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English ZnT Project Staff

PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2008 12:40 pm
by Const2k
It seems to me the time has come to update "Project Staff" section of English ZnT. Namely, we have way too much members listed as 'Active' while their last contributions (if any) to B-T Wiki were months ago. Here they are, with the dates of last activity on the Wiki:

- Claies (18 November 2007)
- christof (25 November 2007)
- naturesbless (24 August 2007)

- Se-Chan (never)
- BaKaFiSh (9 September 2007)
- Darkoneko (25 December 2006 - for ZnT)
- Rednal (21 August 2007)

However, it's hard for me to locate criteria of moving each of them to AWOL/MIA/KIA groups, as search refuses to give me such criteria (though I recall seeing them somewhere on B-T forums/wiki last year). So, could anyone give me (a link to) them?

The reason I'm speaking of this is that current ZnT staff section strongly misleads visitors, making them believe that ZnT translation is quite alive... This may cost us dearly - possible translators and editors can feel their services aren't needed, what is, obviously, absolutely wrong.
I understand that some of named people can be active on B-T "in general", but they aren't active specifically in English ZnT wiki project.
(BTW, I suppose AWOL & MIA groups might become closer to reality after having been reviewed as well...)

Another thing requiring attention: ZnT Translators' registration page has incomplete chapters assigned to inactive people as well. This prevents active translators from picking up these dropped chapters... Readers have choice of stopping at last consecutively translated (part of) volume or skipping important parts of story (e.g. vol.2 ch.9 - The Final Battle) in order to keep with latest translations.

These translators (given with their last activity):
Volume 2 Chapter 5 - naturesbless (24 August 2007)
Volume 2 Chapter 8 - Magus (14 August 2007, never on ZnT)
Volume 3 Chapter 1 - Strike Chaos (30 December 2007)
Volume 5 Chapter 1 - Vertiful (2 January 2008, never on ZnT)

I think they should be unregistered from these chapters as they make nothing good (at best) for ZnT project.
Any objections to me unassigning these chapters in a week?

Re: English ZnT Project Staff

PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2008 2:12 pm
by onizuka-gto
Project Overview pages should list the Translators and Staff Editors and their activity status. The idea is to get a general overview of the activity for each translator. There are five "levels" of activity, depending on how long it's been since anyone has had contact with them and if there is a known reason for them being inactive.

Active - Recently active, easily contacted. A.F.K. - Has declared that they will be away and inactive (vacation, school etc). A.W.O.L. - Hasn't been seen or heard from for two months. M.I.A. - Hasn't been seen or heard from for six months. K.I.A. - 14 months of absence, presumed dead or permanently imprisoned. ... view_Pages

As for the inactive registered translators issue, we don't touch them unless there is someone who is interested in translating it instead.

If there is someone interest, we first send a email, private message via the wiki or forum, asking them about the situation.

If they do not reply within one week, then we can remove them and let the new translator take over.

Re: English ZnT Project Staff

PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2008 5:36 pm
by Matt122004
I can verify that Veritful IS translating chapter 1 of the 5th novel, but he's having difficulty.

-Matt :)

Re: English ZnT Project Staff

PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2008 6:09 pm
by Jumpyshoes
Naturesbless is usually available on the IRC channel. He's being lazy right now... I don't know if he has any plans to finish translating it.

Re: English ZnT Project Staff

PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2008 1:13 am
by Const2k
Thanks for the link, oni - that's exactly what I meant. Somehow I even thought so... According to these criteria 'active translators/editors' are:
- users who translate/edit ("... given project", I assume?),
- users who don't translate/edit given project, but can be contacted easily.
The question is whether latter can be considered 'active translators/editors'. IMO they can't (since they do not actively translate/edit), and having them listed as such is harmful for the project itself (see reasons in my previous post).

"As for the inactive registered translators issue, we don't touch them unless there is someone who is interested in translating it instead. If there is someone interest, we first [...]"
That's highly unlikely to happen, and I'll explain why. Imagine you're a translator who's willing to help B-T with ZnT translation. You come to registration page and see a lot of ZnT chapters. All first chapters are either completed or taken, last chapters are free to take. Which one will you take, first (already taken) or last (free)? Probably you've already seen a list of many 'active translators' on main ZnT page as well...
And almost the same applies to editors.
It seems to me that's the reason Momogan, the most (if not the only) active ZnT translator, has started his translation from vol.3 ch.2, and now we have two non-finished volumes instead of 1 finished (2nd one) and one half-translated (3rd one).

To be short, translator who translates nothing and editor without edits aren't translator and editor IMO. Even if they translate/edit other project, they shouldn't be listed as 'active' in ZnT.
Current definition of 'activity' doesn't serve well and needs to be specified. Stated idea "to get a general overview of the activity for each translator" fits "Current Staff" page better (if there's need for it); project overview page should provide "general overview of the activity for each translator of this project" IMO (and the same applies to editors).
Unfortunately, ZnT project lacks supervisor, so there's no one to address these problems to... It looks like we, users, will have to become 'collective' supervisor instead.
So, to unregister inactive users, I, for example, will have to ask them directly whether they're going to translate given chapter; and if I get negative response/don't get it at all within a week, I'm free to proceed, am I right?

