Showing posts from December, 2007

When Neapolitans become Indians and Pulcinella dances his raindance ...

You are wondering about that title, right? So let me tell you the story. On our group for Neapolitan language we have people from many places in the world. Not all speak Italian, most speak English, many speak or learn Neapolitan ... what a mixture, right? Well ... discussions are always a bit particular since we have to use the language which most of us can understand and write - otherwise: would it make sense to discuss just in a handful of people? Uhmmm ... Wikipedians who are about NPOV will understand that the more people are involved the better it is for any kind of project and discussion.

There was this member of the group ... he complained about us writing in English, talks about the birth (?!?) of a new language called Naplish (never heard of this ... could be some Neapolitan indigenous dialect???) and says that there are only two natives in the group????? Moment ... but ... besides the two we all know who live in Naples also he lives there ... ehmmm ... I'd say they are a…

Translating Wikipedia articles (2)

Like I already said yesterday, I would come back to this argument today.

Apertium is already used in some projects, one of which is the Occitan Wikipedia. For those who are not familiar with Wikis: there you have the possibility to compare the not proofread version with the proofread version and that is something you will see by clicking here.

What you see on the left hand side is the text as it was after the machine translation and on the right hand side the proofread version of the text. The changes are highlighted in green on the left and in blue on the right hand side. There are even some parts of the text that were not changed at all.

The work on the glossary and the grammar rules (well I am not using the specific terminology here to make things understandable for all) has been going on for approximately one year now.

At a certain stage the problems arise from vocabulary that is missing and not so much from the rules. Of course these translations will probably never be a 100% perfect…

Translating Wikipedia articles ...

... into less resourced languages. Well, time has come that we can start to think about how to go about a faster creation of contents for the many small Wikipedias. As you all know, often we have just a handful of people creating and translating and then adapting articles. Well ... combining various Open Source and Open Content projects we can now go a further step into the direction of fast contents creation, but that does not mean: stub upload. This is a completely different way of doing things.

Apertium is a machine translation tool that works really great with similar languages. Approx. a year ago I had a translation from Spanish to Catalan done by Apertium through the online interface ( and asked some people of the Catalan Wikipedia to have a look at it. They told me that of course it was not perfect, but that it would be easy to proofread it and much faster than actually translating it. In March I made a similar test during a masters for transla…

Naples' airport ... a very particular publicity

When on Sunday, 2nd November, I waited for the boarding to go to Barcelona, not having a book with me, I took some photos around and one is particular: the Italian mineral water producer Ferrarelle is creating publicity where each line of the publicity is written in a different language, in this case using "e 'o tiempo". It was the first time I saw Neapolitan taken to the level of all other European languages.

Thank you Ferrarelle!

(And yes, I don't mind giving a commercial company relevance if they do something like that).

Local languages applied - Catalan

During the last three days I was in Barcelona at the European Forum on Science Journalism, but more about that during the following days. Now I want to talk about a language that has made its comeback into every day life and is doing really well.

I have been to Barcelona quite a long time ago, just for a transfer to change airplane and reach Malaga. Then I remember the signs at the ariport were in Spanish and English. Today when you come out of the airport you see them in Catalan, English, Spanish. Now you will say: but what's so special, right? Well, I already know that Catalan now is "official", but one thing is knowing it and a different one is experiencing it. Imagine the Naples airport with signs in Neapolitan, English and Italian or the Turin airport with Piedmontese, English and Italian ... it gives a very particular feeling to see that. In Catalonia people are very proud of their language and culture. When you talk to them they will tell you that it is relevant to…