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New feature: Tag translation

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1timspalding
Edited: Jun 12, 2012, 12:53pm Top

Blog post here: http://www.librarything.com/blogs/librarything/2012/06/new-feature-tag-translati...

Can you turn it off? Yes, of course. Every tag cloud has a link to turn it off, on or on with coloring.

Bad translations: There are definitely bad translations out there, coming from Wikipedia. Examples.

* Tag "classics" ( http://www.librarything.de/tag/classics ) is translated like the field of study (eg., Klassische Altertumswissenschaft http://www.librarything.de/tag/classics in German ). This is sometimes the meaning in English too, but not usually.
* Tag "twilight" ( http://www.librarything.de/tag/Twilight ) is translated literally, which isn't used in some languages (eg., Crépuscule http://www.librarything.fr/tag/Twilight in French )
* Tag "pet" ( http://www.librarything.de/tag/pet ) got coopted by the Wikpedia redirect for "PET" ("Positron emission tomography"), making most languages translate it as PET.
* Pages that linked to disambiguation pages. I'm currently getting rid of these.

Voting: Voting, both on tag pages and on the helpers page ( http://www.librarything.com/helpers_tagtranslations.php ) is a bit odd. Members are encouraged to vote good translations up and bad translations down. But votes have been pre-populated too, to give Wikipedia tags some votes. Also, all tags get extra votes for meeting various criteria. Here are the rules currently.

+1 if source is Wikipedia
+1 if translation was already within the "combined tags" for the tag.
+1 if the Wikipedia page's English title was the same as the winning English tag (ie., not the same as a tag alias)
-1 if tag contains parentheses (designed to hurt "disambiguation" pages, may go away if we can kill those)

How does this affect tag combination? It doesn't. Tags should still be combined. This does away with one possible argument against tag combination, namely that tag-combination subordinates non-English tags to English-tags. Now it doesn't need to.

Because we've now got so much tag-translation data from Wikipedia, I will be making some sort of tool to find tag-translations that suggest combinations. (If you get that, you get it. If you don't, it's hard to explain.)

Why: We've had plans to do tag translation, and the user interface for it, kicking around for a year or more. We've discussed it before as a future thing. I hope it makes LibraryThing feel more "natural" to new visitors, since it was perhaps the most prominent site element that was totally untranslated.

To be perfectly frank, however, the impetus to push this now, and spend a few days finishing it, is that we have some major German customers for LibraryThing for Libraries and they're getting blow-back about English tags. LibraryThing for Libraries is doing surprisingly well overseas, but this is definitely a stumbling block for it.

ENGLISH translations. On another thread (http://www.librarything.com/topic/138298) a member noted tht LibraryThing has a number of mutli-language tags where English isn't "winning." Shouldn't LibraryThing members be able to translate those tags into English.

The short answer is: Yes. But it may not be done through tag translation, but rather through the canonization process used in CK. I haven't yet decided, but the goal is a good, certainly.

2AnnaClaire
Jun 12, 2012, 12:40pm Top

Will we be able to translate tags into English where the default -- even on the English-language .com site -- is in a foreign language? If not, is there some other action we can take?

I ask because the way tag translation works at the moment we're translating tags from English to other languages, and that assumes that tags are in English to begin with. Not all of them do, even when combined with the English tags. I've pointed out that "in French" points to "en français. BarkingMatt wondered about "Arquitetura Moderna" which includes the English "modern architecture." Unless these tags and others like them -- those in which the not-in-English version 'wins out' in combining -- this translation thing will be, at best, of variable usefulness.

3timspalding
Edited: Jun 12, 2012, 12:49pm Top

Sorry, I added a brief reply at the end of my first message. Short answer: Yes. Let's think about it a bit, though.

I think one ground rule would have to be that the tag's getting its non-English word from non-English speakers. That is, I don't think bildungsroman should be translated, because it's a technical term in English.

I'm also not convinced that I can't solve the problem technically. "Modern architecture" is going into Spanish because of a single user. Probably when deciding the final form of a combined tag, I should balance the total number of tags applied and the total number of users using them. That is, although "arquitectura modern" has the highest total number, it's coming from only one user.

4Nicole_VanK
Edited: Jun 12, 2012, 1:39pm Top

Why won't that helpers list change language? I can only vote on the proposals for German.

5timspalding
Jun 12, 2012, 1:46pm Top

Sorry. Changing now.

6andejons
Jun 12, 2012, 1:57pm Top

Why are the links in the original post to .de?

