Aymara Translation Sprint


The "Trasnoche de Traducción Aymará" started at 6 pm, Bolivia time (+/- EST), of Friday, September 12. Much fun was had as the evening went on by about a dozen volunteers, mostly from the Linux community who were quite interested in the Sugar interface and the XOs but, alas, mostly were not Aymara savvy. However, our 3 "Aymaristas" got agreement on 58 strings, so we have just about 2.500 to go. The first string translated was "Name:", as when a kid names the XO. That will be "Suti:" for us...

Working throughout the night

The "Impeesa" Scout Group acted as the support team, feeding and watering the volunteers.

No live internet connectivity was available for the event, par for the course as internet infrastructure goes here - 1 Mbs ADSL costs $365 per month. I had to walk half an hour to find an open internet cafe to send this.

Poedit is giving us issues, and the wished-for LAN Pootle server that had worked just fine during test time the day before didn't operate either when needed, so we're on manual mode. Let's call it a start for the time being, a bit away from a resounding success yet.

On somewhat unrelated news, the city of La Paz, where we are, is actually quite calm while the rest of the country is facing much unrest. The current political situation in Bolivia brings vividly to mind the need to support quality education, so future generations will be able to find ways to get their act together better than ours seems to.

Sunday update:

An enthusiastic team kept working well past the 6 pm official end time on Saturday 13th to do as much as possible for the translation of Sugar to Aymara, in La Paz, Bolivia, proving that if we had started slow on Friday, that was no reason to do less than all that was possible.

The Aymará translation team

Some of the basic Sugar PO files were localized to 100%, though none have yet been uploaded to the official Pootle server as of Monday the 15th. Connectivity is a major issue, and such infrastructure limitations will likely be a challenge to future deployments in this South American country.

The usual fun of finding suitable terms was had by all for this ancient language learning new tricks. The "Memorize" Activity will be understood now as the "Safekeep In My Head" Activity among Aymara kids, as rousing matches of wits happened between the etymologists and the semanticists to figure out the best term that would convey the right meaning, and we are glad we have been so far spared the major religious wars existing between Aymara pentavocalists and trivocalists and others such issues. I make a mention of this, because the next steps such as fine tuning quality and reaching acceptance are not in the bag yet, as no consensus exists among specialist in this language for spelling, grammar, and obviously neologisms.

Yet the news this week for Bolivia was not this advance in computer-based education. As other events unfolded, concern for the future of our country was high among those working in the Scouting District Center of La Paz. While our personal safety was not in jeopardy, we were aware that the best we could do under the circumstances was to keep working, and so we did. We all hope that helping the Aymara find their voice and role through OLPC tools will help do a little towards our country achieving mutual respect among those of different races and cultures, within our borders, and with those working to build a whole world community, where quality education for all is a reality.

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The Language will survive the country.

Whatever the future has in store for Bolivia, what you all did for the language now will most likely survive the turmoil and even yourself (if you find a connection to upload it :-).



The language has attracted interest because it is based on a three value logic system,[citation needed] and thus supposedly has better expressiveness than many other languages based on binary logic.

It is cited by the author Umberto Eco in The Search for the Perfect Language as a language of immense flexibility, capable of accommodating many neologisms. Ludovico Bertonio published Arte de la lengua aymara in 1603. He remarked that the language was particularly useful for expressing abstract concepts. In 1860 Emeterio Villamil de Rada suggested it was "the language of Adam" (la lengua de Adán). Guzmán de Rojas has suggested that it be used as an intermediary language for computerised translation.

The English sentences prepare for what lies before us and we are facing a prosperous future, and possibly the Chinese word 未來 (lit. not yet come, meaning future) exemplify this metaphor. In contrast, Aymara seems to encode the past as in front of individuals, and the future in back.

"In contrast, Aymara seems to encode the past as in front of individuals, and the future in back."

A very logical position, as you can see the past, but not the future. People always predict the future from the past.

The Chinese use top-down as past-future (maybe influenced by their writing direction).

Anyhow, languages are selected based on "who pays the piper selects the music".


Aymara, with the three value logic system, may be an good language to fully foobar the twext :) an issue with twext translation is whether to translate literal chunks or to translate the intent of the chunks.. preliminary testing is showing that translating the intent is required, while including the literal translation is helpful.. more context = more learning

for example, if in Aymara the past is forward and the future is backward, then we're likely to need both literal translation and intended meaning.. with both translations we get more context to produce more learning.. hard to say in theory, but we can finally try in practice:

http://alpha.twext.com is alpha testing twexter now.. login username is "test", password is "test".. it's just an alpha test right now but we are finally able to twext text between any language, even dialect.. so now the Aymara can get twext with any other language..

feedback on alpha twexter is easy.. just include it in description of a twext doc, jump on the wiki at twext.com, or email twext@tudisco.com.. feedback will help us a lot and is much appreciated, thanks

Jason Tudisco is the guy doing the software and he's doing a really great job.. we're alpha testing twexter now through october, and aim to have a stable version 0.1 before november.. when the real beta testing starts we'll hope to have a nice new story for olpcnews :)