Minutes of May 16, 2007 Meeting

Triveni Kuchi, Nita Mukherjee, Jan Reinhart, Judit Ward, Ryan Womack


The first item of discussion was the languages to be prioritized for translation. A combination of factors was examined. These included language data for New Jersey from Census 2000 and American Community Survey 2005, information on the number of K-12 school districts with students speaking other languages at home (collected from the New Jersey School Report Card database), data on course enrollments for languages taught at Rutgers, and the significance of the language to both the local community and the international scholarly community.

The Task Force agreed on six languages as first priority: Spanish, Italian, Chinese, French, Arabic, and Portuguese. Spanish accounts for 50 percent of all non-English speakers in New Jersey, and absolutely must be present in the initial rollout of this feature on the web site. The other languages all have very large numbers across the board in the general and school population, and in Rutgers courses. Most, if not all, of these languages should have translations ready for the initial publication on the web site.

A second group of languages was identified for the second phase of the project. These languages all have sizeable local communities and/or international scholarly significance. These languages are: Korean, Polish, Tagalog, Hindi, Gujarati, Russian, Japanese, German, Hebrew, and Hungarian. For completeness, the Task Force will do its best to provide translations for all of these languages in the second phase of the project.

Issues surrounding some languages were discussed. For example, Gujarati is not a national language, as all of the other priority languages are. Most educated speakers also know Hindi. So it is more important to translate the documents into Hindi first, rather than Gujarati, although the NJ Gujarati community is very large.

Certain languages may have significant regional differences, such as Arabic and Chinese. The Task Force will consult with the native speakers identified as translators to decide whether a single text can adequately serve the entire community of speakers in these cases, or whether regional variations should be provided (e.g. Cantonese).

The Language Tables Excel file on the Sakai site provides additional listing of common NJ languages. There is no upper limit on the number of translations the Task Force will undertake, if willing translators come forward, but we will not actively pursue missing languages beyond those in the first two phases.


The committee spent considerable time revising the English Text for translation. Considerable improvements and refinements were made, which are captured in the revised Text, available on the Sakai site.


Jan provided a "Tips for Translators" document which provides many useful suggestions, and will be incorporated into the materials provided to translators working on the project. The group discussed some of the cross-cultural difficulties that arise in translation.


The Task Force discussed the organization of the remaining work. Ryan will ask for a web site describing the project to be added under the Public Services Council information, and then we will send out an announcement to RUL everyone asking for volunteer translators and proofreaders, under the auspices of PSC. In the meantime, Task Force members should approach any potential translators and inform them that the project is about to get started. Ryan will draft the announcement and circulate to the group for comment.

Beyond RUL, we will work with the language lab to find additional volunteers, and other contacts as necessary. We are seeking translators who have a high level of ability with the formal, written language. Every document will have at least one translator and one proofreader, and larger teams can also be formed. We will try to ensure that at least one native speaker will work on each language. We will require the submission of an electronic text, but will assist the translators with HTML markup as necessary.

URL: http://www.libraries.rutgers.edu/rul/staff/groups/rul_world_lang_tf/minutes/rul_world_lang_tf_07_05_16.shtml
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