black hat .cn networks

Jim Dixon jdd at
Wed May 9 07:12:29 UTC 2001

On Tue, 8 May 2001, Shawn McMahon wrote:

> > If we are going to be politically correct and insist that every NOC
> > in the world be capable of communicating in all of the major languages
> > of the world, the Internet will grind to a halt.
> And if we are going to insist that they all speak English, we are going
> to be insisting to deaf ears; case in point, all the complaints here about
> abuse complaints being blackholed.

The very practical hard reality is that those running the Internet
communicate in English.  The reason for this is very simple: cost.
In Europe, adding simultaneous translation into the major EU 
languages can easily double the cost of holding a conference.  

This sort of compromise is universal.  There are many languages 
within China, for example, but people compromise by using one of 
them for universal communications, the language commonly called

Nobody is insisting that the world's NOCs communicate in English.
They just do, because it's practical.  In most countries, there is
a very high probability that anyone with a technical education has
had several years of English in school.  This is certainly the case
in Japan, China, Russia, India, Pakistan, most of Southeast Asia, 
and the countries of northern Europe.

It may be that in ten years or so machine translation will be 
accurate enough and cheap enough to allow the sort of thing that
you propose.  However, I suspect that most people will use this
high quality machine translation to improve the quality of their
translations to and from English.  Once again, it's simple economics:
if there are N languages, the cost of writing translators to and 
from English is going to be proportional to N, but the cost of 
writing a full set of translators between all N languages is going
to be proportional to N squared, a huge number.

Attempting to build a universal tool for translating problem reports
into all the languages of the world is a utopian project that is not
going to succeed.  A more realistic goal would be trying to get 
English-speaking engineers to write problem reports in good, clear
English.  I don't think that that is going to happen, and it's far 
easier to achieve than what you are proposing.

Jim Dixon                  VBCnet GB Ltd 
tel +44 117 929 1316                             fax +44 117 927 2015

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