In celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month and emphasizing the importance of being prepared for a professional world, LaGuardia Community College (LAGCC) welcomed Angie Cruz on October 31st in the E-building’s Poolside Café. Ms. Cruz, who previously visited the campus in 2017, is an Associate Professor at the University of Pittsburgh, writer of short stories and […]
If you have a desire for learning how to edit articles and translate them into different languages, then the Wikipedia Translat-a-thon is a wonderful place to start.
In its inaugural year at LaGuardia Community College, the Wikipedia Translat-a-thon took place on April 26th and 27th, giving students the opportunity to understand the importance of editing Wikipedia articles into other languages.
As visitors entered the room, they were asked to sign-in and were greeted by the coordinators of the Translat-a-thon, Professor Ximena Gallardo, an English Professor here at LaGuardia, along with fellow co-coordinators Dr. Tara Coleman also from the English Department, Dr. Tomonori Nagano from the ELA Department, and Professor Thomas Cleary, the library’s archivist.
Visitors were tasked with choosing the languages they were interested in translating, figuring out what articles they wanted to translate and whether they would work with a team or Wikipedia trainer. There was also a list of recommended articles to translate.
If you have a favorite show, athlete, celebrity or something else you have a true passion for and knowledge of, then that specific thing would be the most viable option for you to edit and translate. If for example, you were an NBA fan, you could attempt to edit some major star pages. However, you might find that the more famous the star is, the less of a chance you will have to edit their Wikipedia page.
For those who are only able to speak one language fluently, they were only able to edit articles instead of editing and translating them into a different language.
Of the students who participated in the Translat-a-thon, many rolled the dice and were able to come out with fantastic results. One student translated Ronny Lynn Jackson’s Wikipedia page into Ukrainian. Mr. Jackson was the White House physician for Presidents Barack Obama and later, for President Donald Trump. Also, Keanu Reeves’ article was translated into Tagalog, a language spoken in the Philippines, while another student chose to translate the Wikipedia page for the neighborhood of Prospect Heights into Spanish. Other translated articles included a video-game translated to Haitian-Creole and Cardi B’s Wikipedia page to Arabic. These translations only scratch the surface of what could be edited. With so many languages, the possibilities of translating an article of your choosing to another language are endless.
Also, in attendance at the event was Jim Henderson, a Wikipedian who began editing in 2006 when he first heard about the then-newly created website. Mr. Henderson said: “When people told me about an online encyclopedia that anyone can edit, I didn’t believe it. I thought there was some sort of trick to it, but when I saw that tab I could click that says edit, I found myself just doing it.”
Mr. Henderson is an editing coach who guides new editors and has thousands of articles on his watchlist, a feature of Wikipedia that allows you to keep watch of specific articles for any changes. Whenever an article is edited, that specific version of the article is saved, creating thousands of versions of that article. It also allows for editing coaches like Mr. Henderson to keep track and look out for any mistakes that need to be fixed or block users from making false edits.
He also sorts and uploads thousands of photographs on Wikimedia Commons, a free collection of media files that anyone can contribute to. Mr. Henderson takes photographs of places using a camera with GPS, then later does research on the location through its coordinates.
Mr. Henderson explained: “We organized a club in New York City for people who wanted to edit articles, then the Edit-a-thon was created, and we started going to libraries. Through networking, we gradually came into contact with CUNY librarians.”
Like Mr. Henderson, students also expressed the same enthusiasm when they learned at the event how to edit and translate Wikipedia articles.
As the event concluded, Professor Gallardo informed those remaining that there would be a group photo taken to commemorate the inaugural Wikipedia Translat-a-thon at LaGuardia.
When asked the purpose of the Wikipedia Translat-a-thon, Professor Gallardo said, “Traditionally, the production of knowledge was in the hands of institutions such as governments, universities, corporations, journalists, and writers. The advent of the internet has made it possible for all members of the community to be knowledge producers.”
She added: “Since one particular strength of our campus is its cultural pluralism–so many people who straddle several languages and ways of seeing the world–it makes sense that we would use our knowledge to improve and advance one of the most used reference resources in the world: Wikipedia”.