Could the default language to translate into be set to the one of the site you're on? I'm on se.librarything.com, so it's plausible that I'd enter more translations into Swedish than French.

Also, I tried to enter a translation, but nothing happened.

7timspalding
Jun 12, 2012, 2:12pm Top

Could the default language to translate into be set to the one of the site you're on? I'm on se.librarything.com, so it's plausible that I'd enter more translations into Swedish than French.

Fixed. It uses your language now.

Why are the links in the original post to .de?

I was illustrating specific things. What I was saying might not apply to other languages.

Also, I tried to enter a translation, but nothing happened.

Hmm. Anyone else. I just succeeded in adding one on the Turkish site.

http://tr.librarything.com/tag/bunnies

8Katya0133
Jun 12, 2012, 2:27pm Top

I've been successfully adding translations on the French site.

9timspalding
Jun 12, 2012, 2:34pm Top

Added a section for "Top helpers" on right of http://www.librarything.com/helpers_tagtranslations.php

10AnnaClaire
Jun 12, 2012, 3:54pm Top

Hmm... I think we might need threads to request help in voting down bad translations -- automatic or otherwise. It could include the "please vote against my bone-headed suggestion" notion seen in the 'Combiners!' group but also ask for help voting down bad auto-translations*. maybe there could be an additional thread asking for a "stupidity check" on translations, since I suspect the number of people with native fluency in multiple languages is fairly small -- even on a site as ostensibly literate as this one.

Only question is, what group? Or should we start one?

----------
* The automatic French translation for "New York" is "État de New York" -- a translation that really belongs over here. Looks like a few more translations need to be "moved" as well.

11lilithcat
Jun 12, 2012, 3:59pm Top

> 10

I think we might need threads to request help in voting down bad translations -- automatic or otherwise.

Agreed.

I'd think either the Taggers group or the Combiners! group. I lean towards the latter, as the threads for "vote yes"/"vote no" on tag combination are already there, and I think that group is more inclined to engage in these sorts of projects.

12timspalding
Jun 12, 2012, 4:13pm Top

I think we're going to need something where, if a translation goes to 0, it dies. That'll allow you to vote against your bone-headed suggestion and have it kill it.

13AnnaClaire
Jun 12, 2012, 4:37pm Top

>12 timspalding:
Yes, that should happen. Even if, for whatever reason, you can't kill a translation at 0 (even I know that computers are stupid sometimes), at least have a net vote of -1 be a tag translation's death warrant.

14prosfilaes
Edited: Jun 12, 2012, 9:04pm Top

So are Wikipedias going to be tapped that haven't already been tapped? Going on epo.LibraryThing.com doesn't show tag translations from eo.Wikipedia.org.

But apparently adding a translation to fantasy does know that it's the translation used on Wikipedia.

15SilentInAWay
Edited: Jun 13, 2012, 1:29pm Top

When, on a tag page, I attempt to enter an alternative translation for a language already in the list, I get the following error:

Duplicate entry 'spa-5334-9568035' for key 2
INSERT INTO tag_translations ( tagt_ttkey_from, tagt_ttkey_to, tagt_language, tagt_usernum, tagt_stamp ) values ( 5334, 9568035, 'spa', 131513, 1339551403 )

- fatal error (31.1)


For example, on the page for the tag world literature, the Spanish translation "Anexo:Literature por idioma" is presented for voting. I believe a better translation would be "literatura mundial" ("literatura por idioma" means, literally, "literature by language" and therefore corresponds more closely to "foreign language literature"). When I try to enter "literatura mundial" as an alternative Spanish translation (using the "Add tag translation" link), I get the error above.

(Edited to Fix Link)

16SilentInAWay
Jun 12, 2012, 9:42pm Top

Also, the list of languages in the "Add tag translation" dropbox is not sorted.

17prosfilaes
Jun 12, 2012, 10:06pm Top

http://epo.librarything.com/tagcloud.php isn't translated; this seems to be a very useful tag feature to translate, since it gives a quick list of useful tags to translate.

18Nicole_VanK
Jun 13, 2012, 4:05am Top

Do we have to be logged in to the other language site to make proposals?

19prosfilaes
Edited: Jun 13, 2012, 4:21am Top

#18: No; just click see all, add tag translation, and remember to set the language correctly.

20Nicole_VanK
Jun 13, 2012, 4:24am Top

Thanks.

21anglemark
Edited: Jun 13, 2012, 6:51am Top

For some reason, the SE code on Wikipedia is for Sámi, not Swedish. Swedish is SV. There are some interesting tag translations for Swedish now up here, I can tell you... ;)

22prosfilaes
Jun 13, 2012, 5:42am Top

#21: The se code on Wikipedia is for Sami instead of Swedish because the language tagging standard (ISO 639) says that se is for Sami. Country codes are in a separate name space then language codes.

