After this encoding step, you need to convince designers and foundries to develop an open font for it, and then make it available from a reliably maintained source. At this step the script will be allowed to convert many documents and build a reference linguistic library that a community can agree on to build their project.
It is not easy, it takes long (many years) to convince and recruit new volunteers and sponsors proposing to help (financially or by offering services). And you have also to accept that this help will also come from people or organizations that don't necessarily have an expertise on your language and may initially make some errors (that you intend to fix later once you've successfully build your community joining its efforts). Finding a local governement or linguistic departement in some educational institution (including public libraries) is generally decisive to accelerate that project, because commercial organizations (including "social networks") often don't find any interest to support this effort.
Hello, User:Verdy p and thank you for your feedback. In fact, all the problems you listed are not, and displaying the wiki interface as a tengvar is not relevant. The community exists, it is huge and helps to translate any text into Sindarin without difficulty. In addition, today there are neural networks that can significantly reduce the time it takes to translate text. Previously, I started translating the interface for the wikipedia project in Sindarin, and translated over 500 lines in August last year, until I encountered a problem whose name is "Language code sjn is not valid." I don't think it's such a complicated problem that it can take six months to solve.
Using "neural networks" or other automated translation tools is exactly what must not be done here. Translations here are meant to be made, reviewed and corrected by humans which are also alone to be able to do that consistantly according to a stable terminology and accurate context of use. It is human translation done here that can be used by automated tools to propose some hints, not the reverse.
And my reply was relevant: even if Sindarin has several scripts (and most Sindarin-addicts people use in fact the Latin script), the original tengvar script (or its numerous derivatives) are not encoded in Unicode. This means that Sindarin for now can only be written by non-speakers, using a foreign Latin transliteration, and not a real translation. And scripts was only the small part of my reply (for compleness).
All the reast remains valid and notably this summarizing sentence: So the most important remains: developing the community. Because this is what is really needed to develop a common terminology and stabilize it with an accepted orthography. As long as it does not exist, it is illusory to start here, and all that can be done is individual developments made on independant competing publications, that will need to find their audience, and may be some comparitive tests and many evolutions to reach some minimum concensus. And this minimum should not jsut be done only for MediaWiki on the web, there are necessarily more contents on other medias and people that are not technicians at all. It is important then to adapt to what people use today to reach them, i.e. firet try to adapt to them in order to get contacts. Then only you can propose to adapt their work to a new media or technology and show them the result and discuss with them: if you do things correctly, may be they will start to adopt your solution and finally they will want to join their efforts to create a community wiki (instead of just their legacy tools).
Last edit: 23:46, 19 February 2022
Thank you for your response. I hope you understand that neural network assistance today is not yet able to completely replace manual labor. No matter how well trained a neural network is, it will always remain only an auxiliary tool. Furthermore, I admire your policy of focusing on the quality of translation. Yet I do not share your skepticism about the technology, because the high accuracy of the automated translation produced by neural networks can significantly speed up translation of large amounts of text information, and correct the resulting translation as necessary, during manual revision, which of course no automated tools can replace. But the main thing that makes automatic translation possible is the work of many, many people in the Sindarinist community from around the world. Without them, without their strong input and numerous consultations with linguists, I would not have been able to assemble the entire corpus of literature I used to train the neural networks I use, for which I am immensely grateful to all these people, and do not in any way belittle their personal merits. In addition, corrections to the translated texts and manual translation of texts on new topics would also not have been possible without the community's involvement. It is thanks to all of these people that we are now at this point of contact.
Nevertheless, I do not find your comment about Sindarin's own writings paramount, since Sindarin and most of the authors working with it are also accessible without the direct use of Tengwar or Sarati. And, at the same time, I am puzzled by your expression "true translation. What meaning do you personally put into it? A real translation in Sindarin can be done using the Latin alphabet, and written in Latin alphabet, Sindarin does not lose any of its qualities. This does not make it any less informative, and it makes it even more accessible to casual observers.
