Greetings from Varna, Bulgaria. I have been spending Spring Break collecting fish specimens for my Black Sea fish collection, visiting friends at the Archaeological Museum (http://www.amvarna.com/) and exploring parts of the city that I did not get a chance to visit when I was here last summer.I also met Ralica, Joan Greenbaum’s future daughter-in law. She is a wonderful lady and has helped me a great deal.
My work has gone very well and I made new important contacts for my research. I will return in August for a longer period of time, following the archaeological field season in Sinop, Turkey.
The topic of my blog entry is “Translation” for a few different reasons. First of all, eventhough many Bulgarians in Varna speak some English, I have been faced with issues of translation all week when trying to express my research interests to scientists and of course in everyday situations such as ordering in a cafe (I ordered two pieces of cake instead of one yesterday, Ralica just thought I was excited for the different cakes! haha, it was fine though, because I had the second piece back at the hotel the next day) Also-and more importantly, I want my digital project to be helpful and useful to non-English language speakers, especially in the countries in which I am working. So far I have simply installed a google language plug-in for my site and chose the languages of the Black Sea region. However, I am not confident that the translations the plugin provides are completely accurate. I am sure everyone has tried to insert a block of text into one of those language translators online only to find that the translation was mostly incorrect.Also- there is the issue of ease when needing to type in other alphabets and using non-English letters. For example, the Cyrillic alphabet and special characters and letters of the Turkish language. I have the special Turkish letters marked on the keys of my home laptop, but to use that method for other languages seems very time consuming. I am sure there are different ways of doing that, perhaps someone has a suggestion. I am obviously new at this!
Currently ,I am studying Turkish and starting to pick up Bulgarian, but I would also like my site to make sense in Romanian, Ukrainian, Russian and Georgian as my project involves the fishing communities of these places. What do other New Media Lab-ers think about this issue of translation? Is anyone else dealing with this as part of their process? I don’t want to assume those interested in my work read and understand English, especially when I am working in their homelands.
I need to leave the internet cafe now, but I will add photos and perhaps a “translation” of this blog entry when I return to New York. I hope everyone has been enjoying Spring Break. See you in the lab!