Massively multilingual short stories

This week, I started work on a series of short texts in English, that can be translated and reused in any language. These are really just a test and a benchmark to see if the idea can work, following a discussion on Reddit about another similar project.

And so far, so good.

The idea is to work with the community at Tatoeba, who have translated thousands of sentences and sentence pairs into over 400 languages. under a cc-by-sa licence. That means anyone is allowed to use the sentences, so long as they continue share them and give credit to the authors.

Anyone can contribute sentences, and anyone can translate: but you must only translate into your mother tongue. (That of course is a bit of a problem for Latin, so in practice ignored in this case.)

What we are asking Tatoeba volunteers is a bit different to normal, but fits their model. We split our stories into sentences and sentence pairs that make sense on their own. We create “lists” at Tatoeba so the whole stories can be seen there. And in about an afternoon, a ten sentence basic dialogue has been translated from English, into Spanish, Esperanto and German.

I’ve posted two more stories, and we will see how they get on. 

The big question is: would teachers and students like to help? You can write any kind of story. There are a couple of rules:

  1. You must write your story yourself
  2. You must split the story into sentences or sentence pairs that make sense on their own, so dialogues are a good format for this.
  3. You must post the sentence pairs to Tatoeba yourself, 
    1. or send them to us with a full copyright waiver (so we can ignore attribution issues, which tatoeba does not deal with well) – include the sentence “I release this material to the world under a CC-0 licence “ – you can email stories to 
    2. Or add them directly Wikiversity, including the same statement as above in the “notes” when you post them.
  4. If you post the stories directly to Tatoeba us know where to find them 

We will provide a more detailed guide to doing this yourself, but those are the easiest ways.

And the reward? Your story could be translated into dozens of languages! And we will publish them on Wikiversity at the Easy Readers project page.

As ever – if you like what we are doing with Latin videos, transcriptions, and finding new ways to produce open, reusable content, then please support us at Patreon.

Top image by Jason Lander, cc-by

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