23lilithcat
Jun 13, 2012, 8:30am Top

>18 Nicole_VanK:, 19

You must be on a non-English site. The tag translation option is not available on librarything.com.

24Nicole_VanK
Jun 13, 2012, 8:40am Top

Yes it is. It's not available for setting translations into English though - which I think is a bit odd.

25Nicole_VanK
Jun 13, 2012, 8:54am Top

Not that I mind, I'll do my bit. But this is going to be one humungous task.

26lilithcat
Jun 13, 2012, 8:58am Top

> 24

Where then? The option to "add tag translation" does not appear when one follows your advice in #19 to "click see all".

27andejons
Jun 13, 2012, 10:31am Top

>7 timspalding:

Might just be Swedish? Or are you not supposed to be done with shifting to svwiki?

28timspalding
Jun 13, 2012, 10:54am Top

When, on a tag page, I attempt to enter an alternative translation for a language already in the list, I get the following error

Duplicates only occur when the same base tag ("love") acquires the same translation ("amor") in the same language ("spanish"). I've stopped the error from showing, but is this what you were trying to do?

Do we have to be logged in to the other language site to make proposals?

You have to be logged into whatever site you're on, but you can propose translations on any language from any site.

http://epo.librarything.com/tagcloud.php isn't translated; this seems to be a very useful tag feature to translate, since it gives a quick list of useful tags to translate.

Yes, I agree. That's one issue. The other is the Swedish issue.

You must be on a non-English site. The tag translation option is not available on librarything.com.

No, it's available on all the sites.

Where then? The option to "add tag translation" does not appear when one follows your advice in #19 to "click see all".

I see it. Perhaps you're not signed in?

29Nicole_VanK
Jun 13, 2012, 11:13am Top

> 26: It's way down on the tag page. Even below "Google Books Ngram Viewer". First you see "see all", click that and you'll also get an "add tag translation" option.

30lilithcat
Jun 13, 2012, 11:25am Top

> 29

Oh!

That's odd. If I'm on one of the other language sites, I get to it from the tag list on the main book page, which is what I thought you were referring to. The option doesn't exist there on the .com site that I can see.

> 28

I see it. Perhaps you're not signed in?

I'm always signed in! But see above. It seems to be a matter of having the option on the tag page, but not on the main book page (unlike the non-English sites).

31timspalding
Jun 13, 2012, 11:37am Top

I'm always signed in! But see above. It seems to be a matter of having the option on the tag page, but not on the main book page (unlike the non-English sites).

Ah, but the "option" on book pages is just to show or not show, not to edit translations for a specific tag.

32lilithcat
Jun 13, 2012, 12:07pm Top

> 31

But I can translate the tags from there on the non-English sites, just by clicking on the tag, and that's where the confusion arose.

33Crypto-Willobie
Jun 13, 2012, 12:23pm Top

I gotta get new glasses... I read the subject line as "Tao Translations" and thought someone was looking for recommendations....

34Katya0133
Jun 13, 2012, 12:57pm Top

Tim, if you made the translated tags show up in the all LT tag cloud, that might help us knock out some highly used (and therefore high priority?) tags.

In other news, I'm having fun learning how to say things like "wormhole" and "language death" in French.

35timspalding
Jun 13, 2012, 11:59pm Top

I'm very sorry it's "trou de ver." I mean, I now know what "worm" is in French, but they should have their own cool name.

Speaking of ver, however, maybe this is what Prinn's De Vermis Mysteriis is all about.

36anglemark
Jun 14, 2012, 3:52am Top

I wouldn't know, I haven't read it. I am comforted to hear you haven't either.

37Katya0133
Jun 14, 2012, 7:55am Top

>I'm very sorry it's "trou de ver." I mean, I now know what "worm" is in French, but they should have their own cool name.

Eh, I don't mind calques. They certainly make this kind of work easier.

38lemontwist
Jun 14, 2012, 9:21am Top

I must be completely stupid but how exactly do you suggest a translation?

39inkcrow
Jun 14, 2012, 5:55pm Top

When you translate tags, should you capitalize or not capitalize common nouns? Common noun translations from Wikipedia have their first word capitalized. With member translations it varies.

Where can you alert and discuss bad translations?

40timspalding
Jun 14, 2012, 8:21pm Top

I must be completely stupid but how exactly do you suggest a translation?