Matt122004, do you know why doesn't he publish what he's already translated? He could continue his translation while editors could (meanwhile) check his partial script (for example, like we did to Naturesbless's vol.2 ch.5)...

Jumpyshoes, Naturesbless seems to be of "doesn't translate/edit given project, but can be contacted easily" type. He hasn't been contributing to wiki almost for 6 months; could you ask him to publish what he's translated since the end of August? Contigious progress of vol.1-2 translation is stopping at chapter 5...

Re: English ZnT Project Staff

PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2008 5:57 am
by Jumpyshoes
If my name is on the list, take it off. I don't do squat for the ZnT project.

Magus is also being lazy... He won't translate it. I know just from his attitude. '-_-

Re: English ZnT Project Staff

PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2008 4:44 pm
by Darknemo2000
onizuka-gto, you completely missed Const2 point, which is basically - a list with so many names would make a potential translator shy away, and that would be a waste as we all know that ZnT project is very slow and needs every help to keep moving.

You make it sound easy - if translator wants - he tells - we then tell the one that registered - after a week if no reply the other guy can take over the chapter. The problem is, as far as I understand Const2, that the situation as it is would make potential translators leave (or actually wait for others) before even asking, because of all mess.

First of all, as it was mentioned, the list gives an impression of big activity in ZnT project. Now imagine a young translator coming. he/she sees the list and thinks " There are this many guys, while i am an inexperienced newbie, so i should better be patient and wait and let the pros do the job". Now if such translator finally notices the lack of activity he/she still might not want to try this out because of rather complex system of canceling ones project. I know that it all pays respect to the translator that has registered it first, but this stick has an another end - mainly , because of all those waiting periods untill you get a permission and all that register stuff, he would not even try, just because it seems too complex and too slow. Lets say he is wiling to translate this week, maybe not even a full text, but is not feeling comfortable to jump into another volume as those chapters are not taken. But asking for a permission seems also not too good idea. waiting periods and other stuff simply sound like not a good option.

Frankly, if i were a translator, who doesn't have much, time and is not sure about being able to do on regular basis, but IS willing to do it right now (has time, will and other things) I would still never translate because asking a permission sounds off just like waiting time and all the stuff, while jumping somewhere volumes behind might not be an attractive solution either...

I think that Const2, criticism is valid, while I would add from myself, that the whole project system is not translator friendly at all. it doesnt encourage to translate but actually discourages to do so. I know all the stuff about respecting others works and not doing double work, but I would still say that this system is still not flexible enough. It is not Haruhi that does have enough translators but in ZnT case we really need every potential translator to keep moving.

Re: English ZnT Project Staff

PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2008 5:16 pm
by onizuka-gto
You have a valid point, but the question is the details.

how can we implement that not only encourage translators who are willing to translate "now" yet give sufficient time to allow translators who like to work at a slower pace?

A time limit for re-confirmation of progress?

If so? how long?

Do translators need to be informed? or will they be removed without warning?

So far we have taken a more slow paced, but surely approach, but i can see the reason why this must change.

However it cannot be put into action without clarifications, seems a lot of these unwritten "guidelines" were discussed in the many topics in the early years, which only me and (other season BT staff) seem to remember.

I guess there is still more things that need to be codify and/or updated.

Re: English ZnT Project Staff

PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2008 8:15 pm
by BaKaFiSh
I *should* be a t/l.

But I'm lazy, so if you're even going to bother putting me on the list, put me under AWOL =)

Re: English ZnT Project Staff

PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2008 1:44 am
by onizuka-gto
i wonder what is the Japanese word for "laziness" because i'm sure it doesn't fall under the definition of "Baka"


Re: English ZnT Project Staff

PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2008 2:15 am
by Vaelis
onizuka-gto wrote:i wonder what is the Japanese word for "laziness"

怠惰 (taida): laziness; idleness

Re: English ZnT Project Staff

PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2008 3:40 am
by Darknemo2000
Well one of my suggestions would be the way the chapter is updated. rather than posting a full translated version, it would be better to encourage to post what you have done on the project. Even if you did a sentence or two today - post it anyway, so that the people would see you being still alive, and one would not risk too much if someone else picks up, as all of the progression of the translation could be seen.

This way it would encourage a sort of "blitz" translation where the translation could be done not by a single translator but lets say a few.

It has its own pro's and contras of course. Like contra would be - the difference of novels the translators have. There is some difference in japanese and chinese novels as chinese translators did quite loose translation, skipping or changing words or even sentences. this might cause some difficulties with the text.

But again, for now, ZnT project is barely alive. It is not as still as Kaze no Stigma, but right now it mostly relies on Momogan to keep on moving. I don't see that there would be much to loose.

In Haruhi's case more solid, slow paced and more stable work does make sense. There are a lot of dedicated translators, but sadly it is not the case in ZnT. And because of that what works well with Haruhi might not work so well with Znt due to lack of translators.

If registration would be made not such big necessity (if all of the progress so far can be seen online) it would increase number of people willing to translate, even if for one chapter. Again its not like Znt has much choices to choose from.

yeah, I know it would be messy but again, desperate times ask for desperate solutions.

