[Freedombox-discuss] Fwd: Translating expressions...

Ted Smith tedks at riseup.net
Wed May 25 13:45:30 UTC 2011

On Tue, 2011-05-24 at 22:27 -0400, Daniel Kahn Gillmor wrote:
> On 05/24/2011 03:31 PM, James Vasile wrote:
> > On Tue, 24 May 2011 16:05:04 -0300, Nicolás Reynolds <fauno at kiwwwi.com.ar> wrote:
> >>> First of all is the use of "Free World"[0] to refer to a certain sector of
> >>> the world. As the Wikipedia reference says, it was coined during the Cold
> >>> War to refer to US and other non-communist countries. In case you don't
> >>> know, during those times the US government and it's agencies[1] not only
> >>> promoted unfreedomness in Latin America and other countries, but also
> >>> supported and trained dictatorships that tortured and murderer people por
> >>> political reasons (Argentina, for instance, has 30.000 missing persons and
> >>> 500 kids that were illegally adopted by military officers, but only 100 of
> >>> which were returned to their families during the past 26 years). So "Free
> >>> World" actually doesn't mean anything like it to us.
> > 
> > When Eben speaks of the "Free World", I take him to mean "the community
> > of people who so love freedom that they love free software and the
> > culture of sharing".
> If this is what he means, he must realize that he's making an allusion
> (probably humorous) to the concept the OP refers to.  I can see why such
> an allusion wouldn't translate or internationalize well, unfortunately.
> There's a lot of political and cultural baggage in the phrase "the free
> world", even within the USA (it evokes Ronald Reagan for me; not exactly
> a non-polarizing figure).  It's probably a good idea to think through
> how this sort of language would play out globally before deciding that
> we really want to commit to using it.
> 	--dkg

I think Richard Stallman was the first person to use it like that (and
while I never understood it as such, it does seem to fit his sense of
humor for it to be a twist off of a Reaganism).

I think it's a powerful phrase that shouldn't be lightly discarded,
though -- I know I've been inspired by viewing the fight for free
software as a battle to maintain and grow the Free World. I also don't
know how relevant this discussion is to people who grew up after the
Cold War. 

It seems like it might be best to not use this phrase when addressing
certain communities. It should probably be up to the translators to
understand how their linguistic community feels about this (and other)
phrase(s) and act accordingly. Though, since I'm not a translator,
that's just my $0.00.
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