Switching strategies and recalibrating expectations

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“You’ve written “Sometimes it feels like this is a task beyond my limits.” That’s a feeling on exploration tasks: the more you scratch the surface, the more you have to handle. Sharing that feeling with coworkers or your manager is important, because they can help you to prioritize and focus on what is important.” — My mentor Benoît, on my February 12 notes

I’ve been feeling this immense amount of grief lately. As time went by during the initial outreach phase, I’ve come to realize how short my internship is to solve most, if not all, problems I’ve encountered that disturb the process of recruiting and welcoming new technical translators, and that haunts me. I am aware I will have the chance of addressing them in my final report, and my findings will be extremely useful for those involved with MediaWiki and the translation commmunity as a whole. But the failure to reach universities properly, the confirmation that outreach strategies need to be applied during long periods of time to have a chance of working combined with the little time I have left inevitably hang over every decision I make, making me feel pressured and immensely distressed.

I may be grieving for my internship. We’re close to its end, and it’s an understatement to say I appreciated this experience — it is a cathartic event in my life. It marks the beginning of my professional life in technology, after many years of only being a user; the start of the process of switching careers. Working full time has already established itself as a part of my routine so it’s strange to think everything will cease in a matter of weeks.

I may be grieving for the loss of I was before all of this happened as well. I am in the middle of the process of saying goodbye to a part of my life, a part of me that was my reality for years but now belongs to a past long gone. But hey, you are probably here to know what I have been doing, so let’s talk about work.

In this week’s meeting, Johan suggested that I could create a localization team with language or translation students. This strategy is interesting for a couple of reasons:

  • It demands only a few people to work.
  • It could help me confirm or dismiss the existence of points of failure in the process of becoming a translator on MediaWiki.org and/or translating the content of said wiki.
  • It could help me provide guidelines for the creation of teams dedicated to technical translations.
  • It would introduce selected university students, looking for especializing in language study or translation, to the role of technical translator in the Wikimedia movement.
  • It would help me understand factors decisive to the choice of continuing to contribute or cease all contributions as a technical translator.

So I decided to pursue it. While I dedicate part of my time to trying to find at least four people to compose a Brazilian Portuguese localization team, I am also working on improving the Translation quick guide and writing a Beginner’s Guide to help newcomers get familiar with other important concepts. And, as it will seem kind of uncommon having so many new users suddenly translating a lot of pages, I created a page about this under Project:PD help as suggested by Benoît.

Here’s hope this strategy brings us good results.