The New Inconvenient History:
Inconvenient History now carries material in a number of foreign languages, and we ask our readers to help us get non-English contributions translated into English for parallel carriage. Inconvenient History also allows video and audio files to be submitted alongside a transcript of their verbal contents. Unchanged is the type and style of content Inconvenient History covers.
For years, I have sensed that there is a gap between what Inconvenient History is and what it could be. Being multilingual myself, I knew there is so much more material out there than ever makes it onto the pages of our fine revisionist online periodical. To begin with, there is a wide range of Italian, French and German contributions that deserve a broader audience, but since Inconvenient History was limited to English-language material only, hardly anything of it has ever made it beyond the narrow confines of its original language. The reason for this is that Inconvenient History has not had a pool of volunteers to ask for translations. Being a free online journal with basically no income at all, we cannot pay anyone for anything. But then again, from my past experience I know that there are plenty of talented, knowledgeable people who want to help, and who can do translations without asking to be paid. Yet in the past they got frustrated, too, because there was no organizational infrastructure that they could turn to in order to offer their assistance.
How do we connect these two loose ends?
We had to start somewhere. And here is what we have decided to do: First, we open up Inconvenient History to foreign-language contributions. Since we have a number of individuals on our advisory board with language skills, we will make use of them to review and edit incoming non-English contributions to make sure they meet our requirements. For now, our new roster of languages we accept includes: Czech, English, French, German, Italian, Polish, Romanian, Russian, Slovakian, Spanish.
The result of it you can see from this first issue of 2017: It has five contributions in English (six, if you count this editorial), three in Italian, two in French and one in German. Now, who the heck is supposed to be able to read all those? Well, I can. But that’s no help to most of you, I understand. Our plan is, of course, to have all non-English submissions translated into English, and, once that is accomplished, to post them alongside the original paper. As long as that is not done, though, we decided that from now on every submitted paper has to come with an abstract of no more than 1,000 characters succinctly and accurately summarizing the item's contents. These abstracts should be in English, but if they are not, we can translate such short pieces on the fly, so to speak. This gives those who do not read any of the non-English papers at least a rough idea what they are all about.
Now we hope to find benefactors who will help us get all non-English papers translated into English. The first step of accomplishing this is actually to have put these papers out there in the first place. This way everyone can see that there is valuable material, some of it rather short, which is in need of tender loving care from volunteers with bilingual or multilingual skills.
Next, we need to tap into that unused reservoir of potential volunteers who will help us get these papers translated. To accomplish this, we have revamped CODOH’s approach to finding, assigning and catering to our volunteers. That’s been a bumpy road, though, because in order to make this work, we decided to include a volunteer section in our database which includes all relevant data about them, which keeps track of all the projects we define for them, and which records which volunteer is assigned to which project, and what progress each assignment is making. Because, truth be told: once you get beyond a few listed volunteers, if you’re not organized, you lose track of things, and chaos and frustration will result for all involved. We’ve had that happen repeatedly in the past.
Hence, we’ve employed some of our programmers’ brainpower to get this all set up. Admittedly, we’ve had a few glitches. For instance, in early February an app that was supposed to delete spam submissions deleted not the spam entries but those of our new volunteers. Bad. We’re still recovering from that, and I hope that those who fell victim to this bug won’t get demotivated by this mishap. To check whether your volunteer account was affected, please go to http://codoh.com/login/ and check whether your account is still active and working. If it is not, then please get in touch with CODOH so we can fix it. We truly apologize for this inconvenience!
For all of you who haven’t signed up as volunteers yet but who have any translation skills from any of the above languages into English, please be so kind as to consider signing up as a volunteer with CODOH here. It goes without saying that CODOH can use many more energetic individuals with skills other than just translating. If you have any other skills, like programming, data entry, editing & proofing, or you want to help us with marketing and outreach, with video production, and, and, and, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with CODOH’s volunteer manager, so that we can discuss where your talents and skills could be put to good use.
Another option to help us out with translations is to ask for sponsors. For instance, if we had sufficient funds to pay for translations, that would open up the option of hiring someone to do a professional job: fast, high-quality, and reliable. We have a few language geniuses with revisionist inclinations at hand, but none of them is willing or able to take on that workload without remuneration, Hence, if you are willing to chip in financially, please get in touch so we can discuss how to organize this.
There is another change to Inconvenient History which hasn’t made it into this issue but might do so in the near future: we have expanded the kind of media we carry from just text to also include video and audio files. It’s a big step into a new world for us, but in the age of gadgets and multi-media content, we think that including other media formats is important. More than ever, revisionism needs to use visual media to get its message out. We want to encourage this by accepting documentaries and other video and audio material which gets that message out to the new generation of screen aficionados. All submissions of video and audio files need to come with a transcript of what is said, because it is important to offer the spoken content as text, also so that we can easily have it translated and turned into subtitles in all kinds of languages, and maybe even to dub video and audio files in other languages.
The one thing that hasn’t changed is the kind of contents we accept. The topics we cover are history, especially modern history, civil rights and their violation, with a focus on freedom of speech and of scientific inquiry, reporting on persons and institutions involved in historiography, or involved in censorship or the struggle against it. Although we prefer new and hitherto unpublished reports, reviews and research papers and documentaries, we will also consider republishing material of special merit. The style of papers, video or audio files submitted ought to be systematic in structure and objective in the approach to the topic covered. Factual statements ought to be supported with references to sources backing up the claims. Although that rule is somewhat relaxed for audio and video submissions, even they must refer to some sources where more information can be found. Opinions ought to be distinguishable from factual statements. Last but not least, please be aware that we do not accept any ad-hominem attacks, and absolutely no advocating for, and justification or condoning of, the violation of anyone’s civil rights.