Edgeryders design principles: Euro English (and respect)

Languages are a big deal at the Council of Europe. Its 47 member states boast tens of official languages and 100-200 regional and minority languages (depending on definitions); there is even a European Charter of Minority for Regional and Minority Languages which is taken very seriously. No wonder interpreting and translation are an important part of the day-by-day in Strasbourg.

by Chris Jimenez

Edgeryders, however, sets itself apart in this sense. For a project with such a strong social networking element, it is absolutely essential that people can interact without mediation nor delay: having someone translate everything we post would be not only impossibly expensive: it would dampen interaction and feedback, making the Edgeryders experience quite miserable. To get around this problem, we have agreed to encode some rules in the social bargain of Edgeryders. These:

  • you are welcome to write in your own language. People can always get the gist of what you are writing by running it through Google Translate; we are building one-click translation into Edgeryders, to make it even easier.
  • however, we encourage you to write in Euro English, the lingua franca the majority of young Europeans use when they move about. I wrote Euro English, and I specifically don't mean the Queen's English: the former is an inclusive, connecting language that most youth speak enough to communicate, the latter is just another language, with its own solid grammar, pronunciation niceties and idiosyncrasies. There are many more people that speak Euro English, than people who speak the Queen's English.
  • Edgeryders agree to be tolerant of each other's grammar or spelling mistakes. No one is allowed to look down at anyone else for this. We are not stupid or under-educated, we are just writing in a foreign language. Our effort to communicate deserves respect.
  • Edgeryders who are native speakers of English are kindly requested to keep in mind they are part of a global community, and make their own effort to write in a simple, clear manner.

One of the features we are planning to roll out as the project develops is an integration with Google Translate. By the way, can you recommend a way to integrate a “Translate this” button into Drupal?

Check out this guide: How to use google translate API with drupal | deapge

Using that guide should probably work for drupal.


Thanks Jonathan!

Very good approach to a multilingual integration, based on tolerance. There are currently discussions in the Francophone opengov sphere about the ‘terminologie appropriée’ to translate the expression ‘Open government’ in French. Seeking to impose an expression set aside those who are using other words to describe it, in various geographic areas. Like ‘participative open data’, for instance, used by the Nantes community, in France, or ‘gouvernement ouvert’, used by advocates and the government of Quebec, in Canada. I mention this situation (as an example) because I feel very uncomfortable about this debate. Emphasis on respect at Edgeryders should be applauded.

When I write in Italian I prefer to use the expression “governo aperto”, and “gouvernement ouvert” works just fine for me in French. How much you want to resist the creeping of English terms into your language is a matter of taste and context; but Edgeryders is a natively international space, and language purity is a lower priority than free flow communication.