We spoke with Alain Schaefer about the success he has overseen as the advocate for the German translation team. Here’s what he had to say!
Tell us a little bit about the story of how the German translation effort got started.
The German Translation effort was started in 2012 by a few dedicated contributors who mainly produced videos for the YouTube channel in the beginning. In the beginning everybody was mainly working on the topics where they had their own interests.
What were the biggest trials and tribulations along the way? What problems are specific to the German language?
Being a loose community who finds itself over the internet, we need to form a team with a common goal. This takes time and communication to reach agreements and people have to prioritize the common goal over their particular interests. Especially tricky is to make everybody use the same terminology as the many passerby contributors do not necessarily read our Vademecum [handbook] first. The German language distinguishes between polite (Sie) and colloquial (Du) for the english ‘you’. As a community we have taken the decision to use the colloquial ‘du’. But still many people submit translations with the more formal ‘Sie’.
Tell us what you think are the biggest strengths of your team.
We are a very diverse Team living scattered over the whole globe. This brings experience from many different backgrounds together and we can literally work 24 hours. But the strongest point is, that everybody can subordinate their own interest to the major goal to complete first Basic and High School Maths to have this small portion of KA complete.
What is your advice for language communities that are hoping to have a test site one day?
Focus your efforts from the very first day so everybody translates/works on the same topics. When you complete one subject e.g. Early-Math celebrate in whatever form. Then move to the next subject. Write and maintain a common glossary of the translation terms, and advertise its usage especially to every new contributor joining your team.
What are your goals for the future?
Our dream is to become a Live Site Language working as professionally as the Brazilian, Spanish, French or Turkish Team and also organize events like the Bay Area Learnstorm. Our community is now growing and already became tax-exempted NGO, the structure needed to one day, hopefully, achieve this target.