Manifesto

Barriers to language services are breaking down. Commercial language services are complemented by massive community-driven service contributions. Communicating in your own language with fellow citizens throughout the world no longer depends purely on an economic rationale. This significantly contributes to equality, inclusion, and the realization of a fundamental and universal human right: the right to use one’s own language.

‘Language barriers’ never existed—languages are not barriers that we need to overcome, they are one of humanity’s treasures, and they allow us to express who we are and communicate with our fellow citizens. Instead, we are knocking down the barriers that so far have prevented us from accessing language services that would allow equal communication across languages. We have a right to read or to listen, to write or to speak in each of our unique and beautiful languages, and to be able to communicate with our fellow global citizens without depending on economic considerations. Tens of thousands of volunteers have already started to rock ‘n roll, to shake up the status quo, to do the ‘impossible’—to provide high quality, human language services on a large scale 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and all that without a profit motive!

We have demonstrated our power to expand beyond the profit motive and allow broader and more comprehensive accessibility to languages services.

We use technology to support our efforts rather than allow technology to determine the way we work. There is no doubt that our efforts will lead to a level of equality and inclusion never experienced before, creating a sense of pride, confidence, and energy that will empower people to lift themselves out of poverty, ignorance, and dependence. The global connections that people are establishing with others are uniting the planet and will significantly contribute to making killing fields, hunger epidemics, curable diseases, intolerable poverty, and endemic illiteracy history. Instead, these connections will lead to a better mutual understanding, to an unseen exchange of knowledge and information, and to social and economic opportunities we cannot even imagine today.

While top-down localisation efforts empower corporate globalisation, bottom-up localisation efforts expand and widen access to languages services. Combined, they address all of our cross-language communication needs. They will create a force that makes localisation accessible to all in the form and context that best suits their needs.

Let us connect our efforts and collaborate on the Translation Commons—the space where communities offer and find non-market-driven language services. Let’s work together to expand language services beyond a solely economic rationale. We, and our languages, are worth it!

Language Service Providers of the World—Unite!

Reinhard Schäler

The Translation Commons

The Translation Commons (www.trommons.org) is an open space for communities to offer and seek free language services. The site is powered by SOLAS technologies, an open source project by The Rosetta Foundation. The project has received funding by private, corporate, and public donors and contributors. Do you share our vision and passion? Then we want to hear from you: info@therosettafoundation.org.

 

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