Xavier Drudis Ferran xdrudis at
Thu May 3 09:19:12 UTC 2001

El Thu, Apr 26, 2001 at 08:31:57PM +0200, Georg C. F. Greve deia:
> The reason for the formal chapters was not only the language issue,
> but also a legal point. For charitable status most countries want to
> have a local organization, so we need the country-specific
> organization form.
I can see sense in that. Let's have formal chapters where there are 
goals to accomplish. One for state, or one for country, or for shire 
or for any region where is a task to be done, people willing to do it 
and does not result in too many chapters.
> One of the principles of the FSF Europe is to increase coordination
> and communication between the countries. Too much localized
> communication will reduce this benefit. 
> Just imagine there would be a German, French, Spanish, Portugese,
> Swedish, Italian and English version of this list. We would have to
> translate every single posting into six languages in order to
> establish communication among us. 

I think lists should not be based on language in principle. Part of the 
freedom of speech is choosing the language one speaks in. So nobody should 
be surprised to see multilingual lists. I don't know much Italian or French, 
so I wouldn't join a list that requires to post in Italian or French, 
but I can understand some of it, so I'd like to be in a list where I can 
see messages in any language. I won't understand messages in German, but 
that is no problem, I'll simply ignore them, or guess their meaning. I think 
Europe is very multilingual, and people have different degrees of competence
in many languages. Seeing messages in unknown languages is just a way to 
start knowing them, so I am against imposing a single language on any list.
There is no need to translate every message to 20 languages, simply to 
translate public notices, press releases, web pages, etc. and 
ignore messages in a language that you don't understand. Translating every 
message you write to even only one language is a pain. Ignoring a message 
in an unknown language is easy. 

Of course if several people from one place set up a list to discuss issues 
relating to that place (or about translations to one language), it is very 
likely that the languages used in that 
list will be those used in that place (or the language to translate to), 
and people that don't understand 
those languages will probably not join, but this should be an emergent 
phenomenon, not an a priori requirement or organising principle. 

Xavier Drudis Ferran
xdrudis at

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