Retrospective: Open Data Handbook “Translate-A-Thon” in Phnom Penh

The Open Data Handbook introduces you to the legal, social and technical aspects of open data. It can be used by anyone but is especially useful for those working with government data. It discusses the why, what and how of open data – why to go open, what open is, and the how to do “open”.

This Handbook was first written in English by the Open Knowledge Foundation and since then, volunteers have translated it into eighteen other languages, but not Khmer.

In order to help move the open data movement in Cambodia forward by increasing knowledge and building a sense of local ownership, a Open Data Handbook “Translate-A-Thon” event was held on 20th April 2014 by the team from Open Development Cambodia, the local chapter of Open Knowledge Foundation, and Sithi Hub.

Open Data Handbook Translate-A-Thon Cambodia

The event started at 9am, welcoming a promising number of over 10 participants who were awake and ready to join the experience of benefitting the general society. Everyone had to bring their own laptop and start translating collaboratively by using Transifex, a program that promotes group translations of documents. Food and refreshments were provided throughout the day.

The first thing they did was access the dedicated website, www.transifex.com  to make an account and then go to: https://www.transifex.com/projects/p/opendatahandbook/language/km/, and request to join the team. Once they get the confirmation email from the team, the fun can begin. For those who want to contribute to the translation, but missed the event, don’t worry because your every help is still welcome! Just follow the steps above and you can start translating online anywhere and anytime.

Open Data Handbook Translate-A-Thon Cambodia

Speaking about the translation process, everyone started translating each sentence by the reference number that helped to assign teamwork. We had the option of either translating as an individual or with a partner, the latter just in case we needed to discuss the meaning of each sentence.

Speaking about the translation process, everyone started translating each sentence by the reference number that helped to assign teamwork. We had the option of either translating as an individual or with a partner, the latter just in case we needed to discuss the meaning of each sentence.

This translation does not require all the words to be exact when revised into Khmer. Some of the words were very technical for the everyday reader, and we were encouraged to find another phrase to promote the same meaning instead. Everyone in the team were also reviewing the translation and editing the words to improve the flow and accuracy.

In conclusion, the Open Data Handbook “Translate-A-Thon” event encourages everyone to collaborate in the translation of the Open Data Handbook in to Khmer and bring benefit to society. With 3000 words already in Khmer and another 6600 words to go, I hope that everyone can be inspired to keep working on the Open Data Handbook over the coming days in order to make this Handbook feature in the Khmer language soon.

We believe that translating the Open Data Handbook into Khmer will allow all types of Cambodians, from activists to journalists to geeks to civil servants to researchers, more knowledgeable and passionate about building an open society!