Ideas for promoting translations in science

From Translate Science

As Translate Science initiative we are interested in the translation of scientific articles (more generally reports, books, ...), abstracts, titles, terms and keywords to make science more accessible and (thus) stimulate the production of such translations.


There are many ways one can promote translations. Feel free to add to the ideas below.

  • A translations switchboard, where you can search for an article or topic and get a list of translated scholarly works.
  • Filling the database of such a switchboard with existing translations.
    • There are databases from the cold war. International organizations, research libraries, research institutes often made or make translations. CrossRef and Wikidata have information on translations.
  • Provide guidance on how to make and publish translations.
  • Build a collaborate translation tool.
  • Multi-lingual search tools. This could be helped by statistical methods to estimate the language of documents (as metadata regularly is missing or wrong). Just searching for a term and many of its translations (without taking the language of the document into account) will likely lead to many bad results.
  • Producing translations.
    • Such a Switchboard would make translations more findable and thus more worthwhile to make as more people would use them. It would also be useful and stimulate the production of translations to have a system to determine which articles are most in need of being translated.
  • Help to find translators.
  • Help to find people who can retrieve translations from libraries (which is sometimes only possible in person).
  • Collaborative translation.
    • A quality translation needs a good understanding of two languages and the topic. Such a combination is easier to find in a team. Also people often make partial translations and stop when they know enough for themselves. It would be great if others could continue the work.
  • Lobby for translations.
    • Authors making translations of their works should be valued, just like publishing data and code.
    • Copyright should not block people from making and publishing translations.
    • Journals should accept translations are valuable scientific contributions.
  • Translation of key terms (Wikidata).
    • The translation of important concepts and terms make it easier to read an article (especially when it is not written in your native language). Reading tools could give such translated help. Many of such translations are already available in Wikidata.
  • ...