Pierre Laquerre – Judge Center Translation Project

Happy New Year, Judges!  Welcome to 2014!  This year, we’re hoping to build on a lot more features with in person interviews, interviews of members of Judge Projects, and judges near you!

This week, we have a special project edition pierreof Judge of the Week, featuring Pierre Laquerre of the Judge Center Translation Project!

Pierre is a L3 from Carrieres sous Poissy, France, let’s here what he has to say about his awesome project!

Tell us about your project.
The rules documents and judge exams are created in English. While being able to speak English is a requirement for high-level judging (as you are going to judge in international contexts), it is not necessary to judge at a local level. The Judge Program believes that knowing English as a requirement for becoming a judge would prevent us from recruiting a lot of talented people. This is why efforts are made to provide localized contents in several different languages.

What is your role within the Judge project?
I’m currently the lead translator for the French language. That means I’m organizing the translations of exams in the Judge center, as well as the translations of the documents (CR, IPG, MTR, JAR, etc.). Other judges are involved in translating articles such as Cranial Insertion or Magic Judge Monthly and I help them find translators when they need to renew part of their team.

Why did you decide to join the Judge Center Translations project?
A few years ago, I was looking at ways to be more involved in the judge program that would be compatible with my time constraints. I’m a blue judge (meaning I really enjoy the rules). I’m at ease with English and writing (I did some translation work for my engineering school in the past). During my thesis I learned to efficiently write and proofread technical documents. I decided to try translating questions on the judge center. I really enjoyed doing it. After translating loads of questions and demonstrating my abilities, the previous lead translators vouched for me and I was granted lead translator privileges to the website (meaning I can approve the translations so that they appear in official tests). Some time after that, the judge in charge of translating documents wanted to give that responsibility to someone else and I took it.

Tell us a fun story about your participation in this project.
In late 2010 to early 2011, I created and passed 5 L1 tests. Even though I was L2 at that point, just in order to unlock some new questions. The way the judge center is set up, being L2 doesn’t mean you can read questions in the L1 exam pool. This little stunt lead to me being promoted lead translator.

If you could change one thing about the project, what would it be?
The biggest issues with the project are all linked with the website and the server on which it’s running. Some days, it’s very difficult to get translations done because of load issues. I did create a piece of software because of that which lets me export questions so that judges can then translate them offline. I then correct them and copy-paste them back into the judge center.

How has this project helped your judging?
Working on translations in general is a great way to learn the documents and to stay up-to-date with the latest changes. For the exam questions, which are very technical, it really helps in being able to explain how Magic and judging works in precise, correct ways. That is not often necessary when talking with players but is great when teaching other judges.

Have you met other judges in your project in real life? What was that meeting like?
I’ve met all the judges that have helped me translate content in French and some judges involved with the translations into other languages. Currently, translation teams work very differently from country to country. It is influenced by the language, the culture, the way the judge program is organized in that country, etc.

What do you like best about the project?
The recognition I get for my efforts and hearing about new judges who made it thanks to localized materials. The judge program has been a large part of my life for more than 8 years now, and I like the feeling that I’m contributing back.

What do you want people to know about this project, and what’s important for other judges, in your opinion?
This is an essential project for the growth of our community. You only need some basic English skills and the patience to write proper French to be able to participate and it will help you grow your skills while helping the community.

How many languages do you translate into?
Just French. There is enough to do for each language that taking care of just one is already a lot of work. Also you can expect better results if the translations are made by someone for which it’s their native language. Except for special cases such as traditional and simplified Chinese, I think no one is currently translating into multiple languages.

Are there challenges that your team does not anticipate with translations?
There are some technical problems from time to time such as how to translate Fuse cards so that the judge center displays them properly.  Or how to make it apply some language specific typographic rules (for example, in French, there is a space before an exclamation point, but a line break should never separate the exclamation point from the word before) but that’s quite unusual.  Translation work is essentially about dedication and taking the time to do things properly.


Thank you Pierre!  We hope you all took something away from this edition of Judge of the Week, and see how your judge center gets translated for all!

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