I'm not sure that this is true (actually, I'm not sure what it actually means), but the Global Glossary that goes with that byline is certainly an interesting project.
I learned about it through a posting at tr_jobs, the translation and interpretation jobs list that has been run faithfully for many years by Czech translator Radovan Pletka. And maybe it's no surprise that it was he who called attention to the Global Glossary since its creator, Michal Boleslav Měchura, is Czech as well, though he lives in Ireland (and speaks Irish!).
Unlike other dictionaries, this does not consist of direct user contributions; instead, it consists of 48 bilingual glossaries from open-source dictionaries such as Wiktionary, OmegaWiki, FreeDict, and various others in 22 languages. Michael's plan is to "keep adding new languages and eventually to cover all the languages of the world -- or at least those for which freely available glossaries exist."
If you would like to contribute to the dictionary, you can do so by contributing to its above-mentioned sources, which in turn will then be brought into the Global Glossary. If you know of open-source dictionaries that should be imported, let Michael know -- you will find his contact information on the website.
I found it intriguing that this glossary was not built for translators or by a translator, and yet it has productivity features that can be helpful for many of us, especially for translators in less-well-supported languages, including the upcoming ability to download large dictionary data files (unfortunately not in standard TBX format).
I had a chance to ask Michael about his reasons for creating this resource and talk with him about his future plans. He said:
Quite frankly, I designed Global Glossary for myself. I am not a translator, but I use several languages in my daily life, both for work and socially. This means I'm often having to translate things in my head, to think how to express in one language a thought that originated in another. Sometimes, when you're looking for ideas how to express something, the size of the glossary you have at hand can make a big difference. So I said to myself, wouldn't it be cool if I could build a huge database where all the lexical data I can get my hands on would be accessible in one place, without having to hunt up and down the Web every time I want to look something up? (. . .) In fact, I have huge plans for what I'm going to do in the future with all the data I will have collected. Once you have a large collection of bilingual glossaries, there is no end to the amount of exciting ways you can repackage and redistribute them: browser plugins, mobile apps, what have you. This is an area I'm definitely going to look at in the near future.
In response to my question about a collaborative feature that allows users to evaluate and enhance data, he said:
I did originally think I was going to build a website where people could not only search bilingual glossaries but also edit them collaboratively. I decided against it, though, at least for the time being, and for two reasons. Reason number one, to build and run a good crowd-sourcing website where content prospers and quality emerges, that is a big task, a whole new ballgame, and not one I'm ready to get involved in right now. Second reason, I didn't want to fork data away from already-established crowd-sourcing places like Wiktionary and take the wind out of their sails. So I decided I'm going to be happy with just recycling data from elsewhere for now.
When asked about "big" versus "small" languages -- prompted by his interest in languages like Irish -- he said:
There is no particular emphasis on small languages here. If anything, I could be accused of the opposite! I'm sure you've noticed that the first languages I added to Global Glossary were big major ones: English, French, Spanish and so on. I decided to start with large international languages and then work my way down the imaginary "language pyramid" (with occasional side trips prompted by personal interests and prejudices -- for example, I added Czech pretty early, even though it's by no means a major international language).
In fact, I think I'm going to hit a problem once I start reaching the bottom of that pyramid. For many of the small languages, the glossaries you can get from places like Wiktionary are not only small but also of questionable quality. I guess it's a simple question of numbers and critical mass. In large languages, a lot of people contribute to these collaborative dictionaries, a critical mass is reached and quality sort of emerges by itself. In smaller languages, though, only very few people contribute and the quality of what emerges from that can be literally all over the place. This is in fact one of the reasons why I haven't imported Irish into Global Glossary yet, even though it is one of my favorite languages in the world. The glossaries you get in Irish from Wiktionary, OmegaWiki and FreeDict are a bit shaky: lots of misspellings, stuff that's obviously been thrown in by people who don't even speak the language, words that aren't even in Irish. In large languages these things would be weeded out by the rest of the community but in small languages not. So, even though I have a lot of respect for the collaborative dictionary-writing model, I have to admit it doesn't seem to work well in small communities.
So, why do I give this project so much room in this newsletter? Because it's a project that seems to be run by someone who feels very passionately about it, really would like to hear about other data sources he could include that fit the framework of this project, and would certainly be open to suggestions that could make this project even more usable for professional translators, particularly those of languages with fewer resources.
It's one of those projects that aims high and does it on a good foundation -- sort of like the new Tower of Babel that was recently erected in Buenos Aires. The difference from the first one? This one was finished and then taken down voluntarily.