As a translator, I was very excited to see the Declaration of Internet Freedom drafted and distributed. Translating is, after all, about the spread of ideas and information across borders and language barriers, and the internet is, arguably, the greatest information tool of the modern age.
As corporate and government interests seek to regulate and control this vital source of freedom in the world, the Declaration seemed like a sane first step in asserting Internet freedom as a basic right.
What Good Is Something If It Can’t Be Communicated?
No matter how powerful a concept is, however, it is useless if you can’t communicate it. The Declaration was written in English, but there are about 6900 known living languages in the world. English has great penetration, but in order to spread the word – and make a symbolic gesture – the Summer of Internet Freedom was organized: a series of events created to spur discussion of the Internet’s role in society, and how we can ensure it remains a free and open resource.
The Internet Freedom Translathon
One part of the Summer of Internet Freedom I’ll be gladly taking part in is the Internet Freedom Translathon; the most exciting challenge this side of the 2012 London Olympics!
The Internet Freedom Translathon is an attempt to get the Declaration of Internet Freedom translated into as many languages as possible. 6900-plus languages is a hefty number, even considering some of those languages are artificial (Esperanto) or have only one living speaker. The more languages we can get the Declaration translated into, the more widely we can spread its message.
Why This Is Important
That’s important, because many people assume the Internet is privately owned, like TV stations, or are unaware of the movements worldwide to restrict access to it, to monitor the uses it’s put to, to extract private information from it, or to replace it altogether with a more government-friendly clone.
Knowledge is power. The more people we can educate by translating the Declaration, the more people who can make educated decisions about how they want the Internet to be in the future
You don’t have to be a professional Translator to chip in, either! If you are bilingual (or trilingual!), go ahead and offer your services. We also need proofreaders, so if your language of expertise is already taken, you can still contribute.
And if nothing else, you can spread the word far and wide and help get the Declaration translated into as many languages as possible. The closer we get to 6900, the more amazing an achievement it will be!
Translation only part of it, too – anyone can create an event as part of the Summer of Internet Freedom. So if your Farsi is a little rusty but you still want to support this incredible movement, check out the web page and come up with your own ideas!