I think buildings are 100% useless without addresses.
About translation, I just thinking about interesting idea: extract all untranslated names, publish them in some google doc, and let people slow-slow translate them. And then this will be done - import back to OSM.
This isn’t a lot of programming work, but for sure may save hours on one-by-one clicking and typing.
How about actualy collection an address data? Android market have a very nice tool for this.
Buildings give some indication of the character of the area. Also, they make it easier for other people to come along and add addresses. See for example http://osm.org/go/xtTmuzgry- where I added building shapes and a few months later someone added addresses. I agree though that buildings are a low priority.
We should NOT add buildings and addresses within the Tel Aviv municipal limits, since the municipal web site contains a complete list of them, and it would be a waste of time to add them now manually.
I like the idea of name extraction and Google Doc translation. If we get just one Arabic speaker and one Russian speaker to help us out there (it doesn’t have to be OSM members, it could be anyone we know with an hour or two free), we could have a set of translations better than anything else available online.
Thank Eric22 for your comments about buildings.
They are important because just with buildings it makes sense to add addresses in a good way.
So buildings are coming first, then it is a lot easier to add the addresses. It is also easier to add POI if the building do exist already.
Beside that you can find missing streets easier after/when adding buildings.
The spreadsheet is a good idea but simply to much for the beginning. We have currently a lot of languages supported in parts of Israel.
But mainly we support Hebrew and English. This is in my opinion what we should focus on, at the beginning.
We could of course create a list of streets that are not translated to Russian or Arabic and somebody that knows the language can start translating.