[Crm-sig] Propose New Issue: Guidelines and Protocols for Translating CIDOC CRM

Massoomeh Niknia massoomeh.niknia at gmail.com
Mon Mar 8 14:00:39 EET 2021

Dear All,

Thank you George for proposing this issue. I totally agree with this
proposal. Due to our experience with translating the Model into Persian,
Omid Hodjati and I answered to your questions. Please follow this link
<https://qnssupport.nosa.com/forums/aft/256> to see the slides of our

I am looking forward to the discussion tonight!

Kind regards,

On Wed, 3 Mar 2021 at 10:23, George Bruseker <george.bruseker at gmail.com>

> Dear all,
> Thanks already for your valuable feedback and uptake on this proposal. I
> am pleased to say that this issue has been added to the official CRM SIG
> issue list:
> http://www.cidoc-crm.org/Issue/ID-528-guidelines-and-protocols-for-translating-cidoc-crm
> It is also scheduled to be discussed in the afternoon session of the
> upcoming SIG on Monday March 8th. I do hope everyone responding here and
> all others interested in this topic will be available to share their
> knowledge and help us move this subject forward.
> Sincerely,
> George
> On Sat, Feb 27, 2021 at 8:50 AM Franco Niccolucci <
> franco.niccolucci at gmail.com> wrote:
>> Dear all,
>> the appearance of this issue is the sign of the vitality, importance and
>> diffusion of the CRM.
>> Undertaking a transation poses a number of issues that need to be
>> addressed before moving to practicalities.
>> The “Canadian case” shows the need of complying with legal constraints.
>> For example, if a country formally decides that the national standard for
>> cultural heritage documentation is the CRM, the related decree will need to
>> have an appendix with the CRM version approved, and I think that it would
>> not be acceptable to include it in English, but it should be in that
>> country’s national official language(s). Thus it is better to have an
>> ‘approved' translation in advance, to guarantee that the ‘official’ text is
>> a faithful one. This may also resolve contractual issues, for example with
>> companies contracted to prepare heritage documentation compliant with CRM.
>> On the other hand, using different translated versions of the CRM may -
>> at least in principle - undermine its universality. Even if machine
>> actionability would eventually be preserved, attention must be paid to the
>> human side of the job, to guarantee that scope notes - for example - give
>> the same meaning to labels acroos translations.
>> What should be translated? Of course, the discursive part, as the
>> introduction - the pages numbered with Roman numerals in the CRM
>> description. But, they contain examples and references to Classes and
>> Properties, for which the specific rules should apply. For example, the
>> statement on page xi "In CIDOC CRM such statements of responsibility are
>> expressed though knowledge creation events such as E13 Attribute
>> Assignment and its relevant subclasses.” includes such a reference that
>> must follow the translation rules for Class names.
>> Another example is the “IsA” relationship. If translated, it contains the
>> indeterminate article “A” which in some languages must follow the
>> grammatical gender of the term it refers to, and thus gets two/three
>> equivalents. So my choice would be to consider it as a symbol and keep it
>> in English also in the translations. There may be other issues of this
>> kind, so a general directive should be 1) established 2) accepted according
>> to local constraints. I believe that the decision could be easy in this
>> particular case; but it must be decided for all the similar occurrences.
>> The above leads me to think that before undertaking any translation, the
>> official English version should be examined to evaluate what is English -
>> and may be translated - and what is symbolic and just seems English - not
>> to be translated. IsA is an example, there may be others. The translation
>> may be funny from a literary point of view (“Martin Doerr IsA un homme”),
>> so an explanation could be given - maybe in a footnote - to help
>> understandability.
>> Naming conventions (pages xiv - xv) should of course be preserved. Here
>> examples are given in Italic e.g. "*E53 Place. P122 borders with: E53
>> Plac*e”. I am not completely clear with the need of a full stop after
>> Place (could be a typo from copy-paste), but also the use of Italic is
>> introduced surreptitiously. By the way, it is maybe high time to establish
>> a recommendation to standardize how to quote class and property names e.g.
>> in articles, in order to distinguish them from plain discourse also
>> typographically.
>> Coming to scope notes, I think that only the symbolic parts should remain
>> in English, i.e. the alphanumeric label e.g. “E1”.
>> The above are just examples of what a preventive survey of the official
>> English text will define as “not translatable”. In my opinion it wouldn’t
>> take much time to fo it.
>> The next step is what George calls “translation rules”. I am looking
>> forward to fierce debates about the translation of “Human-made”, if it
>> should follow the style of the Nusée de l’Homme (“fait par l’homme”) or
>> choose a gender-neutral “anthropogenic” or whatever else.
>> I agree with George on the necessity of general guidelines and protocols
>> to translation. But since these depend on the culture behind the language
>> into which the CRM is going to be translated, accepting them is not
>> automatic: how can a native English (or Greek, or German) speaker decide
