[Event Report] India Localization Sprint 2020

 

Early this summer The Bachchao Project contacted Localization Lab to propose a localization sprint (with the support of DataMeet and Random Hacks of Kindness India) to address the language accessibility needs of users in India, particularly those of women and marginalized groups. With regular occurrences of online harassment, censorship, surveillance, internet throttling and all out shutdowns regularly occurring in India, The Bachchao Project selected a set of four tools to localize which would provide everyday users and human rights defenders alike with a basic digital security suite:

    • Safe Sisters (developed in Uganda by Defend Defenders and Internews for women and girls) was selected because it is one of few digital safety guides developed for women in the Global South, by women in the Global South. The guide was developed not only with a focus on the unique needs and concerns of internet users who are women, but also with an understanding of the different circumstances and constraints faced by users outside of Europe and North America.
    • Signal was chosen as an easy-to-use and already widely adopted messaging tool whose adoption could be increased through being made available in more local Indian languages (other than Hindi).
    • Psiphon was chosen as a secure and reliable circumvention tool which The Bachchao Project has successfully used in many environments (including low-bandwidth) in India and which is easy-to-use for new users.
    • Tella was selected as one of the only secure, open source and easy-to-use mobile documentation tools available. Human rights documenters in India are in need of an straight-forward tool that will allow them to document quickly from a mobile device and will work well through internet shutdowns and in low-bandwidth environments.

Often the assumption is that localization into Hindi or English will suffice for users across India. Most users do in fact access tech in Hindi or English, however neither is the first language of the majority of the population. While users are able to generally navigate mobile phones and desktops in a second language, they do not necessarily understand how these technologies work, the privacy and security risks associated with them, and tactics for accessing the open internet. To address this, the India Localization Sprint focused on localization into local languages other than Hindi, however not fully excluding it from the event.

While India and the rest of the world continue to struggle through a global health crisis, there is a need to collaborate, convene and build networks in safe ways. In order to achieve the lofty goals of localizing 4 digital security resources into a number of languages, The Bachchao Project and Localization Lab organized a virtual localization sprint to take place over the course of 2 weekends. The India Localization Sprint was hosted in 7-hour blocks with tool demos, localization discussion and collaboration as well as feedback and Q&A sessions with the developers and creators of the resources.

The sprint was widely advertised throughout November and received a total of 26 signups.

 

The Sprint

The first weekend of the India Localization Sprint launched on the last weekend of November with localization of the Safe Sisters Digital Safety Guide for Women and Girls and Psiphon for Android.

The first day of the event focused on the localization of Safe Sisters into Hindi, Marathi, Malayalam, Kannada, Konkani, Tamil, Manipuri and Assamese with a group of 13 attendees. Safe Sisters was highlighted for localization by The Bachchao Project (a techno-feminist collective serving women and gender minorities) because not only is it a guide developed by women for women, but it is one of the very few guides developed by women in the “Global South” and not form a European or North American perspective. The digital safety guide not only addresses women and girls and their unique digital safety needs, but originally developed for a Ugandan and East African audience, it keeps regional constraints in mind, many of which overlap with those faced by Indian users.

Helen Nyinakiiza from Defend Defenders joined us from Kampala, Uganda to start the sprint with an introduction to Safe Sisters and an overview of the unique approach used to create the guide – engaging a group of about 10 regional collaborators to communally develop the resource. The attendees then read through the full Safe Sisters guide in small groups, keeping an eye out for elements of the guide that would need to be added/removed/changed to make it most relevant for Indian audiences. Once consensus was reached over any changes and the groups had reviewed and solidified translation of key terminology used throughout the guides, participants dove into translating the guides in small groups by language. By the end of the event the Safe Sisters Guide was fully translated into Marathi, and Malayalam, with Hindi, Kannada, Konkani, Tamil, Manipuri and Assamese translations still in progress.

