One of the greatest challenges in curating the global online conversation is translation. To present ideas and reflections from one language and culture to another is no easy task and often ends up taking more time than writing the original post. Still, Global Voices is committed to presenting a plethora of voices in as many languages as we can. You may have noticed increased coverage of the Francophone blogosphere by Alice Backer, Arabic-speaking bloggers by Haitham Sabbah, as well as my own translations and those of numerous volunteers from Spanish into English. Likewise, Global Voices posts are frequently translated into other languages such as Portnoy's volunteer translations into Chinese and Miguel Esquirol's weekly translation of Eduardo Ávila's Bolivia coverage.
As chance would have it, yesterday was UNESCO's international Mother Language Day with this year's theme fittingly devoted to “languages and cyberspace.” It stirred little conversation in the blogosphere, but the website is full of interesting and informative resources including links to related projects and the newly revised Atlas of the World's Languages in Danger of Disappearing (how many bloggers do you know writing in Wayuu?)
Another initiative promoting multilingualism online, however, does seem to be gathering some major steam. Liz Henry of the American Literary Translators Association Blog is the driving force behind this year's first annual Carnival of Blog Translation which will take place on Tuesday February 28th.
On the day of the Carnival, a participant translates one post by another blogger, and posts it on her own blog with a link to the original. She would need to email me, or post in the comments right here, and I'll compile one big post on the day of the Carnival with links to all the participants. You can translate any blog entry that was posted in the month of February 2006. It can be your own blog entry, if you like.
Henry says the idea came from a conversation about bilingual blogging at the last BlogHer conference. Among the numerous participants are Patrick Hall who says he will translate a post from Welsh to English and Darren Kuropatwa, a math teacher in Canada who uses weblogs in the classroom and notes “the students in my school collectively speak over 50 different languages so I'm very interested in increasing accessibility to the students work in their parents native tongues.
If you are interested in taking part in the Carnival of Blog Translation, make sure to visit Liz Henry's announcement post. If you are interested in volunteering as a translator for Global Voices, please leave a comment below.