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A Tokyo trip report

A Tokyo trip report

Posted Jul 19, 2007 8:16 UTC (Thu) by evgeny (guest, #774)
In reply to: A Tokyo trip report by elanthis
Parent article: A Tokyo trip report

Right. We struggle so much for interoperability of computing systems yet try to keep political correctness about interoperability between people. Certainly, unless some global catastrophic disruptions happen, the mankind will largely speak a single language in 100-200 years or so from now. I believe the amount of work-time needed to translate all available in English technical documentation to another language is larger than the time to learn English for all people that speak that given language. And this disproportion will only grow with time.

PS. I don't speak English natively.


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A Tokyo trip report

Posted Jul 19, 2007 9:35 UTC (Thu) by NAR (subscriber, #1313) [Link]

mankind will largely speak a single language in 100-200 years or so from now

I don't think, but still, it's really useful to learn English, not only to participate in free software projects, but it's quite good if one travels to foreign countries (people living from tourism tend to speak English even in Japan or France) or to read the newest Harry Potter book when it's published, not when it's translated. There's a Hungarian proverb: "you're as many people as many language you speak", which is very true.

Bye,NAR

A Tokyo trip report

Posted Jul 19, 2007 10:44 UTC (Thu) by micka (subscriber, #38720) [Link]

> people living from tourism tend to speak English even in Japan or France

Well, don't be so sure ;) At least in France, it's really far from the truth...

A Tokyo trip report

Posted Jul 26, 2007 5:50 UTC (Thu) by renox (subscriber, #23785) [Link]

> France) or to read the newest Harry Potter book when it's published, not when it's translated.

The correlation between tourism and speaking English is not that good: France,Italy and Spain are the first countries for the tourism in Europe but nothern country are much better for the language skills (I'm French).

As for Harry Potter books, they are not very good to learn English: too hard as many words are related to mythical creature, etc, and Lois Mac Master Bujold or Asimov books are much better :-)

A Tokyo trip report

Posted Jul 19, 2007 9:44 UTC (Thu) by pcampe (guest, #28223) [Link]

>Certainly, unless some global catastrophic disruptions happen, the mankind
>will largely speak a single language in 100-200 years or so from now.

200 years from now, we have real-time, multi-language, inch-size translators, so won't be the need for a global language, an impoverishment from the cultural diversity and richness we have now with many different languages with millions of books and documents written.

If I can say, I've noted that a very tiny part of american people care about speaking a foreign language, so they underestimate the difficult for a non-english speaking person to use another language for everyday's work, and I guess that if american are not so american-centric, this would help a lot in interoperability between people.

A Tokyo trip report

Posted Jul 19, 2007 10:37 UTC (Thu) by evgeny (guest, #774) [Link]

> 200 years from now, we have real-time, multi-language, inch-size translators, so won't be the need for a global language, an impoverishment from the cultural diversity and richness we have now with many different languages with millions of books and documents written.

If these "real-time, multi-language, inch-size translators" are so good, the "millions of books" would be translated with no problem.

> If I can say, I've noted that a very tiny part of american people care about speaking a foreign language

People are lazy; true for any nationality/locality. Americans are lucky to be born in a country where the native language is (as of today, at least) the least common denominator in science and business.

> so they underestimate the difficult for a non-english speaking person to use another language for everyday's work

Don't envy ;-). The more people learn English today, the sooner your dream of "inch-size translators" will become reality...

A Tokyo trip report

Posted Jul 19, 2007 14:30 UTC (Thu) by Hanno (guest, #41730) [Link]

> 200 years from now, we have

First, I want the jetpacks, the flying cars and the moon colonies they promised me for seven years ago.

A Tokyo trip report

Posted Jul 19, 2007 18:02 UTC (Thu) by elanthis (guest, #6227) [Link]

It has less to do with not caring about other languages, and more just to do with practicality. If I am doing work in English, either I need to learn your language so you can help or you can learn my English so you can help. Guess which one I'll choose?

The same goes in reverse. There are a LOT of really cool things going on in non-English-speaking countries that I'm interested in, but it's not their job to convert all their stuff to English so I can participate. It's my job to learn their language. If I don't think it's worth the effort, then that's my choice, and my loss.

I wasn't saying that everything should be done in English, just that people shouldn't whine about how it's unfair that people in non-English-speaking countries have difficulty functioning in a largely English-speaking community of software development. If a translation of the documentation isn't available, and you want to participate... learn English. Yeah, that's really darn hard (learning any new language is hard), but that's just how reality is - it's in English, learn it or you don't get to use it. Simple.

A Tokyo trip report

Posted Jul 20, 2007 0:02 UTC (Fri) by giraffedata (subscriber, #1954) [Link]

just that people shouldn't whine about how it's unfair

Well in this article, at least, nobody's whining about unfairness. The whining is about the loss of the work the non-English speakers could do if not for the English lanuage barrier.

And it really is just whining, by the way. (Or, if you think that has negative connotations, it's pointing out a problem, not advocating a solution). I don't see anyone seriously suggesting a way to breach that language barrier that doesn't cost more than it would gain.

A Tokyo trip report

Posted Jul 19, 2007 22:26 UTC (Thu) by riel (subscriber, #3142) [Link]

Yeah, but Linux kernel developers would like to see more participation
from developers all around the world.

It is not a question of "not letting some people play", it is a question
of "how can we make it easier for people to contribute?". We can all
benefit from the contributions of more developers.


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