Fight Aging! Newsletters Translated into French at Long Long Life

The team behind the Long Long Life site has been translating recent Fight Aging! newsletters into French, using a mix of automated translation systems and professional editing. I'm all in favor of more of this: language barriers are a terrible impediment for an initially sparse movement, made up of people scattered around the world. As we've seen over the past decade in the increasing cooperation between longevity science communities in different countries, even crude translation automation makes a huge difference to the degree to which groups can become aware of one another and help out. The reason why Fight Aging! is published under a Creative Commons license is to encourage people to do exactly this sort of thing without having to ask. The flattery along the way doesn't hurt, of course:

I represent the Long Long Life website, and I'm writing to inform you that we have been translating excerpts from the Fight Aging! newsletter into French for a couple of weeks using DeepL and professional post-editing. The pace looks sustainable for now so it's looking like we will be doing this regularly. If you know of any French-speaking enthusiasts who would like to benefit from your news and incredible work, some of it is now available on our site. Thank you so much for the amazing work you are putting in!

As for DeepL, my professional opinion is that it is a great tool for communication, especially in science since there are less subtleties in the discourse. I find it a promising tool with great potential. It demands however to be carefully post-edited by professionals, or the translation memory it relies on risks being polluted by the many unreliable entries that the general public is okay with. The grammar is still somewhat feeble when it comes to abstract thinking and opinion pieces, which is why we are focusing on hard science for now when we translate FA! content. We are working to increase the exposure of our website so that more people have access to the scientific content we want to share.

I point this out today to note that automated translation, particularly the DeepL system used here, has advanced to the point at which it is cost-effective for small volunteer and other low-expense groups to translate heavily scientific content on a regular basis. In the past the challenge for translating resources such as Fight Aging! has always been that the life sciences speak a language all of their own. It happens to bear some resemblance to English, but diverges fairly heavily into an extended vocabulary of trade words, neologisms, and situational redefinitions that are anything but intuitive. Plus many papers are written by people for whom English is a second language, and who have a tendency to omit many of the useful little words that make sentences hang together, such as indefinite articles.

The current advocacy groups whose local audiences speak a language other than English could benefit from following the Long Long Life example here, and looking into DeepL and similar tools. There is a great deal of very useful English-language work produced over the past decade of advocacy and science for rejuvenation that has yet to be translated. The non-English speaking populations of Europe, Africa, and Asia are large, and most of them have yet to be introduced in any serious way to SENS rejuvenation research or the advocacy movements that have grown in the English-language and Russian-language worlds. Similarly, we in the English-language world see only a fraction of the efforts and advocacy that take place in those other communities. The cost of translation has fallen to be low enough that we as a community can now start to do better than this, I think.


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