Fog Creek Software
Discussion Board




Wanted: Volunteers to translate Joel on Software

I'm starting a project to create translations of Joel on Software into as many languages as possible.

If you are fluent in another language and would like to contribute, either as a translator or copy editor, please email me!

More info: http://www.joelonsoftware.com/Translating.html
Current status: http://www.joelonsoftware.com/LanguageSignup.html

Joel Spolsky
Thursday, June 06, 2002

Is there some sort of secret[1] world domination plot behind this project or is it just for spreading the message? Just for the record, I consider this as a neat idea anyway. 

[1] If it's secret, you don't have to reveal it in the response; rather, let's say that if you don't say it's secret, then it's indeed secret.

Jarno Virtanen
Friday, June 07, 2002

Yes, you see, it is only a small step from having Joel on Software appear in other languages to actually taking over the World Government.

Joel Spolsky
Friday, June 07, 2002

Yeh, I was wondering why too.

Isn't english the dominating Internet/Programming language anyway? If it were up to me everyone would learn English as a second language. Especially here in Europe where European Community meetings are still held and translated in 11 working languages. Talking about Babylon...

In addition I was also curious how much it pays?
[JUST KIDDING]

Jan Derk
Friday, June 07, 2002

It would definitely make reprints easier.

I guess that having them on multiple languages will make attractive to some people to run reprints, be it on the web or printed media.

Joel, what's your policy on reprints? All content on this site is copyrighted by you, but I have never seen any details on reprint rights.

Beka Pantone
Friday, June 07, 2002

Ouch!  Why pay for work when so many are willing to do it for free?  Kinda reminds me of rentacoder, only better.

Johnny Simmson
Friday, June 07, 2002

Seriously though, I'm all for it.  If only 1/2 of the managers in the world would read your articles, it would be a better place.

Johnny Simmson
Friday, June 07, 2002

I'd volunteer to translate the articles to English from their original American but it's probably not worth it.

Peter WA Wood
Saturday, June 08, 2002

Does google or bablefish do that bad of a job?  I honestly don't know, I only speak English.  I've translated a couple documents from German to English using google and thought it wasn't bad.  It's very possible that I missed some major points because of a bad translation.  I think a way to easily translate using google or bablefish right from Joel's pages would be a lot easier than manual translation, although the quality might not be there.  Just manually translate to languages not already covered by google.  If you get what you pay for is true, it's a draw.

If you need anything translated to pig latin, etla ema nowka   

B. Wood
Saturday, June 08, 2002

You kinda have to go the extra mile to make non-native speakers comfortable.  And Joel's essays are highly idiomatic.

I remember when I kept hearing people in Germany say, "Ach, du Scheisse!" and wondered if I should be insulted.  It translates literally to, "Oh, you shit!"  Wow.  But it turns out it's just an expression of surprise or even being impressed.

So anyway, I didn't know Fog Creek had a PR guy...  Or was it Joel's family that pushed him into this?

gringo
Saturday, June 08, 2002

It seems to me the big question is: Kunnen we nu ook in onze eigen taal berichten insturen? Of wordt het dan een zooitje?

Jan Derk
Saturday, June 08, 2002

Ce serait un peu compliqué à suivre non ?

Philippe Back
Sunday, June 09, 2002

>Does google or bablefish do that bad of a job?

Yes, it does. You can test it yourself by translating an English document to and from another language via Babelfish. Korean seems to give the most bizarre results, especially if you use the Australasian vernacular. "tubes of ice-cold beer" came back as "ice-cold pulse attention tubes". Translations from Italian often achieve a certain poetry - the following is a representative extract from a translation by Google of an Italian obituary of WV Quine:

Its pragmatism and its refinement in "ding-dramatize" the philosophical dichotomies that they made it to conclude, in answer to the friend and master Rudolf Carnap: "the culture of our fathers is weaving of enunciates to you. In our hands dumb it evolve and [... ] E' one grey, black culture of facts and white woman of conventions. But I have not found some reason substantial in order to conclude that there are in it spins of all the black ones and others of the all white men ".

Andrew Simmons
Sunday, June 09, 2002

The reason this site is so good is the quality of the articles. A Google translation would only spoil it all!

Daren Thomas
Monday, June 10, 2002

I'm wondering if a translation of "Joel on Software" makes sense at all.

In my opinion it is very important for programmer to know English because without the amount of documentation(references, tutorials,commented source,...) you're able to understand decreases dramatically. That's why I think most of the people which "Joel on Software" targets - professional programmer's - know how to speak english.

Let me turn this around can you be a top notch software engineer without knowing English? ... keeping in mind that the majority of programming languages are based on the English language.

Christian K.
Monday, June 10, 2002

Christian, I guess it depends on your goals.  As a business, Fog Creek wants to increase its worldwide reach, and its reputation for "usability," no matter the language.  As a general philosophy, maybe you're right, though I think it turns out to be a bit antisocial.  Should CS be a delivery vehicle for my Favorite Language?  Should programming languages abstract away symbols, so code can be localized?

These are the strange discussions that keep IT people up on dark nights. ;-)

Sammy
Monday, June 10, 2002

Hey, is Joel paying any of these translators or is he freeloading on the fan base he has? Mooching off other people is not a very honorable thing to do.

Sylvia Tanner
Monday, June 10, 2002

Cristian wrote
>In my opinion it is very important for programmer to know English ...

  I agree with you, Cristian.  But unfortunately it's not like that.  And even though most of resources are in English, there's a lot of translated books, or even books that have been originaly written in another language. 

  And there's another problem:  management.  They have to know English too, so they can read Joel on Software.  And I wish they did.  But they don't  (at least were I work).

