How does language affect the ability of non-native English speakers who use GBIF-mediated data to communicate, either with GBIF network staff or each other?
Do we need a separate category, at the same level as ‘Data Publishing’ and the others? Should we encourage forum users to post topics in any language, and then rely our own language communities (or, if need be, machine translations) to bridge any communication gaps?
What do you think?
Yes, it’s my experience, working regularly in Latin America that having a Spanish version of the website and all its relevant elements would considerably increase participation from that part of the world. By the way, a part of the world with unique biodiversity, so it’s worthwhile making information on this asset available through GBIF.
Thanks, Paul—your point is well-taken.
And actually, we couldn’t agree more. That’s why we’re currently working with our Spanish- and Japanese-language communities to translate both the user interface of GBIF.org (e.g. https://www.gbif-uat.org/es | https://www.gbif-uat.org/ja ) and an almost-defined set of ‘minimum content’ for translations.
The question here was fishing for opinions on separate language-only categories or discussion threads here within the forum. Although I’m by no means inclined to close such a discussion, the responses we’ve gotten thus far suggest we may be better encouraging forum users to post in whatever languages they prefer, given the ubiquity and ease of access to reasonably good machine translation engines from Google and Bing.
I am happy to see the efforts directed towards more Spanish on the GBIF website - however, do not forget the practical value of printed materials also in Spanish -
in my surroundings there are several Internet/email fora that have a special Spanish version available - people in Latin America need to feel confident submitting a comment to the discussion in their own language, rather than using (sometimes awfully confusing) machine translations - these (in my experience) do not help to clarify issues and often even lead to great confusion - these tools, however impressive they are, perhaps just serve to find out what a certain comment is about, but it might be that the details completely escape or come across distorted -
this confirms my viewpoint that for Latin America a Spanish GBIF section altogether would be the best solution, covering a huge area from Mexico to Tierra de Fuego, and Spain itself of course - this connects with a suggestion I just made to Laura concerning a focused effort for that part of the world - perhaps the GBIF node in Panama that I am currently helping to develop, could act as a sort of regional focal point for GBIF .... - I appreciate your views on this -