My thesis (Translations in libre software) status: gathering information and some plans

This year I will try to finish my (academic) studies about libre software and I have to write a  master thesis. I decided to work on translations on libre software. In this post I will explain my current status of research, writing and some plans. Any feedback is welcome!

I have read a recent dossier about translations in libre software from Tradumàtica, a journal dedicated to technologies in translations. It is a compilation of several articles about libre software and how can it help the work of translators in general, some libre software tools also used in translations of other libre software projects, and it contains a lot of references to explore.
First I thought my thesis was nonsense after this dossier came out, but with the recommendations of my teachers I decided to rethink my initial proposal to focus on aspects not covered by the existent literature. I wrote a second initial schema of my work, but I am sure it will suffer big modifications (and improvements I hope) during next week (better trust in this blog post!).

In particular, my current ideas are to analyse in-depth several case studies, particularly web frameworks for crowdtranslating such as TranslateWiki, Transifex, Pootle or Launchpad. I would also try to apply the adquired knowledge from the studies subjects in the master: for example, the differences (if any) of libre software licenses and licenses of translations, the different business models used by several companies that work in this sector (whether “general” translation companies using libre software tools, or companies focused on translation of libre software projects), and how the communities handle the coexistence of volunteers and professional translators, and the distribution of effort, and if there are (or not) differences between the developers community and the translators community in libre software projects.

I am gathering references and reading literature. I will explore some free software tools to manage my bibliography: Zotero and/or JabRef, probably. My initial steps with Zotero are here. I am not sure if storing my references in files in my git repo and/or creating an account in and also share them that way.

I am designing a questionnaire for translator interviews (initial draft here), there are some interesting surveys to look at (for example in Ubuntu Community and in the GNOME Community), but following the “case study” framework I would like to present some particular experiencies too. I hope I will close the questionnaire soon to send it to some already contacted people, if you are translator of any free software project and you would like to talk a bit about your experience, or know anybody interested, please email me or send a comment.

I have dozens of small pieces of paper with notes written on them (I was born on the XX century: still like pen and paper), about projects to explore as case studies and things to take into account. Also I have a txt file with names of translation software and platforms and related things to not forget to review them. I will try to compile all that in a (unique) list of projects, and also create a checklist of features, metrics and aspects to show about each project. I would like to apply an evaluation model to some of them, maybe OpenBRR or QSOS, we will see.

I am beginning to collaborate to F-Droid translation project to Spanish; we :) use a Pootle server. My plan is to collaborate in Spanish translation of small tools that I use and know well, to minimize the translation work, but also have a first-hand experience of managing translation tools and platforms, and participate in translator communities.

And that’s all, I think, for now. I would like to use LibrePlan or OpenProj to create a nice schedule and planification for my work from now until June (my expected delivery date), but maybe using the wiki of my Gitorious repo will be enough. In the meanwhile (and later too) I will post here my progress and I hope that step-by-step I will transform all these plans in facts.

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About larjona

My name is Laura Arjona, I am a libre software user and fan of the free culture. If you want to contact me you can write an email to larjona99 [at] gmail [dot] com I am @larjona at and @larjona99 at twitter (like, but worse). --- Me llamo Laura Arjona, soy usuaria de software libre y fan de la cultura libre. Si quieres contactar conmigo puedes escribir a larjona99 [at] gmail [dot] com Soy @larjona en y @larjona99 en twitter (como, pero peor).
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