Wednesday, October 01, 2014

2Ds+4Rs: Why repost ebola info in African languages?

A quick review of reasons for reposting information about ebola in African languages, in their written forms. The specific reasons can be summarized as "2Ds+4Rs," which are detailed below:
  • Dissemination: Making the information available in one more place gives it that much more exposure.
  • Demonstration: Many African languages are written either in "extended Latin" or in other scripts (sometimes both), which are in principle fully supported by Unicode on current computer and mobile systems. It is useful to the process of dissemination and use of text in these languages to show that this works - or in cases where rendering is inconsistent (such as the recently discussed case of N'Ko), to show what the issues are.
  • Reading: Material in print can be read silently of course, but perhaps more importantly in many areas where ebola is a threat, read aloud - whether in a small gathering, in a community meeting, or over a radio or TV station. In this way, information as text can be very useful to getting quality information and consistent messages out, even in places where most people are illiterate.
  • Review: Material in print can be more readily reviewed for accuracy and clarity. Whether the material is authored in the target language, or translated from another language, review is a normal part of using printed information (with no disrespect to authors or translators). Reposting it increases the chance that people with the language and subject knowledge may see it.
  • Revision: Following review is, if/as needed, revision. By making the information available in text format, it is more readily copied and revised.
  • Re-use: Text can be re-used and sections of it re-purposed (for example in other media like posters, in scripts for broadcast, as the basis for more detailed treatment, ...). This presupposes a level of quality of the text material (see review and revision above). 

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