The part you find most important is also beyond priorities, because the community you are talking about has been around for a very long time, although, specifically within MediaWiki, it may be sparsely represented. The required terminology in Sindarin exists and is stabilized with accepted spelling. Also, I don't understand your skepticism about some kind of competing publication and evolution. Sindarin is not a language in which it is possible to express a single concept with hundreds of thousands of words composed in different ways. Although Sindarin allows the construction of similar words, just as "galadhui", "tawarui" and "taurui" are words with different meanings, so any other words that will be used in the text will always differ in meaning and meaning. Again, I appreciate your worries about the quality of the translation, but there is no problem with Sindarin in the meanings you mention.
Further, you mention, as I understand it, some mythical fragmentation of Sindarin speakers that does not exist. As a rule, every single group of Sindarinists has several professional linguists who are also in frequent contact with each other, preventing differences in language rules or some words that cannot or should not exist in Sindarin.
Nevertheless, despite my bewilderment at your remarks, I will still do as you suggest and create a MediaWiki-community, as it might benefit the existing language project in Sindarin. Actually, personally, I have a huge skepticism about the administration of both resources, because in both resources I was allowed to make a successful translation of texts, and then suddenly said "no", at a time when I should have moved on. Now that you can't create new articles in the incubator project, you recommend that I create a MediaWiki community, and looking at that recommendation, I have a vague doubt about whether it's such an interesting form of bullying for people of a certain category who don't speak the same language as the administrators of both resources. Just in case, however, I will keep my ears open and prepare an appeal to the upper management of Wikipedia and a few other important authorities so that they can mediate and witness to the situation and help resolve it in case of possible complications.
Even if Wikimedia still does not want your aticles in Sindarin, this does not mean you can't create a community and a wiki for it, even one using Mediawiki. There are other providers (e.g. Wikia, BlueSpice) where you can create your own self-managed group where you can administer the content and avoid abuses while keeping the level of quality that you want. And you will also not prevent others to create their own wiki as well.
A wiki is also not necessarily the best tool to present your work: there are blogs, and other wellknown CMS systems like Wordpress, Drupal, Adobe or Joomla (including from many third party hosting services), and many extensions (notably connections to databases systems, of office document repositories, or open source repositories like GitHub for sharing the development of applications and tools).
And to share your content with your community that want to link their mutual work, many solutions are usable today: social networks, old "internet rings" (for interlinking sites and blogs, and helping the search engines to discover, explore and index them), mailing lists, online forums, messaging applications, IRC (for meetings, but you'll need some archiving process if you want to preserve interesting discussions, notably about decisions, or debates about them: the archive would need a repository that can be indexed from related blogs and websites), etc.
Everything that you'll be able with these other tools will help convince Wikimedia that there's a real live and trustable community and that it can join the Wikimedia movement with active participants (and not just one creator doing all the work for some time, and then abandoning it for long, exposing that content to lot of abuses until it is frozen again).
But even diversity is needed, notably when the community is small: every opinion and work is important and then it is vital to allow such diversity: reaching the consensus on the final form is not the first priority to reach. This means that everyone should have a mean to show the way they want to formalize their work, without being perturbed by others. Then communications between them will help develop some consensus and detecct what can be relied on. Everyone will try to adapt their work. Convergence will start happening with common veiws, and useful mutual references will hel developing a trustable "standard", instead of relying on a single source (what Wikimedia for example absolutely wants to avoid as there's no way to arbitrate, and Wikimedia sites are very exposed to edit conflicts and need a way to arbitrate them). This is that factor (a relaible way to arbitrate) that helps asses what is "quality", not the statements made by each individual participant.
In summary, a Wikimedia-hosted wiki is not the first goal, it comes near the end of the process of community development. It will necessarily start slowly, and after some point will be able to survive and continue its growth in safe borders and with calm, allowing this content to be preserved aagainst many active attacks, because it will be immediately exposed (and those trying to initiate that wiki will find the initial development in Wikimedia very ingrate if their work is constantly rejected by divergences of points of view and lack of references to arbitrate.
