Update of Shogi book open-source translation

As my previous entry, an interesting experiment to translate a Japanese book into other languages is way under way, and there are some exciting updates from the original author Mr. Mochio Umeda.

He showed the 1st version English translation, led by Shota Yakushiji, to his American friends, and their reaction was quite pleasing.

"The translated text is quite clear; there was no sense of “what does this mean?” or, am I getting the right meaning?” So that is very good. In some places, there are Japanese characters still retained in the translation, which gives rise to some ambiguity, but overall the number of such instances is small. There are a few grammatical errors, but I think that is inevitable. Even when there is such an error, the meaning of the text is still clear, which is very good.

So - I would say the quality of English is very good for practical purposes, but not great. Another way to look at it is: a web reader would find the text perfectly fine (i.e., willing to put up with minor inconvenience), but someone who has paid for a translated copy of the book might not. Given that this is an ‘open-source’ effort, I think it is VERY good."

"I've been following the translation project with interest, but today was the first that I've actually taken a look at the English-lang version.

First reaction: Wow. This is actually a readable piece of work!

By readable I mean both (1) not perfect, but perfectly tolerable and (2) probably more enjoyable if I was only genuinely interested in the subject. I think readers who are interested in the topic would be willing to overcome some lumpy / awkward translations anyway, but I -- as someone who doesn't find the subject as interesting (sorry!) -- too find it quite acceptable.

Congratulations. This is a super-exciting example of how an open-sourced volunteer translation can do, on the cheap and with speed!"

While English version was up and is currently edited on open-source manner, French version project manager Mr. Yoshihisa Yamada is expanding his reach.  He reached out to English/French bilingual person to help out, based on the 1st draft of English version. 

It is unfortunate but simple fact that there are more "English/xxx" bilingual people than "Japanese/xxx" people, so by utilizing the English version, albeit imperfect, they can broaden the potential open-source translation community by probably in the order of x100.

So Mr. Yamada decided to expand his horizon even more, by soliciting volunteers to start other "English/xxx" projects.  He sent e-mails to all the embassies in Tokyo from all around the world, asking to forward the request to join the effort to Shogi organization in their own countries.  So far, he received a few replies, including good possibility of "English/Polish" and "English/Spanish" projects.

The reason that I am interested in this project is because I - as many other Japanese-origin Net-people, including Mr. Umeda himself - have been struggling to find ways to participate in "English-centric Web world," and this could be a breakthrough solution.  It has been a hot topic among Net opinion leaders in Japan, as many are concerned that Japan is becoming more and more isolated from the central trend in the Web.  European languages are similar to English to start with, and top intellects in emerging countries have to learn English.  But Japanese is so different, and at the same time, Japan is too big an economy and people can do perfectly fine without learning English thus less incentive to do so.

So I am keeping curious eyes on this project.  Any of the readers of this blog is welcome to help out, of course!!