9 July 2008

Does Wikisource respect the Wiki Idea?

Dear Readers,

One of the first post of this blog was the translation of "Mindless Menace of Violence", a famous and moving speech given by Sen. Robert Kennedy. This translation was planned as the first of a series of translation from English to Italian of the most famous and important speeches of former US President John Kennedy and his younger brother Sen. Robert Kennedy.

I thought that such a translation could have been somehow useful (although no perfect) to Italian readers who are not familiar with English yet. Therefore I decided to create (in order to enlarge the audience.) a new page in Wikisource, since Wikipedia was not the most suitable platform for pure speeches.

In the Italian section of Wikisource, I immediately noticed the presence of several speeches given by the shameful Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.
Consequently, I thought that if there was space for him, there must be space for Sen. Robert Kennedy too! But unfortunately, the group maintaining Wikisource did not agree with that...
As a direct consequence, my translation have been not accepted, and one of the justifications is that I am not an official English translator...
In other words it means that a translation can be accepted by Wikisource only if it is provided by some official sources (of course only if the performing rights are already lapsed) or by some professional translators willing to translate something for free (I challenge them to find any!) .

This mind-set is, in my opinion, totally absurd, since it is pratically impossible to get any official translation of any speech given by some contemporary leaders at the conditions mentioned above. In other words, Wikisource is somehow depriving us of some important information and acting in this way is condemned to contain only obsolete speeches to whom nobody is interested in!

Another reason behind the rejection of my translation was that my English could be not professional enough (note: a statement done without having read the translated text).
That is obvious and it was not in my plan to prove to have a proficiency level!
But I also know that the Wiki idea is to contribute to the writing phase of an article as much (and as good) as you can. Afterwards someone else will fix your imperfections and the process will converge after few iterations!
I heard from someone that the Wiki idea of contributions is dangerous, since it can lead to deliberately modified versions/translations. Of course, this can happen, but it is a risk that is worth to be taken, because someone can deliberately modify a text, but the same text will be later on correct by the world community. Who still believes that this represents a danger is probably someone who has a narrow mindset and who does not trust the freedom of the internet community.

Any way, I cannot force a group of blind persons to suddenly become sighted and I honestly do not care about that. From my side, I will continue to translate and post here speeches given by important contemporary leaders.

For obvious reasons I cannot translate the speeches in all the most important spoken languages (i.e. Spanish, French, German, Chinese, Arabian and Russian). Therefore, if anyone of you is willing to translate any of the speeches I published or totally new ones, please let me know. I will publish them straightforward!
All the best!

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