So if you have trustable linguists doing interesting works, you should first concentrate on allowing them to expose their work and share them safely, allowing each one to arbitrate themselves the conflicts with their own point of view: each one will then do his work trrying to extend their view with a slowly developping group that they trust themselves. This can be done for example within university departmens and schools (that don't need to coordinate their work immediately, just being able to find each other's work and decide by themselves what they accept or not as part of their joint work; each one will choose their prefered references and each one will be able to measure their real audience and will be able then to adapt their work to that audience, and may finally see that their initial view was always not the best one: each one will change their methods and convergence will start being real to create a common asset).
Thank you for your understanding. Today I watched a broadcast on youtube by a Sindarin linguist I know. He also gives Sindarin language lectures at universities and other educational institutions, takes an active part in language festivals, and draws full audiences every time. As far as I know, he is not the only Sindarin linguist engaged in such things, and there are many others. If you, in mentioning university lectures, are suggesting something similar, then my post will probably mark the breaking of this milestone. By mentioning the various platforms for publishing material on Sindarin, you are also describing some stage passed by the global Sindarinist community, as there are various resources on which people share their texts written in Sindarin, including translations. There are, in fact, a lot of them, and the total volume of existing texts in Sindarin allows to form a good text corpus for training a neural network, despite the specific requirements of this process to the volume of pre-packaged data. I do not mean to say that you are too late with your suggestions, for there is always some boundary that serves to indicate the results achieved, at a certain point in time, and this boundary is always possible to overcome, and the final limits that can be reached in any case - especially in the case of collective work - do not exist, by definition. Nevertheless, I aim to indicate that there are potential authors, and it is possible to interest and attract them.
Some of the prospects for building a WikiMedia community are obvious and intuitive. Nevertheless, there is a most trivial and obvious problem of human psychology, which is like a snake eating its own tail - to form and expand a team engaged in any endeavor, some success or failure previously achieved by someone, and, for better motivation of the team, a balance of error to virtuosity ratio is important. Mistakes are the best motivation for people who are either too confident or too self-assured, and since both have the same corollary - the desire for self-assertion - they will want to actively participate in the life of the project and contribute to its history in a meaningful way. At the same time, the presence of mistakes will, to a large extent, untie the hands of a third category of insecure authors who, having seen and recognized mistakes, will consider their low level of knowledge as something that can be shown to the public without unnecessary fear in front of it. Virtuosity, in turn, will unleash people in a different way, attracting literate authors and encouraging illiterate authors to improve their skills and knowledge.
I am familiar with the phenomenon of "war of edits", but I have observed and probably will observe it not because of lack of established standards in any language, including Sindarin, which we are talking about, but because some people, not having sufficient knowledge and education required to penetrate into the essence of the topic discussed in the article, assume their point of view to be true, even if their aspirations are limited to the desire to place some image with indecent content, replacing an article by it. I suppose, with all desire, it can be difficult to avoid such acts of vandalism, as there are not always objective reasons for their occurrence, but it can be useful to have well-skilled section moderators living in different time zones to combat them.
Conflicts that may arise for a number of objective reasons are easier to localize and resolve, as they are facilitated by an objective reason. Linguistic issues can be resolved through consultation with specialists, which may take place outside the WikiMedia community. Stylistic issues have some obvious solutions already - some that do not transition between languages are not recommended for translation at all, and because of their artistic nature, involve replacing them with precise expressions. Not "two melons," as in Japanese, or "two drops of water," as in a number of European languages, but "very similar. In view of the fact that a number of issues concerning the translation of texts into Sindarin have been resolved, I am inclined rather not to expect anything superlative from the MediaWiki-community, but nevertheless I cannot know in advance what contributions each particular member will make.
I agree, but we still need to have reliable stable sources for those claimed specialists, that initial make the good classification and classification job, manage their priorities, then ask for comments to a community to support their work and possibly help them. This can be used to create stable, curated documentation.
At this time, it makes easier to add references to assert the quality of a project that will in fine be completely open to anyone: in Wikimedia projects, these users are supposed to source their statements. But how can it be done if such stable sources are not easily available.
