Cowardly Lion 20:49, 1 March 2008 (UTC)
Simpler policies needed: e.g. for translations
I had the idea to give one of my translations to wikisource after I noticed a couple of indications that a translation of the original (non-copyright) text is wanted for wikipedia and wikisource. I happened to translate it myself a little while ago, for my private research purposes. But what I read about the copyright policies here makes me feel deterred from posting it here, even though the only copyright is my translator's copyright, and I don't want to reserve anything for any material gain.
The requirements are too complicated and rigid: the GFDL is probably good for its purposes, but the guys that drafted it didn't seem to think about scholarly translations, where an important aim is fidelity to the source-language original. They did not seem to make provision for what are sometimes called 'moral rights', the right of the author not to have modifications passed off in certain ways (for example). These have legitimate application to scholarly translations, in that it ought to be acceptable to express, in a licence of such a work, a condition that people who amend such a translation should indicate what they have amended, and briefly note how it is an improvement as a translation of the source text. But on wikisource, unless I'm mistaken (which is entirely possible I guess, in such a labyrinth), an expression of this intent seems to be forbidden by policy. I suggest this would be regrettable, leading to waste of opportunities to acquire texts that wikisource and wikiedia seem to say are wanted. Terry0051 21:01, 1 March 2008 (UTC)
Wikisource has two types of translations: 1) published translations, and 2) "collaborative" Wikisource translations.
If a translator desires scholarly recognition for their effort, they should publish their work in a journal where there is proper peer-review. Only if a translation has been published do we credit the initial translator, and then we would also prevent any modification on the original wording.
Our collaborative translations start with an initial translation. As there is an expectation that the translation can be modified by others, the initial translators name is not "credited" on the work - their recognition is always recorded in the history of the page, and we do also often make special mention of them in the "edition" block on the talk page.
- Romance of the Three Kingdoms doesnt have any visible credit, however you can see on the history tab that it was commenced by User:Winn3317 and has been worked on recently by User: A-cai - every change is available for inspection by readers - see this and this to see some improvements that A-cai made to Chapter 1 in September last year.
- Plant a tree includes an "edition" link which takes the reader to "Talk:Plant a tree", which specifically mentions Nikola Smolenski is the translator.
Yes, you are correct that Wikisource translators may not impose restrictions on people who wish to alter the text. This is intentional, in order to ensure that people can do whatever they like without having to consult the original translator, which may be logistically difficult, and may result in the translator rejecting valid changes for personal reasons. However, the GDFL requires that anyone who redistributes a modification must also provide "online" copies of the previous versions, and publish the address of these previous versions with their modication. As a result, it must be simple for a reader to see the "original translation", and step through each change and see who made each change. That should be sufficient protection of "moral rights", as misattribution is not legally possible with the GFDL.
Now, what I have described above is the firm legal framework of how we accept translations, and why we accept any modification. But that is only half the story ... in addition, Wikisource is a community of people who care about the quality of our translations, and we will quickly reject unacceptable modifications to our copy. This aspect is not well documented - the best way to describe it is to show you what happens, with a few notes:
"184.108.40.206" (an anonymous user) made a change on "07:15, 19 February 2008". I saw the change, rejected the change immediately. "220.127.116.11" did the change again, so I emailed user "Jarekt" because he has worked on that text already, and is able to check the original meaning (see on User:Jarekt, he tells the world that Polish is his mother tongue).
So the theory is that anyone can modify our texts, but in practise only "good" modifications are kept. The community will reject any vandalism, and changes that degrade our translations will also be rejected - the difficulty is determining when a change is deemed "good" vs "bad". As the original translator, you will be notified of any changes, and you have the option of rejecting undesirable changes. Everyone else will be able to see that the initial translator has rejected the change, so there is social pressure on the initial translator to properly consider the modifications -- i.e. the initial translator is allowed to protect the integrity of the work, but is not allowed to protect the "sole authorship" of the work. John Vandenberg (chat) 02:40, 3 March 2008 (UTC)
Thanks for explanation of translation policy
Thanks for your explanation of wikisource translation policy.
I'll have to think carefully about how to operate within it.
Kind regards ... Terry
Terry0051 09:40, 17 March 2008 (UTC)
- I wish it didnt need explanation :-)
- If you would like to offer your language skills to others, in order to be notified when there is a translation project that you may be able to help with, you can put a "Babel" box on your user page (i.e. "User:Terry0051"). For example, User:Jusjih is a native speaker of Chinese, User:Spangineer and User:BirgitteSB are able to help with Spanish, etc. John Vandenberg (chat) 01:18, 18 March 2008 (UTC)