  So I will translate as many articles as possible, and then ask them to read it, so they can see the light too. :)

 

Ricardo Antunes da Costa
Monday, June 10, 2002

Sylvia Tanner wrote:
"is Joel paying any of these translators or is he freeloading on the fan base he has?"

Maybe just maybe Joel throws a big party in New York for all the volunteers, who will be flown in with a Concorde, sleep at the Ritz and get food prepared by the Naked Chef.  You might as well sign up quickly before you miss out on all the fun.

Jan Derk
Monday, June 10, 2002

Philippe Back ecrit:
"Ce serait un peu compliqué à suivre non ?"

Oui, je crois que vous avez raison. Ça va être très dur pour moi si on va envoyer de messages en français. Donc, oublie ma ideé stupide de communicer en plusieur des langues. [not sure if even a french guy can read this]

Jan Derk
Monday, June 10, 2002

I was about to sign up for translating to Hungarian, but after following the 2 links (More info: http://www.joelonsoftware.com/Translating.html
Current status: http://www.joelonsoftware.com/LanguageSignup.html
) I just could not figure out where do I actually sign up.

Balazs Fejes http://fb2.hu
Monday, June 10, 2002

I guess I should have read the article first (To signup, email me .)
I SCANNED it only, ok? :)

Balazs Fejes http://fb2.hu
Monday, June 10, 2002

Joel taking advantage of his readers without giving anything in return.
If you were offering an open source project, I would understand but you are getting free labor for your company. I think it's not nice at all.

ddsfadsfds
Monday, June 10, 2002

ddsfadsfds, I think you're right.  People should only sign up if they believe they are doing something that benefits them, since Fog Creek definitely benefits from it.

However, I think the volunteers made that decision, and believed they would benefit from their neighbors reading the articles.  Maybe they're right too.  And so the Joel Virus spreads...

gringo
Monday, June 10, 2002

You're right trolls!  How dare Joel ask people to work for him for free!  In fact, how dare you read his content without properly paying him for it.  From now on, Joel On Software will be via subscription only and all you freeloaders can go away!

Give me a break!

John W.
Tuesday, June 11, 2002

> It seems to me the big question is:
> Kunnen we nu ook in onze eigen taal
> berichten insturen? Of wordt het dan een zooitje?

Eerder een beetje stil...

Erik van Linstee
Tuesday, June 11, 2002

"... keeping in mind that the majority of programming languages are based on the English language. "

I'm sorry, but programming languages are NOT based on the English language!

At least not: Java, C/C++, VB, Perl, Python, LISP, PROLOG, ASM (whatever)

They merely borrow Tokens from English...

Daren Thomas
Tuesday, June 11, 2002

"Joel taking advantage of his readers without giving anything in return.
If you were offering an open source project, I would understand but you are getting free labor for your company. I think it's not nice at all."

But Joel IS giving something in return: A version of his site in the translators native toungue!

Daren Thomas
Tuesday, June 11, 2002

Is it even legal to "hire" people and not compensate them?

pb
Tuesday, June 11, 2002

Yes, it is. :-)  If companies can "hire" interns and not pay them, Joel can do this.

Brent P. Newhall
Tuesday, June 11, 2002

Some people just plain astonish me.

Joel asks for volunteers to translate his articles. Several people gladly offer their help for whatever their personal reasons. Nobody is forced, being cheated or deceived. Seems like a clear case of everybody happy to me and proves how far you can get by just asking friendly.

But then why oh why do some people complain about this situation? Are they jealous that they don't get so much help so easily? Do they feel discriminated because they don't speak a foreign language? Do they like to bash Joel for no reason? Did they just have a fight with their girlfriend/boyfriend/mother? Are they still in puberty? Or is grumpiness just part of their system?

Before you know it they will probably accuse Linus or the World Wildlife Fund of being free loaders too.

Jan Derk
Tuesday, June 11, 2002

If only it were that neat. In fact, it's illegal to employ persons and compensate them less than minimum wage even here in America. Internships are normally paid positions. AOL is involved in a major law-suit regarding the "employment" of "volunteers".

pb
Wednesday, June 12, 2002

It seems to me that some of you did not notice that Joel did not ask for volunteers to translate his software or te software's documentation for the company FogCreek (which might really be illegal in some countries including the US), but to translate the articles from his more or less private website on software development. This makes a big difference I think. If it would be illegal to ask people for voluntary work on non-business tasks, open-source and many other private projects (not only in software development) would not be possible.

Have fun,

Jutta Jordans
Thursday, June 13, 2002

Now for something completely different...

>I'm sorry, but programming languages are NOT based on the English language!

>At least not: Java, C/C++, VB, Perl, Python, LISP, PROLOG, ASM (whatever)

>They merely borrow Tokens from English...

ACK, but what interests me is: do any of you know of programming languages that borrow tokens from other natural languages as English? What did the Russians do in ColdWar times? I do not even know if there ever has been a "German" programming language. Are there any examples?

Have fun,

Jutta Jordans
Thursday, June 13, 2002

based on mathematic / logic symbols
> Forth
> Prolog
> maybe APL ? (I remember unreadable symbolic syntax examples of ligne of code)
> LISP ({}, CONS, CAR & CDR are not specifically english words)
However, it's true that the usual accompanying "standard" library has english based words for objects and verbs.

Other:
Excel macro language (before VBA, each localized version had it's macro written in their language)

I remember also French based vocabulary Pascal and Basic.

In France, a still somewhat successful L4G (WINDEV) has a French syntax (or you can choose another one, VB like)

Robert Chevallier
Thursday, June 13, 2002

Jutta, true. I actually was confused and thought he was referring to his book.

pb
Friday, June 14, 2002

*  Recent Topics

*  Fog Creek Home