The second day of the sprint focused on localization of Psiphon for Android into Hindi, Marathi, Kannada and Malayalam with a group of 9 attendees. The event began with a presentation and Q&A with Keith McManamen of Psiphon who overviewed Psiphon, how it works and differs from other circumvention tools and most importantly, how Psiphon has been used in India in a period of increasing internet throttling and censorship. Psiphon was selected by The Bachchao Project for localization because a secure circumvention tool that is easy-to-use is essential in today’s India, a country which has had over 450 individual internet shutdown events in addition to long-term regional internet throttling. The Bachchao Project wanted a tool that would be usable and free for users in India, but would also be open source, not log identifying user information, and would actually work in India with differing regional internet connectivity.

After a meaningful presentation and Q&A with Psiphon, the day’s participants spent an hour overviewing a long list of technical terminology used throughout the Psiphon application. Prior to localizing the Psiphon Android app itself, participants worked in small groups – using resources like the Microsoft Terminology, Fuel terminology and Localization Lab Glossaries – to ensure all of the technical terms were understood and had agreed upon translations. By the end of the day, Psiphon for Android had been fully translated into Hindi, Marathi, Kannada and Malayalam.

The second weekend of the India Localization Sprint focused on localization of Tella and Signal, both for Android.

Day one launched with an in-depth live demo of Tella from Raphael Mimoun of the Horizontal team (developers of Tella), sharing how Tella has been useful for defenders around the world. Tella has the capability of securely collecting and storing audio, video and forms for documentation and reporting. Raphael overviewed all of Tella’s features and then fielded questions from participants about how Tella would work in an Indian context. The Bachchao Project chose Tella because it is a useful documentation tool for defenders and journalists alike and participants were particularly pleased to hear about Tella’s icon “camouflage” feature and ability to work offline and with low-bandwidth. Raphael also shared more in-depth information about how form templates can be created using tools like KoBoToolbox in order to deploy surveys with Tella.

After the demo and Q&A, participants again reviewed the glossary to be sure that relevant technical terms were first understood and translated and then the group of 8 attendees dove into translation of Tella for Android into Hindi, Kannada, Marathi, Malayalam and Tamil. By the end of the event Tella was translated fully into Kannada, Malayalam and Tamil with translations into Marathi and Hindi in progress.

The Last day of the India Localization Sprint was focused on Signal. Signal is a popular secure communication application used all over India and the Signal team has recently focused on translations into Indian Languages. The Bachchao Project wanted to support this effort further by updating and contributing to existing translations. As for other tools, the first goal for the Signal sprint was to review key technical terms and make sure that they were solidified in the glossary. Unlike with other projects which had no prior translations, the participants utilized features in the Transifex (the translation platform) to review existing translations and make sure the glossary was consistent with prior translations and highlight inconsistencies. Overall, 11 translators joined to contribute to Singal Android translations into Hindi, Kannada, Marathi, Malayalam and Tamil and by the end of the day, significant progress had been made updating the Android app across all of the languages with Malayalam and Tamil almost 100% updated.

To end the day and the India Localization Sprint, Riya from Signal Group joined the event to answer questions from the attendees about Signal Groups and other upcoming new features, and – maybe most importantly – Signal’s plans for increasing outreach and adoption of Signal in India.