>> what is better for Italian or French? So such protocols should be stated in
>> a general form, and then implemented language by language, what brings us
>> back to George’s topic about "What are the criteria for accepting a
>> translation as official?” and who is in charge of it. There may be
>> different levels of “acceptance”, e.g. a working text, a published
>> translation for comments, a technically approved one and a linguistically
>> approved one. I would feel confident enough to address the first three
>> levels, but for the highest level I would need the support of linguists -
>> better if official ones.
>> To profit of what is already being undertaken, who decides if the French
>> Canadian version is OK? Is there any potential conflict between what the
>> SIG (or any judge established by it) decides and the decision by an
>> officially established Canadian referee for effective bilingualism?
>> Finally, copyright. The copyright statement in the title page of CRM
>> documentation "Copyright © 2003 ICOM/CRM Special Interest Group”  in my
>> opinion sounds a bit old-fashioned and unpleasant, there are nowadays more
>> appropriate licensing schemes that allow public open use, give appropriate
>> recognition to authors, and protect the moral rights of those involved in
>> the work, people and organizations, while avoiding any unauthorized
>> commercial exploitation. In the era of Open Science it sounds a bit
>> conservative. The same should apply to translations.
>> As you may have understood from this long email, I am interested in the
>> adventure, both in preparing the general framework and in supporting a
>> translation into Italian. If useful, we can advertise the initiative
>> through various networks, to inform those potentially interested in the job.
>> Best regards
>> Franco
>> Prof. Franco Niccolucci
>> Director, VAST-LAB
>> PIN - U. of Florence
>> Scientific Coordinator ARIADNEplus
>> Technology Director 4CH
>> Editor-in-Chief
>> ACM Journal of Computing and Cultural Heritage (JOCCH)
>> Piazza Ciardi 25
>> 59100 Prato, Italy
>> Il giorno 26 feb 2021, alle ore 23:31, Philippe Michon <
>> illipmich at gmail.com> ha scritto:
>> Dear all,
>> As this issue arises from a discussion between George and us at the
>> Canadian Heritage Information Network (CHIN), I just wanted to confirm that
>> we are greatly interested in this issue.
>> The main reason is that we must have a French version in order to be able
>> to use CIDOC CRM within our organization. Indeed, we have rules on
>> bilingualism that oblige us to have a quality French equivalent (that meets
>> the quality and maintenance standards of governmental agencies) in some
>> strict time limits of the standards to which we refer.
>> We are contributing to the French translation initiative presented by
>> Anaïs. In addition, for administrative reasons, we are in the process of
>> setting up a specific translation process for the Canadian team.
>> Of course, we will share with you as soon as possible the documents that
>> we will make publicly available to our editors and partners. Here is a list
>> of what we plan to share in the coming year:
>> • Google Docs translation templates
>> • Protocol to convert Google Doc Templates in Markdown (our goal is to
>> publish on Github Pages)
>> • Stylesheet
>> • Index of CIDOC CRM entities (translated)
>> • Update protocol (e.g. 7.0 to 7.1)
>> • Spreadsheet for keeping track of the typos in the English version
>> • List of the translation challenges
>> • Best practices for translation
>> We hope that our work will serve as a foundation for the development of
>> general recommendations and protocols in order to further democratize CIDOC
>> CRM.
>> We look forward to participating in discussions concerning this issue.
>> Best regards,
>> Philippe
>> Le jeu. 25 févr. 2021 à 12:23, Anaïs Guillem <anais.guillem at gmail.com> a
>> écrit :
>> Hi CRM-lovers,
>> I would like to follow up on George's email about the translation. In
>> October 2019, a group of French archaeologists and CH specialists expressed
>> an interest to translate the latest version and the future version 7 in
>> order to disseminate CIRDOC CRM more easily. Now, the project of
>> translation is international (France, Belgium and Canada) and a
>> collaborative effort. It is mostly inspired by Wiki contributions and
>> everything is done in Gitlab with version control. The group meets (via
>> Zoom) once a month to establish some priorities and discuss the different
>> issues.
>> The project is open to anyone interested in contributing to the
>> translation in French: you just need a Huma-Num account.
>> https://gitlab.huma-num.fr/bdavid/doc-fr-cidoc-crm
>> The translation files could be used for translations in other languages.
>> The diagrams are also in the process of translation. The translation issues
>> are discussed in the Gitlab issues. The how-to is explained in the Wiki
>> section of the gitlab project.
>> It would be very interesting to know if there are currently other
>> translations projects in other languages to compare the process and
>> methodology. The git repository could be cloned if another group wants to
>> translate the ontology in another language.
>> Have a nice afternoon,
>> Cheers
>> Anais
>> Le jeu. 25 févr. 2021 à 08:23, George Bruseker <george.bruseker at gmail.com>
>> a écrit :
>> Dear all,
>> With the advent of CIDOC CRM 7.1, a new stable community version (aimed
>> for ISO approval) of the CIDOC CRM is established. This is the occasion for
>> the broader community wishing to implement the standard on a stable basis
