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EMEC Support Documents: General Presentation

 


SYNTHESIS

We are going to introduce a methodology that will allow smooth communication within the context of MISTICA electronic conference that gathers members mainly from the ALC region (Latin America and

Caribbean). Three main axes can be identified:

  • sending of an email with the presentation of the original message (a document with the key data of the message and a summary of its content)
  • the filing of this message on an associated web page, according to an appropriate classification
  • the translation: each message is translated into three languages, so that it is available in Spanish, Portuguese, French and English (this applies both to the presentation mail and to the integral message, with the difference in the fineness of the translation).
IMPLICATIONS OF THE METHODOLOGY

Before checking what are the ingredients or the structure of the methodology, it seems important to ask what will EMEC change for the members of the MISTICA list.

On the level of incoming mail:

  • instead of the integral message, a very brief presentational email will be distributed;
  • to read the whole message (in the original language or translated), the user will have to go to the web page indicated in the email (many mail programs allow to reach this page with a single " click " on the URL)
  • mails are received in a single language (your preferred language)

On the level of outgoing mail:

  • according to one's linguistic preferences, one can write in Spanish, Portuguese, French or English.
  • in order to make the automatic translation programwork efficiently, it is necessary to respect certain writing rules (they will be sent to the list in the relevant languages; see also the Appendix 1).

On the archives level:

  • for the mail that is distributed on the list, there is a classic storage via the "hypermail" program, just like now. These archives are organized according to authors, dates or topics
  • the original messages are archived by categories; the possibilities of an extended search is planned for later on

Therefore, EMEC introduces the rights and duties of the members of the virtual community:

Rights:

  • to write in their own language
  • to read in their own language
  • to have a minimum load of messages
  • to save time in the administration of their mail
  • to have well organized files on the web

Duties:

  • to get used to this context
  • to respect writing rules
  • to go to a web page to read an integral message
EMEC STRUCTURE

EMEC is a methodology for the management of electronic conferences, which has the particularity of uniting the classic electronic mail with the resources of an associate web site. How are both of them articulated? What type of information does each one have?

The presentational email

This mail can be divided into three main parts:

  1. a series of information about the message:
    • author
    • title
    • date of emission
    • language
    • size of the original message (if the original message is in Spanish) or of the one translated original message (towards the Spanish), depending on case
    • keywords
  2. a synthesis of the original message
  3. the web references (URL) of the original message

The web site

The web site associated with the MISTICA list, and working in the EMEC context, has four parts:

  1. miscellaneous information about the electronic conference and MISTICA virtual community: directory of the members, generic rules about communication in mailing lists, etc.
  2. information about the EMEC methodology: presentation of the project, FAQ, writing guidelines in order to facilitate automated translation, statistical data, evaluations, etc.
  3. the list archives: both the emails sent to the list and the integral texts of these messages (sent to the list in form of documentary record and synthesis) are on the web, just as the files transmitted as appendices. In addition to the directory that contains all the mail that go through the list, and which can be organized by authors, dates or titles, the site will also offer an area where the integral messages will be archived, according to a classification especially elaborated for this project.
  4. a search area, which offers the possibility to find messages by words or sentences. During the middle term, we will introduce the possibility to search by field (author, title, date, topic, etc.)
EMEC INGREDIENTS

The methodology EMEC has to be transparent for its users. However, an important logistics supports the effort. In the EMEC team, there are several key-positions that make the project work properly:

Animation of the conference: the debates are led by a person who starts and facilitates the discussions, helps keeping the focus, manages delicate situations, etc. One or various members of the list can play this role. Main advantage: it allows fluent and efficient discussion.

Moderation of the conference: from the very beginning, the MISTICA list has been moderated. That is to say that one person receives all the messages sent to and then decides whether or not to transmit them to the members. This may imply editing. Main advantages:

  1. contamination of the list by messages that are out of focus may be avoided (administration messages, advertisements, etc.).
  2. texts are displayed as easy-to-read presentations

Documentation: information personnel create and archive the presentational emails. Main advantages:

  1. with the synthesis, members know immediately if they are interested in the integral message or not: they do not waste time reading information that could be non-relevant for them.
  2. the records constitute the main material for the database that will respect the standard of electronic documentation. With them, quality storage is possible (the objective is to make that search for information easy and fast)

Translation of the messages: two persons will translate the records and the messages, with the help of a program of automatic translation. Main advantage: it is possible to write in one's own language.

Integration mail - web site: the original messages, as well as the whole list archives, can be found on this associated web site. One person is in charge of putting relevant documents (the presentational emails, the original messages, etc.) on this web site. Main advantages:

  1. the possibility to have long texts on the web site avoids overloading the list members with long messages
  2. having the files available on the web site makes it possible to search for the messages at any moment
APPENDIX 1: WRITING RULES

We shall invite you to respect the following writing recommendations so as to make our translation job easier.

OT = original text

PT = preferred text

1. Check the spelling and grammar of the messages you send us. A spelling error will result in a mistranslation or the non-translation of a word. A grammatical error will make it more difficult for the program to identify the syntactic function of all words in a given sentence. Use your spellchecker!

2. The translation engine used to translate your messages is designed for texts that are correctly punctuated. Punctuation marks, such as commas and periods, help the program to identify sentences and clause boundaries. A period should therefore be placed at the end of each sentence. The symbols /, *, _ and - should not be contiguous with words. Add a space to separate them. For instance, change male/female to male / female.

3. Use upper and lower case. A sentence should always start with a capital letter; a sentence typed entirely in upper case may cause translation problems.

4. Divide lengthy and complex sentences into shorter sentences. In particular, avoid using parentheses and dashes to set phrases apart.

5. Whenever possible, avoid using passive structures, for example: OT: A copy of the report will be sent to all Allies. PT: We will send a copy of the report to all Allies.

6. Whenever possible, avoid idiomatic expressions:

OT: It happens once in a blue moon.

PT: It rarely happens.

7. Include optional words that clarify the function of other words in the sentence, such as "that" or "whom" in the examples below:

OT: The book I bought was very interesting.

PT: The book that I bought was very interesting.

OT: The man I wanted to see was on vacation.

PT: The man whom I wanted to see was on vacation.

8. Similarly, if the subject of a sentence refers to more than one verb and is separated from the second/third verb by a number of words, you should repeat the subject in front of each verb, like this:

OT: They visited our warehouse yesterday and bought several products.

PT: They visited our warehouse yesterday and they bought several products.



 

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Last update: 10/03/2000