The Outcomes

Image courtesy: Localization Lab

Safe Sisters

Hindi

Words Translated: Approx. 250

Kannada

Words Translated: Approx. 1,875

Konkani

Words Translated: Approx. 625

Malayalam

Words Translated: Approx. 2,500

Marathi

Words Translated: Approx. 2,500

Tamil

Words Translated: Approx. 1,250

Signal

Hindi

Words Translated: 713

Words Edited: 178

Kannada

Words Translated:1547

Words Edited: 272

Malayalam

Words Translated:2469

Words Edited: 321

Marathi

Words Translated:736

Words Edited: 243

Tamil

Words Translated:1982

Words Edited: 32

Grand Total

Words Translated:7447

Words Edited: 1046

Tella

Hindi

Words Translated: 1071   

Words Edited: 177

Kannada

Words Translated: 2207

Words Edited: 507

Malayalam

Words Translated: 2192   

Words Edited: 606

Marathi

Words Translated: 244   

Words Edited: 12

Tamil

Words Translated: 2181   

Words Edited: 431

Grand Total

Words Translated: 7895   

Words Edited: 1733

Psiphon

Hindi

Words Translated: 730   
Words Edited: 305

Kannada

Words Translated: 1237

Words Edited: 306

Malayalam

Words Translated: 2072

Words Edited: 414

Marathi

Words Translated: 1268   

Words Edited: 1270

Grand Total

Words Translated: 5307   

Words Edited: 2295

Glossaries

Tamil: 139 words translated

Hindi: 221 words translated

Malayalam: 230 words translated

Marathi: 172 words translated

Kannada: 227 words translated

Next Steps

After four days of collaboration contributors fully translated or made significant progress across all four projects, and we are now looking for volunteers to help us finish the effort. Are you interested in helping translate or review one of the following projects? Contact us!

Safe Sisters

The Bachchao Project is looking forward to using Safe Sisters to train its partners. As a part of that effort they are looking to share the completed guides in 2021 in open access and set up training calls for its partners. The Safe Sisters guides need some more translations for this to be possible.

Translation Needed: Hindi, Kannada, Konkani, Tamil, Assamese, Manipuri, Kashmiri

Review Needed: Hindi, Kannada, Konkani, Malayalam, Marathi, Tamil

If you are an organisation which works with women on grassroots issues. Please contact Chinmayi (The Bachchao Project) if you would like a training.

Psiphon

The Psiphon team will be deploying the translations that are ready in Hindi, Marathi, Malayalam, and Kannada with a forthcoming update of Psiphon Android (date TBA). In the meantime, translators and reviewers can also sideload this version to be able to check the translations in-context, by selecting the relevant language under Options > More Options > Language or by setting their device language accordingly. Language setting instructions can be found here.

Translation Needed: Kannada

Review Needed: Hindi, Kannada, Malayalam, Marathi

Tella

Tella will be deploying the translations in four languages – Hindi, Kannada, Malayalam and Marathi – once all strings are translated and reviewed in these four languages.

Translation Needed: Hindi, Marathi

Review Needed: Hindi, Kannada, Malayalam, Marathi

Signal

The translations provided for Signal are automatically included in bi-weekly (sometimes less frequent) builds. There are more strings that need translation in Signal. The Signal team has also created teams for Assamese and Manipuri in Transifex which were previously unavailable for translators.

Translation Needed: Hindi, Marathi

Review Needed: Hindi, Kannada, Malayalam, Marathi

Note: This blog post has been jointly written and published by The Bachchao Project and Localization Lab

[Event announcement] India Localization Sprint 2020

While working with various communities in India we have identified a number of unmet needs when it comes to basic security tools and practices. The language barrier is key access issue for users across India, particularly those who are parts of marginalized groups.

Often the assumption is that localization into Hindi and/or English will suffice for users across India. Most users do in fact access tech in Hindi or English, however neither language is the first language of the majority of the population. While users are able to generally navigate mobile phones and desktops in a second language, they do not necessarily understand how these technologies work, the privacy and security risks associated with them, and tactics for accessing the open internet.

In order to ensure broader adoption of basic security tools and practices – and as importantly, to ensure individuals fully understand the “why” and “how” of these tools and practices – The Bachchao Project has chosen to localize:

  • one basic digital hygiene guide : We are localizing Safe Sisters, developed in Uganda by Internews and Defend Defenders for female internet users. This guide provide a simple necessary steps that can be taken by women human rights defenders, journalists and activists to safeguard themselves.
  • two tools for secure messaging and uninhibited internet access: Signal is an highly recommended secure messaging application used by people across the globe and Psiphon is a reputed virtual private network software that works towards uninhibited internet access.
  • one tool for secure documentation : (Tella) is a secure documentation software for human rights workers, journalists and activists.

