Blog Flux LinkLog: Outgoing Link Logging and Click Tracking for Em duas línguas

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

About "correcting" in a Wiki

Monica, whose first language is Portuguese, says in her blog that she would improve someone's language, if she was collaborating with someone whose first language wasn't Portuguese:

"... partindo do princípio que estou a colaborar com alguém, parti do pressuposto que era esperado que se visse algo que pudesse ser melhorado na minha língua nativa, e à semelhança do que esperaria que fizessem com a minha escrita em inglês, deveria intervir."

I find myself puzzled about what the etiquette in this situation should be. In the same Wiki conversation about the preparations for a BlogHer event in Portugal I found myself reformulating (correcting) something written in Portuguese by Nancy White. I thought I was making her words clearer because I thought I could better express what she wanted to say. I didn't feel this because we both share English as a first language - but because we share some other language of another shared community. I also felt like I was better at seeing Nancy's words though the eyes of someone who was Portuguese (a community I feel I have more experience of than Nancy).

Será que pode ser considerado arrogância?

How arrogant was that of me???

Then, for myself, I hoped that no-one who knew the sense of what I was trying to say - in the context of the Wiki and of the event preparations - would leave something of mine uncorrected.

But at the same time there are "mistakes" which are also part of my style. At some point if someone corrected me to the extent that I felt that "me" or my style weren't valued, then I would stop or renogotiate my contributions because there would come a time when the Wiki space and the BlogHer preparations would feel "not me" or "not mine".

This leads me to think that the whole question is less about mistakes and corrections and more about trust and feelings of ownership, belonging and feeling valued. I think there is less of an issue about etiquette and what to do (or not) in these situations and more of an issue around feeling like you have a voice (or not) and feeling valued (or not) for what you have to offer. And what someone has have to offer is not necessarily linguistic expertise.

It is both curious and important that Monica also says "E o que me fez tratar a Bev como se de facto já a conhecesse?" Although we have never met, the fact that she is both in my constellation of international online communities and also in my constellation of Portuguese communities gives me a sense of knowing her that goes far beyond an occasional face-to-face encounter. I don't know why that is.


Blogger Nancy White said...

Ha, PLEASE PLEASE always feel free to improve upon anything I write (note I did not say correct!) Writing in Portuguese is hard for me and I do worry I won't communicate well. And I guess there is some fear of looking like a real fool, but I'm used to that! I do like to communicate successfully (foolishness aside!)

I went back to the blog the other day and thought PHEW, someone cleaned up my garbage!

11/03/2005 02:28:00 AM  

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