Let’s suppose a non-English speaker (neither French nor Italian) wants to join OSM, and he wants to be sure of the terms he accepts; therefore, he has to read them in their mother language to understand them clearly.
He has to follow this process to get the terms, in this case, in Spanish:
On this page, a sentence in English points to “informal translations.” How can a newbie understand what is an “informal translation”? He can ask why the terms are not formal.
In the “Informal Translation” page of the OSM, there are only three translations: German, Japanese, and Russian. This page is completely in English: Licence/Contributor Terms/Informal Translations - OpenStreetMap Foundation. The newbie could not understand the foundation at this moment and could be confused with signing on to the OSM page or being part of a foundation. At this point, a new user cannot understand there is a foundation behind it.
The newbie will see the same contributor Terms on the first page. But there is a link to “unofficial translations.” He could ask, is there a difference between informal and unofficial?
Now, a wiki page (for those of us who are contributors, we understand this, but not those who are newbies). He could ask: What is this? Wikipedia? He could feel that he was no longer on an OSM page. Also, this page has a mix of languages, but the important content is in English.
Finally, he arrives at the Users’ terms in Spanish.
I highlighted in a red square the links this user has to click to get to the appropriate page. But I can be sure none only Spanish speaker has done that.
I think this is a ridiculous process. I feel this is kind of discriminatory if one cannot understand English.
Also, this led to 2 things:
- Allow a tool like Google Translate or Deepl to translate the terms whichever way it wants, a process that could change the original meaning.
- Ignore the terms, and misunderstand conditions. This led to imports of data with non-compatible licenses and import data from commercial maps.
I have faced this issue because I am from the LatAm community, and many new people think they can put on OSM whatever data they have found. I am pretty sure this is because they haven’t read the terms, and it is not easy for them to take a look.
I created this entry because Sara Berrio, who is creating a guide in Spanish about starting to contribute in OSM, asked me how to get the Users’ Terms in Spanish from the sign-up process she is trying to document. And I had to answer that currently, it is almost impossible to get the terms.
What do you think? How can be improved? Is there a chance to include the unofficial/informal translation on the sign-up page?