Re: English ZnT Project Staff

PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2008 6:52 am
by Const2k
Well, criticism is good, but constructive criticism is better, they say... So, to make mine better, here are my suggestions, inspired by Darknemo2000's opinion and onizuka-gto's guidelines, made in an awful traffic jam (that's gradually becoming "normal" for today's Moscow...):
(these aren't spoilers, they just contain a lot of letters :) )

Spoiler! :
Term "activity", when applied to someone's work on specific project, should reflect amount of his/her contributions to this project within specific amount of time.
"Active translator" must provide 1kB or more translated text (probably in several parts) within last month for users that have been registered for 1 month or more; translators that have been registered for less than 1 month are considered active after their first translation contribution "by default".
(Note: 1kB roughly equals to one page (one side) of A4-sized sheet or two pages of usual - A5-sized - book).
"Active editor" must make more than one edit of published translation (not of preview script) within last 2 weeks (or since his first edit, if he/she's been registered for less than 14 days), regardless of edit's type (lexical, grammar etc.) and size.
Contributions of both translators and editors must be counted as such only when they're done to given project (ZnT in our case), not any other project.
When no contributions to the project are made within these periods of time, translator/editor can be moved to AWOL/MIA/KIA groups by anyone, according to periods of inactivity given in oni's post above (see guidelines).

Spoiler! :
If one is going to translate whole chapter, he/she must sign his/her nickname at this chapter's entry on project registration page.
In case this chapter is already taken by another active translator, they two must negotiate via user talk page (B-T wiki) of translator who has registered this chapter first and come to a decision by themselves; first translator's decision is of higher priority if they disagree.
In case chapter in question is registered to currently inactive translator, new translator must inform inactive one via latter's user talk page on wiki and, optionally, by other means (forums, e-mail, IRC, ICQ...) that he takes this chapter over, simultaneously adding
"(reregistering to <NewNick>)"
note to this chapter's entry on project translators' registration page. Later, if inactive translator hasn't published negative reply on his user talk page within one week, new translator changes chapter's entry to
"<NewNick> (taken from <OldNick>)"
on project registration page and since then the chapter is registered to new translator only. If inactive translator denies reregistering after having been informed, he/she must provide 1kB of this chapter's translation (or remainder, if it's shorter than 1kB) within one week from publishing his denial or new translator can take chapter regardless of old translator's opinion.
If translator has been 'inactive' over 1 month (= more than 2 months since his/her last contribution), his/her reply isn't required for his/her chapter(-s) to be taken over by other translator.
If translator has been 'inactive' over 2 months (= more than 3 months since his/her last contribution), his/her registration can be removed by anyone, changing chapter's status to "dropped by <OldNick>".
However, the one making changes to chapter's status must inform old translator (and everybody) of his/her actions via wiki (both translator's user page and project registration page, as described above) in any case.

"how can we implement that not only encourage translators who are willing to translate "now" yet give sufficient time to allow translators who like to work at a slower pace?"
Make it so that active translator's chapters could not be taken over without their approval, inactive chapters could be taken in reasonable time and dropped chapters could be taken over easily, without unnecessary delays. Also allow unregistering translators without taking their chapter(-s) over, if no activity is shown for a long time.

"A time limit for re-confirmation of progress? If so? how long?"
Yes, 1 month for translators and 2 weeks for editors.

"Do translators need to be informed?"
Yes, but only when status of their chapters is questioned for takeover or unregistering.

"I guess there is still more things that need to be codify and/or updated."
Seems so... I wouldn't start all of this if I didn't accidentally bump into these problems; if someone would "help me bump" into something else, I'd probably had something else to suggest as well. So, oni and everyone, if you feel that something needs to be discussed, feel free to bring it here - "one head is good, and two are better", as Russian proverb says. Sometimes brainstorm requires a lot of brains ;)

Re: English ZnT Project Staff

PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2008 10:51 am
by Matt122004
I've been meaning to ask, why is the group named Baka-Tsuki? It literally translates into Idiot/Fool-Moon. lol

-Matt :)

Re: English ZnT Project Staff

PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2008 1:49 am
by Darknemo2000
i still hold my position that the gradual update would be better idea than a full update. Lets say Momogan is now translating volume 4 chapter 1, and we can see that he moved up to 50 percent.

This way we can see that translator IS working rather than planning to.

The difference between working and planning to work also makes me wonder if we could change the way a translator is registered. rather than registering by the name of it, when translator promises to work in, a registration should be considered confirmed only after at least some translation is provided - lets say one paragraph or so (which would be considered 5 percent of the whole translation text).

Why such thing? Well if you only plan on working on it after two weeks, I don't think it would be a good idea to register for it now, because many things can change during that week and you may never be able to translate or at least not be able to translate it for at least 4 or more months.

So, a real registration for the project chapter should be considered confirmed and associated with that particular translator only if at least some part of translation is uploaded (it can be a really short one, but at least it would show that he is working).

If a translator registered but haven't contributed anything he should be considered as only planning to register rather than being registered.