And of course, an open project will need to have more than a single source of references: all these specialists should be interested to maintain (in each group they are working in) their own work (even if they are incomplete, or present things in different ways: at least these sepcialists can meet and agree on common bases, or recognize their differences by documenting them, showing the advantages of one view to the other, or showing that their work do not necessarily target the same share of audience. All languages have many fields of work to present, and each group can focus on different parts or aspects without necessarily contradicting each other: each opne follows his own strategic goals, according to their own means of action and their limits (no one can do everything alone): diversity of works is then not a problem, it's in fact a good thing to bring more attention to a common project, here supporting and promoting a language.
So are you able to provide list of resources and works in progress? And list of actors working on them? And lists of contacts, publications/articles, research and progress reports, theses from students in labs, dates of public events and meetings, and so on... and then convince all these people to publish something on their works that they sign themselves and assume to defend publicly? Or innovative creation/artistic works? or articles in wellknown medias (not only in your language but any other from various places and authors)? or short videos and audiocasts? or other resources (like lexical lists, definitions, translations of common phrases)?
Thank you for your message. It seems as if you are assuming the availability of all informational links about everything in all languages of the world. In my opinion, this point overlooks one important point, such as various locally known phenomena or memes. For example, within the English language Wikipedia, there are many articles that are not available in other languages, and the same goes for other language sections. What this should tell us is the need to translate them into other languages, in case someone is interested in this information. Speaking of claims by local Wikipedia users, as I recall, Wikipedia articles written in different languages often refer to material written in other languages. For example, an English-language article may link to a Japanese or Chinese site if it contains information borrowed from a different language environment. I think it is obvious: it is not necessary to have the help of linguists who know the target language in order to refer to them; it is enough to find material that fits the topic of the article and formulate the necessary thought to convey it to the project audience in the target language. And, as far as I can tell, a number of Wikipedia articles are written by people who are not native speakers of the target languages: these articles contain spelling and stylistic errors, expressing the target idea in a way that is sometimes even worse than the most primitive machine translation can provide. This is one of the pressing problems of modern Wikipedia and its development, to which I personally regularly pay attention and whose relevance I want to point out right now, so as not to have disagreements. By doing so, I want to find out where these problems come from in a situation where you propose to go the way of such bureaucracy.
I think I can provide a list of resources and work with varying degrees of completion, including the names of the professionals working on them, with their consent. I'm pretty sure I can link to the resources I personally take information from, but because of the large number of them, I won't be able to link to all of them. There are also some contentious issues like possible links to various social networking resources as to their acceptability and necessity. As for the dates of public events and meetings, I can hardly have enough information on this matter, especially in light of the confirmed existence of closed circles, including those involved in Sindarin language learning. Thus, I cannot name a complete list of Discord servers dedicated to Sindarin learning, but I know of the existence of at least a dozen such servers, one of which I visit quite regularly. Regarding fiction, I can say the following: I have found many samples of various works of fiction on various Internet resources, including those originally written in Sindarin, including those translated from other languages, including those without translations, but intuitively understandable to a person speaking Sindarin. Short videos and audio recordings also exist, including translations of various movie trailers and songs into Sindarin. But translations of common phrases is an entirely separate topic that needs to be dealt with in a separate order, as there are certain cultural differences between different peoples, and I've touched on this topic before. Because of these cultural differences, the translation of common phrases implies a direct translation, without the inclusion of artistic turns, based on the context of the phrase, not on the words. I hope I understood you correctly?
Be that as it may, on none of these points do I see any insurmountable problems, except your bureaucracy, which, however, despite its organization, does not solve the problems for which it exists.
I dont understand your concern. And I'm not at all involved in "your bureaucracy", as I take no role at all in such domain. I jsut explain what exists now.
I understand yourt desire to expand the support of your favorite language, but as I said this cannot be done alone on an open project (notably Wikiemdia projects, but not only because this wiki is also open to other projects), given their existing global policies.
Having access to many resources is a good point. But these resources must also be open to the public, at least with an agreement for educational purpose, if these are proprietary resources or located behind paywalls; such possibility exists with some institutions (see for example The Wikipedia Library, but its role is not to copy-paste content from them, bnut allowing to check assertions and references at a systainable cost, without breaking copyright rules) i.e. under a crontroled limited access for some granted users; but even this requires a cooperation between multiple users: those that are contributing and others that are reviewing.
