Which texts do we need in non-English languages?
post by Konstantin (Konstantin Pilz)
This is a question post.
I am thinking about founding "EA translate" - an org to coordinate translations worldwide. I am not yet fully convinced this is a high-impact thing to do but would love to hear about any ongoing projects and ideas. If I get started, which texts get most people into EA?
I am still new to this area and have not yet done any translations myself but would be ready to commit if I think this is a bottleneck. If you think this is a valuable project, talk to me in London or send me a message.
Please also post what texts already exist in your language.
answer by Ramiro
) · GW
Cool & thanks for the post. My remarks:
- I'd like to do the same for Portuguese (or at least to see it done). See you in London.
- Fin has mentioned that translating The Precipice is an EA Project he'd like to see [EA · GW], and FTX agreed [EA · GW]. On the other hand, I remember some old posts questioning the overall effectiveness of translations... I mean, most EA-material people can read English. So what is the impact one can expect with translations?
Anecdote: we have a bit of 80kh content translated into Portuguese... but most Brazilian EAs I know have found out about it through original sources (often while studying abroad) - our material in Portuguese have been useful to help them connect. I'm not sure if this would extrapolate to other languages, though.
- My pet theory on the impact of translations: perhaps one should distinguish different aims & strategies here. For instance, if one wants to translate content to reach a larger public online, it's better to pick short texts that are attractive to larger audiences and so susceptible to get some repercussion... But perhaps one wants a more targetted effect - and that's where translating books might help. Translating, e.g., "The Precipice" would be useful to get some attention from the press and maybe some policy-makers... the point here is not that this audience is not capable of reading the original, but that it's more likely they'll want to read something their friends are talking about (and having the book translated makes it more likely). Most people I know (myself included) can read S. Pinker or Y. Harari in the original, but they heard about them at first because of some recently published translation - and, at least in my case, the first contact was with a translation.
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