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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Team Tips – 10 {A word with you ...}


There's a wonderful push across the world to translate the Core Protocols, from McCarthy Technologies, into a variety of languages by people who want to use this information locally with teams for whom English is not their first language.

As they look into this translation the following kinds of questions come up:

Sergej K. writes:
“I'd like to translate the Core into Czech to introduce it to our team and I need help. Will you tell me what the best alternative expression for "I'm in" would be? It's quite idiomatic ("I'm in what? In a team, in a state, in the room, in an agreement?"), what would you have used in English if you couldn't say "I'm in"? :) Are the words important?”
and, Algimantas S. writes:
“Is there a big difference between "I'm MAD, GLAD, SAD, AFRAID" and "I feel MAD, GLAD, SAD, AFRAID"? We use "I feel ..." version in Lithuanian version of The Core, because it is more natural.”
Algimantas S.again:
“I use "I connect/check-in" for Check-in and "I disconnect/logout" for Checkout. Lithuanian language doesn't have "I'm in" either.”
and, Annemarie H. asks:
“Will you help me to find the best french version of MAD SAD GLAD AFRAID ?”
These are in addition to efforts over the years to translate the Core into Spanish, Russian, even Marathi, and others I'm not aware of.

Considering that the Core Commitments and Protocols (the Core) are the distillation of the behaviours and procedures of thousands of successful teams since 1996 into condensed, rich algorithms it's no wonder that the precision of the wording gets a little tricky.

Add to that the quirks of modern North American English such as “I'm in” meaning I'm present, engaged, willing to participate, which is simpler and more comprehensive than “I dig it”, “I'm picking up what you're putting down”, “I'm down with that”, etc.

And then there is the complexity of the English language syntax itself as we've already discussed in the parsing of the phrase “Will you ....” (Team Tips - 9).

So it's probably fair to say that tossing the Core into the jaws of Google Translate won't do. As the British might say – I guess they are still the owners of English - “It's not on”, or “It's a non-starter”, or “It's not pukka”, or .... You get the point.

Since I have already appointed myself as “Professor Precision” in previous blogs regarding the use of words – sloppiness versus precision, and so on – what's to be done?

I could add to the confusion by recommending: “Huzzah chaps, best foot forward, carry on, hope for the best, ...”

But better,
is to do what Sergej, Algimantas, Annemarie, and lots of others have done and are doing: use the Core Protocols, particularly Ask for Help, to get suggestions. By engaging the global network of people using the Core, and digging into what the specific words and phrases of the Core Commitments and Protocols mean to each of us, we get enriched with the wisdom of others who are interested in the full meaning of what goes on when one uses the Core.

Are you pickin' up what I'm puttin' down?

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