>> to invest and engage with a mature ontological specification and text.
>> A key aspect of this work at the community implementation level is to
>> render the standard in various languages so that it can be studied,
>> appropriated and applied without linguistic barriers by different
>> linguistic and cultural communities around the world.
>> Towards this end, the task of translation is key and an important
>> intellectual process and product of the CIDOC CRM community in its own
>> right.
>> The formulation of open, transparent and regular protocols and processes
>> for creating a translation would thus be a crucial groundwork to lay out in
>> order to give the appropriate support and weight to the translation efforts
>> of the CIDOC CRM semantic data community.
>> At present, a search of the website (using the website search tools)
>> returns only one article regarding translation. It is an issue from 2002 (
>> http://www.cidoc-crm.org/Issue/ID-58-how-to-organize-the-translation-of-the-model)
>> on how to organize the translation of the CIDOC CRM.
>> It would seem then that there is a need to pick up this issue again and
>> address its various aspects (especially given the phenomenal growth of the
>> CIDOC CRM uptake and the spread of its use to different linguistic
>> communities around the world).
>> It seems prudent therefore to communallly create a formulation of
>> guidelines for translation best practice and, separately, open and explicit
>> protocols for submission and acceptance of CIDOC CRM translations, to be
>> developed and put into action  by the community.
>> The spirit of the guidelines and protocols should be to make a
>> transparent space for engaging in this important work and understanding its
>> relation to the overall CIDOC CRM community effort. It should aim to
>> support existing translation efforts and provide an obvious, open and
>> transparent path for additional translation efforts.
>> Of consideration for inclusion in these guidelines and protocols are the
>> following topics:
>> Protocol for Starting an Official Translation
>> Who can start an official translation, are there any preconditions?
>> Protocol for Accepting an Official Translation
>> What are the criteria for accepting a translation as official?
>> When do the translated classes and properties pass into the
>> serializations?
>> Is there recognition of the translating group in the serialization (for
>> the respective translation element)
>> Recommended Tools for Supporting Translation
>> Are there any tools recommended for supporting translation? Any
>> recommended methods?
>> Networks of Support (Community of Translation Projects)
>> The translation of the CIDOC CRM is the translation of an aimed for
>> neutral ontological description of CH data. The translation of the standard
>> requires a creative effort to understand and elucidate the conceptual
>> objects specified in the ontology. Given the complexity of this effort
>> involving philosophical, computer science and cultural heritage specific
>> knowledge, the process can be quite challenging. Sharing experiences across
>> language translations may help eludicate problems in understanding the
>> standard or finding useful philosophic correlate expressions in different
>> languages.
>> Do/can we facilitate a place of exchange on these topics?
>> Means of Approaching (Ontological Translation Methodology)
>> Are there better or worse methods for approaching the translation task as
>> such?
>> E.g.: should one translate classes and properties from E1 to En, P1 to Pn
>> or should one follow the ontological hierarchy?
>> What are key terms that might best be approached first in order to
>> support the general translation? (E.g.: Space Time Volume?)
>> Change Management - Version Compare
>> What is the best way to manage iteration between version and efficient
>> translation? (don’t want to retranslate all if possible)
>> Place of Publication of Translation and Level of Recognition
>> Where are official translations published? Are they sufficiently visible?
>> What is their relation to serializations?
>> Copyright Issues
>> Under what copyright should translations be made?
>> Infrastructure to Support Publication / Promotion of Translations
>> Is there any? Should there be any?
>> Template for Translators’ Introduction
>> The translation work in itself is another intellectual work which
>> requires many important choices and requires the introduction of an
>> interpretation of meaning and sense. A translator’s introduction then would
>> be important in order to convey important decisions and methodological
>> choices. Should this be standardized?
>> The above represents a first set of ideas. I propose we have a general
>> discussion of this question and see if there is interest and capacity in
>> the membership to create such guidelines and protocols.
>> Sincerely,
>> George
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>> --
>> Anaïs Guillem
>> Architect-archaeologist
>> +33 630005089
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>> --
>> Philippe Michon
>> Semantic Web Analyst
>> Canadian Heritage Information Network
>> philippe.michon at canada.ca
>> illipmich at gmail.com
>> https://name.pn/philippe-michon
>> Analyste en web sémantique
>> Réseau canadien d'information sur le patrimoine
>> philippe.michon at canada.ca
>> illipmich at gmail.com
>> https://name.pn/philippe-michon
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Massoomeh Niknia, PhD
Information Studies
Kharazmi University| Tehran, Iran
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