[Mailman-Developers] Translingual Mailing List Functionality

Rafael Cordones Marcos rcm@sasaska.net
Fri Nov 8 10:45:52 2002

On Wed, 6 Nov 2002 06:07:13 -0800
les@2pi.org (Les Niles) wrote:

> I'd be happy to send the code, but am not sure how useful it would
> be since most of what you need to implement has to do with adding
> user- and list-specific options, which my implementation didn't
> deal with at all.  Adding such options is pretty easy, though,
> because of the nice design of Mailman.

Send it then!! Thanks! 
> One thing you don't mention, but which I think you'll need to deal
> with, is identifying the source language of each message.  That'll
> be needed unless senders will register the language in which
> they'll be posting and can be counted on to always post in that
> language.  I've played around a bit with text-based language

Yes, my idea was for users to register which language they will be
posting in and receiving e-mails in. But you are write, a user may in
some occasion decide to post in another language and the software should
detect that.

> identification.  The algorithms do pretty well, even on messages
> just a sentence or two in length, but the error rates are on the
> order of several percent.  (I was looking at distinguishing between
> a dozen or so common European languages.)  Occassionally mis-
> identifying the source language will add an element of randomness
> to the whole process, which from my experience last year I can tell
> you can be somewhat amusing.

I will take into account.

> Another complication will be dealing with HTML-encoded email.  If
> the translating engine itself can handle HTML, great, otherwise
> you'll probably need to strip or convert the HTML parts, to just
> translate and produce plain text.

In fact, the way I see it I will either way have to deal with chuncks of
e-mails. For example,

User A writes the following e-mail *in* Language English:

I have two questions:

 1.- How do I print a string in Python?
 2.- Are we alone in the galaxy? 

Thanks for your answers,

/User A

User B (who has chosen to receive all e-mails from the list in Spanish
gets the translation and answers like:

User A escribió:

> 1.- ¿Cómo imprimo una cadena de carácteres en Python?

tmp_string = "Hello, world!";

> 2.- ¿Estamos solos en la galaxia?

¡Pues la verdad es que esta es una pregunta complicada de resolver!

> Gracias por sus respuestas,

¡De nada!

/User B
User A should receive *not the translation* of the previous e-mail back
to English but only what User B added in Spanish translated to English.
That is, User A should receive the pieces of her original e-mail with
the answers (translated to English) of User B.

This gets much more complicated when User C (using Chinese) writes to
both A and B telling them that User B's answer to the first question is
plain wrong. To begin with, in Python we do not use ";" to end a

Well, maybe, I am talking nonsense here but what I am aiming is at
extending Mailman so it could be possible (in the long future) to merge,
for instance, debian-users-* into a single list. Insted of having
separate mailing lists for different languages, having just one.

Thanks for your time!


> On Tue, 5 Nov 2002 16:22:14 +0100 (CET) "Rafael Cordones Marcos"
> <rcm@sasaska.net> wrote:
> >Hi folks,
> >
> >I have been searching the Mailman website and have not found any
> >reference to what I am looking for, i.e. translating e-mail. I am not
> >talking about translating the Mailman software or documentation
> >(i18n) but translating the e-mails that people send to the mailing
> >list.
> >
> >I am looking for the following functionality in a mailing list
> >software:
> >
> > - As an administrator:
> >
> >    - set up some default machine translation (MT) engine.
> >      For example, I want to use Babelfish for translating between
> >      English
> >and Spanish but I wat to use some other engine for
> >      translating between German and Swedish.
> >
> >    - specify the subject of the mailing list and thus improving the
> >      translation results. For instance, I can specify that the
> >      mailing list is about "Technical -> Operating Systems -> Minix"
> >(just kidding).
> >
> > - As a user:
> >
> >    - I want to subscribe to the mailing list and specify my
> >      language (natural) language preferences. Say I want specify
> >      {Catalan, Spanish, German}.
> >
> >    - e-mail going to the list gets sent to a machine translation
> >      before it gets sent to me. I can optionaly say to the
> >      mailing list software that I want to receive also the original
> >      message.
> >
> >    - If I do not like the translation of an e-mail I can choose some
> >      other machine translation engine. I may decide that some other
> >translation engine does a better job or even pay to get
> >      get better translations. Maybe the administrator forgot to
> >      specify a machine translation engine for Euskera<->Farsi and I
> >      know
> >of one that just started operating.
> >
> >I would appreciate any information you may have on this topic. Maybe
> >somebody has started implementing this in Mailman or is already
> >implemented? Send me any comments, problems you see on the
> >aforementioned working schema,  flames, ...
> >
> >Thanks a lot for your time!
> >
> >Rafa

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