Request for comments/Help for starting project terminologies

Fragment of a discussion from Talk:Terminology
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The problem with a monolingual wordlist is that it doesn't immediately encourage everyone's participation wiki-style. Perfecting a monolingual wordlist takes forever and will never succeed completely.

Defining everything in terms of a single language (English) also creates avoidable problems. Many English terms actually describe several different concepts depending on context. For instance, "to check" can have three meanings: 1. to mark, select; 2. to verify; 3. to examine, look up. In most (or all) other languages these are all translated with different words. So they should be three entries rather than one (or perhaps more; I might have missed something).

I don't think it's actually necessary to start off with a monolingual glossary and I disagree that translating is pointless before the monolingual glossary is complete. On the contrary, starting off multilingual would make problems such as the aforementioned example immediately obvious so they don't need to be fixed later.

I think this would be a good moment to mention OmegaWiki, which is basically a large-scale implementation of the above idea: each concept ("DefinedMeaning") has its own entry in the database with its translations ("expressions") in as many languages as possible. The key is that the central data unit is the concept a.k.a. DefinedMeaning, not a word in any particular language.

In order to make our central glossary we could either simply use OmegaWiki which is ready and functioning now, and already contains many computer terms -- or the admins could decide to install the Wikidata extension, which it uses to do its magic, here on this site so we can roll our own.

Even without using them or their software, I think OmegaWiki is a powerful example of how a truly multilingual glossary can work. If they can do it on that scale, surely a relatively minor thing like a software translation glossary is trivial by comparison.

23:23, 17 June 2011
Defining everything in terms of a single language (English) also creates avoidable problems.

That's why the terms should be defined.

I don't think it's actually necessary to start off with a monolingual glossary

We have to start somewhere, and I'm afraid that unless we direct attention we never get anything into useful state.

I think this would be a good moment to mention OmegaWiki,

I know about OmegaWiki, I even wrote my candidate's thesis about OmegaWiki and translatewiki.net. The conclusion was that it is not suitable for us. Terminology is different from what OmegaWiki is doing. And we are building a terminology, not a (multilingual) glossary. There are some ideas we could borrow, I don't deny that. Currently I'm exploring if we can take advantage of Semantic MediaWiki.

20:19, 18 June 2011
 
The problem with a monolingual wordlist is that it doesn't immediately encourage everyone's participation wiki-style. Perfecting a monolingual wordlist takes forever and will never succeed completely.

I also think that this is a bit of a worry. Would it help to break the job of writing the monolingual glossary, particularly the glossary for MediaWiki core, into sections of say 100 terms? After a monolingual section was done, it would be prepared and added to the glossary formatted for translation, in whatever format is decided upon. Once translation work is begun on the first section, we will also gain experience on how many revisions are needed to the definitions, and how often we can expect to have to split a term into two carrying different definitions.

08:08, 19 June 2011