[Tagging] Language - was Accepted or rejected?

Kotya Karapetyan kotya.lists at gmail.com
Wed Mar 18 12:17:36 UTC 2015

Having lived in Russia and Germany for quite a while, I can confirm that
the language barrier definitely plays a strong role. A lot of people in
Russia will never use the English-language internet at all. I think the
same holds for France, Spain and Italy, to a lesser extent for Germany. In
the Netherlands where I live now the average level of English is very good;
however a lot of people (even working in international companies) still
barely speak English and will definitely find it hard to participate in
non-Dutch discussions.

Regarding the culture, I don't think it makes participation difficult due
to understanding. However, each culture will have mapping-relevant
differences. In that respect, it would be difficult for people from other
cultures to follow.

A good example would be a Russian-OSM discussion of how to tag street names
in terms of the word order. It would be irrelevant in English or German,
but in Russian you can say "Улица Пушкина" and "Пушкина улица". Both are
perfectly understandable for a Russian speaker, the difference is also
clear and relevant for sorting and search. However both are translated the
same into English or German.

Besides that, some things probably only exist in some countries. Say,
discussing volcano tagging in German may be less relevant than doing the
same in Icelandic.

Note that now we are approaching the OSM internationalization consequences
rather than just the question of mailing list discussions.


On Wed, Mar 18, 2015 at 7:54 AM, Marc Gemis <marc.gemis at gmail.com> wrote:

> On Wed, Mar 18, 2015 at 7:44 AM, David Bannon <dbannon at internode.on.net>
> wrote:
>> Marc, do you find the English speakers here anything less than
>> supporting ?  What about use of expressions or references to popular
>> culture, does that make it harder do you think ?
> No, I have no problems with the English speaking community myself, but I'm
> lucky to be rather fluent in English. And I learn new words as I follow the
> mailing lists :-).
> On the other hand, I also follow lists in German and French, but I am very
> reluctant to participate in those discussions, as my language skills are
> not good enough for that.
> So I imagine that this is the case for other people and English.
> | And thats a pretty good point. But to fork off each discussion onto a
> | new language list would fracture the discussion. We'd need a person
> totally agree with that. But right now, you also see that proposals are
> made in local communities that never make it to the general mailing list.
> The Lübeck bicycle tagging scheme comes to mind.
> and look at the wiki pages in German. I took a lot of historic or animal
> related tagging from there, because there is no English page for those
> topics.
> Unfortunately I have no solution for this, I can only regret that
> participation to the tagging mailing list is for some limited by language
> knowledge.
> regards
> m
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