Wikisource:Open Mishnah Project/Advertisement
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Have you learned a mishnah recently? Do you think you could translate it fairly easily, and maybe even add a couple of sentences to explain it?
If so, then please consider actually typing that translation (it shouldn't take too long for one mishnah) and donating it to "The Open Mishnah Project" at <en.wikisource.org>. (Wikisource is a less-known sister project of the more famous <wikipedia.org>. It is for source-texts of all kinds in all languages.)
If you donate the translation of a mishnah, it will be available to the public forever, and you will be contributing towards building the first open-source English translation/commentary of the Mishnah. ("Open source" means that it is not restricted by copyright laws. Anyone can copy it, use it, and modify it for any purpose.)
How is it done? It's very easy and anyone can do it in three basic steps:
1. Go to the "Mishnah" page at en.wikisource.org. (Just type "mishnah" in the navigation bar and click "Go".)
2. Add a new link to the mishnah you want to translate. You do this by editing the "Mishnah" page. (Simply click the tab that says "Edit this page.") You will already find links there to the first two sample mishnayot, and a few more that various contributors have added since then. So just add yours to the list!
For example, if you want to translate the first mishnah in tractate Rosh Hashanah, then just add: [[Mishnah Rosh Hashanah 1:1]]. (The double square brackets are the code for a wiki-link.) Then "save" the "Mishnah" page with the new link that you added.
3. Upload your new translation/commentary for the mishnah you've chosen. (Click on the new link you have added - it will appear in red because it is still empty - and then edit the new "Rosh Hashanah 1:1" page by typing or pasting your translation/commentary for that mishnah into its "edit" box. When you are done, click the "save" button on the bottom, just like you did for the "Mishnah" page.)
If about a dozen people were to occasionally contribute the translation of a single mishnah - say once a week - that could get the ball rolling towards ultimately translating the entire Shas. This could be a project for day school students, or anyone who learns mishnayot regularly (or even occasionally).
This is a project that is never finished - it can always be added to and improved. If you make a mistake in your translation, don't worry, because you or someone else can always fix it. If people disagree aout how to write up the translation, they can always discuss it and come to a resolution on the "Talk" page for that mishnah. Which means that it can even become sort of learning community.
At first I contributed translations and commentaries to the first two sample mishnayos (Berakhot 1:4 and Peah 1:1), but now that others have joined in and added material material of their own, there is even more now. I don't plan to add much more myself in English because I am working on the Hebrew version (found at <he.wikisource.org>, which is the Hebrew-domain for Wikisource). To see the Hebrew project, go to the Hebrew wikisource and type in "Mishnah Petuchah" (in Hebrew). Besides an index for the whole Shas, there are already basic texts there including formatted-punctuated mishnah, Rambam's version, and Bartenura on all of Berachot and the first chapter of Peah. The typing and editing are done manually.
Be warned: to use the Hebrew version you need to be able to type in Hebrew!
The translations you post need not be as elaborate as the current examples. Even a very simple translation with nothing else can be posted.
If you find mistakes, or something you don't like in the texts that have been added so far - don't complain, just fix the problem yourself! On a wiki, the reader is the proofreader.
A wiki text is never done. It can always be changed and improved. If it is "vandalized" it can be reverted. If you want a knowledgeable teacher to "review" the translations for accuracy, here is how to do it: The teacher needs to create an account, and should probably use his own real name as him user name (e.g. "Rabbi Yaakov Cohen"). Once he has done this, and let his students know about it, he can correct the translation his students have done, and when he saves the page he can comment: "This version of the translation has been reviewed by Rav Yaakov Cohen." From then on, there will always be a "verified" translation from which to judge the accuracy of past and future versions.
In order to see the various versions of an article (mishnah) that have been changed over time by contributers, including the one that has been "verified," simply click on the "history" tab for that article.
Also: The Hebrew and English versions of each and every mishnah can be linked (just look at the bottom of the current examples to see how it is done).
And by the way, Wikisource is not just for Mishnah. You can contribute Hebrew texts plus translations and/or commentaries for any Torah text (or general text) that interests you.
So consider contributing and tizku lemitzvos!