At the bottom of the tag page there's a section for tag translation. Depending on whether you're on English or another language, the link may be there or beneath a "see all" link.

41anglemark
Edited: Jun 15, 2012, 1:57am Top

Any timetable for when you think you have fixed Swedish -- including deleting all the prepopulated translations from the Sámi Wikipedia?

42timspalding
Jun 15, 2012, 9:55pm Top

The language list when you add a translation is now translated and sorted.

43timspalding
Jun 16, 2012, 12:36am Top

44SilentInAWay
Jun 16, 2012, 4:01am Top

Forgive me if this has been discussed elsewhere...

Should tag translation proceed like tag combination -- that is, should we only use words that have no other meanings? For example, the Spanish translation for periodical is periódico, which is also the Spanish word for newspaper. Niños means both children and boys (unless you use muchachos, which also means both boys and children).

At any rate, if we were to translate both periodical and newspaper as periódico, and both boys and children as niños, would this lead to some sort of emergent tag ambiguity, where at some deeper level periodical is equated with newspaper and boys is equated with children?

45Nicole_VanK
Edited: Jun 16, 2012, 4:15am Top

I don't think so. The aim, as I understand it, is to have users of the other language sites get to view all tags in their own language.

But I agree the fact that there will sometimes be multiple versions of the "same" tag will cause some confusion on the other language sites.

I do try to keep things disambiguous though. For example: I think Dutch for "American" should be "Amerikaan(s)", since Dutch uses different forms for the noun and the adjective. Not elegant, but I think that's the best we can do.

(edited to fix typo)

46Nicole_VanK
Jun 17, 2012, 4:13am Top

But some tags provide real problems. For example "Stamps" - it's mostly about postage stamps (apparently), which would translate to "postzegels" in Dutch. But it's sometimes about rubber stamps, which would translate to "stempels" in Dutch.

Translating it to "Postzegels / Stempels" would seem ridiculous to Dutch speaking people. Since the words are totally unrelated, in our mind there is no association between the objects they represent.

47inkcrow
Edited: Jun 17, 2012, 1:04pm Top

More problematic translations, this time in Finnish:

Book club was translated as kirjakerho. The translation is correct, if it is a book sales club. If it is a book discussion club, it should be translated as lukupiiri. It is often difficult to know, which kind of club the tagger was thinking about.

Which is the best way to translate the tag? The Finnish tag lukupiiri is far more popular than kirjakerho. Is this a good way to estimate, which meaning is used more often?

48SilentInAWay
Jun 17, 2012, 1:49pm Top

>46 Nicole_VanK: Yeah, I keep coming across examples like this too -- most of the time, I choose the more likely translation.

Just now, however, I submitted two Spanish translations for borders -- fronteras (e.g., borders between countries) as well as bordes (i.e., edges). Looking at the books that have been tagged borders, it seems that this label has also been used quite a bit as a synonym for boundaries. Would it be overkill to add a third translation (límites), since voting will result in only one translation being selected overall?

49timspalding
Jun 17, 2012, 3:03pm Top

Which is the best way to translate the tag? The Finnish tag lukupiiri is far more popular than kirjakerho. Is this a good way to estimate, which meaning is used more often?

I suspect so. You can't be sure. Maybe in very difficult cases the best translation would be "A or B"?

50Nicole_VanK
Jun 18, 2012, 10:20am Top

Some of the auto-translations are very funny. Apparently "Ian Hodgkinson" is French for vampire ;-)

51andejons
Jun 18, 2012, 10:59am Top

It seems that the Northern Sami "translations" are still there for Swedish. Is there any way to get a list of them?

52Nicole_VanK
Jun 23, 2012, 3:03pm Top

Any chance of Tim (or any other of the PTB) chiming in on this predicament?

http://www.librarything.com/topic/138714

Please.

53timspalding
Jun 24, 2012, 11:33am Top

Sorry. I'll attend to it tonight. Apologies.

54Nicole_VanK
Jun 25, 2012, 4:44am Top

No worries.

55timspalding
Jun 25, 2012, 7:56am Top

Sorry. Conference is killing me. Tomorrow/today after it ends and Abby, Kate and I are at airport.

56Nicole_VanK
Jun 25, 2012, 8:17am Top

Relax.

57Nicole_VanK
Jun 28, 2012, 7:49am Top

Sure we want an answer - if we can get one, but we need you guys alive and well too.

58Nicole_VanK
Jun 30, 2012, 1:57pm Top

Since you seem to be back on your feet Tim, please, if you get a chance: http://www.librarything.com/topic/138714

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