While India and the rest of the world continue to struggle through a global health crisis, there is a need to collaborate, convene and build networks in safe ways. In order to achieve the lofty goals of localizing tools and/or resources The Bachchao Project and Localization Lab propose a virtual localization sprint to take place over the course of 2 weekends (28th and 29th November, 5th and 6th December). Hosting 4-5 hour blocks of training, localization discussion and collaboration as well as feedback sessions on both Saturday and Sunday, with offline or chat localization collaboration before and after sessions.

This sprint will be held by The Bachchao Project and Localization Lab and is supported by Random Hacks of Kindness India and DataMeet.

If you are a translator or are simply interested to contribute to the localization of these tools and practices in your language. Please sign up for this event here
https://forms.gle/RM7CisegsJWMveNSA

Here is the wikipage for the event with more details : https://wiki.localizationlab.org/index.php/India_Localization_Sprint_2020

 

About The Bachchao Project

The Bachchao Project is a techno-feminist collective that undertakes community-centric efforts to develop and support open source technologies and technical frameworks with the goals of mitigating gender-based violence and working towards equal rights for women, LGBTQIA people, and gender non-conforming groups. We conduct research and advocacy in all the above areas and guide communities in determining appropriate technological interventions for themselves.
Website: http://thebachchaoproject.org
Twitter:  @bachchaoproject

About Localization Lab

Localization Lab builds bridges between developers, organizations, end users, and communities in need. Our crowdsourced localization results in more accurate and timely translations, and unlocks access to the internet for users all over the world

Website: https://www.localizationlab.org/
Twitter: @L10nLab

Contact

For inquiries about this event please write to  Chinmayi S K: chinmayi@thebachchaoproject.org

Workshop on building tech for diversity and inclusion, Brussels

The Bachchao Project, Open Knowledge Belgium and BeCentral partnered to host a hands-on and insightful workshop on July 5 and 6, 2018, called “Building Tech for Diversity and Inclusion”.

The workshop was delivered by Chinmayi S K and was hosted at BeCentral. On July 5 the workshop was open to the general public. The next day it was held exclusively for Open Sumer of Code participants. It was based on the curriculum from the “Manual to build technology for diversity and Inclusion” devised by The Bachchao Project.

The Bachchao Project released version 1.3 of the manual at the workshop.

Workshop on building tech for diversity and inclusion at BeCentral, Brussels. Photo credit: Manon Brulard
Workshop on building tech for diversity and inclusion at BeCentral, Brussels. Photo credit: Julia Thomaschki

Workshop on inclusive tech hosted by Prototype Fund in Berlin

The Prototype Fund, Berlin hosted a “Diversity and Inclusion in Tech” workshop on May 7, 2018. The workshop was held at the Mozilla office in Berlin and delivered by Chinmayi S K, Founder of The Bachchao Project. It was based on the curriculum from the “Manual to build technology for diversity and Inclusion” devised by The Bachchao Project.

Chinmayi S K at the workshop at Prototype Fund. Photo courtesy Julia Kloiber

Talk on “Designing technology for diversity and inclusion” at IIIT Bengaluru

Rohini Lakshané, Director (Emerging Research) at The Bachchao Project, delivered a talk on “Designing technology for diversity and inclusion” at the International Institute of Information Technology (IIIT), Bengaluru on January 17, 2018.

The talk covered the fundamentals of designing technology that encompasses the diversity among its intended users and includes those users with their active participation. Rohini also acquainted the audience with the “Manual for building technology for diversity and inclusion” authored by her, Chinmayi S K (Founder, The Bachchao Project) and Willow Brough. The manual is licensed and available at: https://github.com/thebachchaoproject/Manual-to-build-tech-for-diversity-and-Inclusion/blob/master/BuildingTechforDiversityandInclusion101.pdf

Slide deck: Designing tech for diversity and inclusion

Photo credit: Facebook page of IIITB Masters in Digital Society

Rohini Lakshané speaking at Indian Institute of Information Technology, Bengaluru, October 2017 on building inclusive technology.
Rohini Lakshané speaking at Indian Institute of Information Technology, Bengaluru on designing inclusive technology.