Otherwise these open projects would be open to any kind of personal inventions (and would cause severe problems caused by copyright claims by these authors or would require project admins to supervize many incoming claims of abuse by third parties:
- notably for a language whose primary source is a collection of artistic books from a single author/creator, whose author's exclusive right have still not fallen into the public domain
- or battles later when others will want to join the project which was entirely managed by a single person, considering it is their own project).
Global site admins (that have the legal responsability of making ALL contents available online for the huge mass of users around the world, don't have the time for that, and you need to build a sufficiently sized community to support you and with which you'll demonstrate your cooperation. Understand that such open projects also have a cost, both legally and financially (including in terms of time invested, not just hardware or costs associated with upstream service providers). That cost is recovered by the existence of the community at large, which then requires such cooperation so that everyone can benefit from the efforts.
As you say, "these resources should be open to the public. In fact, they are, and no one is hiding them behind "paid walls". Today, there are a very, very large number of resources on the Internet where anyone can learn the Sindarin language, learn to understand it, write and read texts written in it, and speak it. Any cooperation among Sindarinists is welcomed and not rejected.
"Particularly for a language whose primary source is a collection of fiction books by a single author/creator." In this sense, it is easy to argue your point, since there have long been institutes and foundations dedicated to the development of the Sindarin language, such as WELA, and numerous linguists around the world, including amateurs, have long been active. Moreover, today the primary source of knowledge about the Sindarin language is beyond the collection of fiction by a single author, it is also fiction films, which have involved additional professional linguists, and the development of the language is also actively influenced by the huge community that has emerged around it for a very long time. As far as I remember, the transfer of an author's exclusive right to the public domain status takes place under the law of individual states 75 years after publication. The pioneer works of the Sindarin language appeared much earlier than 75 years ago.
I take it you and I have some different ideas. You talk about the need to take the second step in the line, but not the first step of hiring workers for an enterprise that is not allowed to build anything, referring to the need to hire workers or go through bureaucracy before at least something can be built. And the step of building something is partly done, and partly because there was such an unexpected halt on the way to its completion. I remind you - no one will go to an enterprise that can't build anything (regardless of the reasons). People need guarantees that their work will not go to waste, and judging by your actions, regardless of your motivation and motivation of your resource, you do not appreciate other people's work categorically, which is contrary to your own words. We can practice verbal and logical equilibrium with you for a long time, but never come to anything because of this doublethink in your policy, while at least a minimum consensus is implied. For the record, people don't like to see their work devalued overnight. I think you understand without me that such disrespect for the work of others is fraught with reputational, legal, as well as financial costs for your project. On the other side of the coin is a sober assessment of other people's work, respect for other people's work, the growth of your reputation, the attraction of additional capital thanks to your contractual ability.
Please consider that I'm not a site admin, so I cannot fulfill your request myself.
As long as Special:LanguageStats/sjn or Special:ActiveLanguages/sjn says that the language code [sjn] is not a supported language, I cannot do anything anything else that explaining probable causes that may explain why your request has not been honored by site admins (like Nike and Abijeet Patro that replied above).
And as a consequence the Portal:Sjn correctly displays the orange banner at top (asking you to contact this support page), and so it cannot link to a working translation interface.
Sorry for that, but we've not seen any reply from any one of them since the begining, to explain why your request has stalled and what you can do. But I'm not the right person you'll need to convince here.
I just said that involving more people here to support your request could be more convincing and decisive. But for now you're still the only person asking for it. So it's up to you to contact other peoples you know that will accept to work on this site with you. And then they'll need create an account here (for translating into any other supported language. The same will be true for Klingon [tlh] and other artificial/artistic languages, and then can register themselves in the list of candidate translators in the Portal page and in the babel box of their user page, showing their interest and knowledge of that language. It's not at all a problem of language code, given that [sjn] is already valid in ISO 639-3 and for use in BCP 47 as a primary language subtag and also not a problem for the choice of valid ISO 15924 script code to use by default or as a supplementary BCP 47 subtag (for Latin, or Cirth, or Tengwar).
How is it used as a general purpose language? Are there, for example, any other websites or apps in which the whole user interface is in this language?