The initial plan for ON TRANSLATION - THE INTERNET PROJECT was to create a chain of translators from different countries and languages willing to be participants.
When documentaX proposed to present the project, some important factors had to be considered.
To start with, despite being originally conceived without deadlines, the proposal generated a need to accelerate the development and decision making process in order to meet certain deadlines.
On the positive side, it presented an interesting opportunity for co-production, and the use of a solid technical network that the Goethe Institutes, with the significance and implications of an established structure, could provide.
During the developmental stages of this co-production between äda' web, documentaX, and the Goethe-Institutes, the chain of Goethe-Institutes and translators, and their respective decisions, have taken on a relevance and importance that can not be ignored. Two major issues have become pertinent.
First, the diversity of interpretation in terms of meaning: How is identical information transmitted, read, and reacted upon in different ways by the different participants? What impact do the national German network and the respective local (ie. Japanese, Egyptian, Chinese, etc.) contexts have on the process by way of working time-tables, time zones, vacations, national holidays etc.? Also, what are the effects of varying degrees of art appreciation and involvement among participants?
Second, the difference in technology: What is the state of technology in different countries (telephone, fax, e-mail, internet, etc.)? How accessible is the technology? What are its uses and functions?
In addition, computer language representing a western corporate standard and attitude in business and culture favors western characters (ascii coding, iso character sets, etc.) over others such as Arabic, Korean, Japanese...
The choice of a language to define, structure, and produce the project represents a crucial step. Is English the obvious choice? Especially considering the fact that language is the principal tool employed in this project?
Within the overall framework, it was decided that German and English be the main languages used on the operational level. (In terms of "viewser" interface, we must keep in mind that the web browser is the final interpreter.)
These factors are the reasons for making the communication process of the network visible as an important part of the work as a backstage.