17 Jan 2019

Data Carpentry Python Ecology Lesson Translated into Spanish

We are excited to announce our newest community-driven lesson translation: Análisis y visualización de datos usando Python

From September 2017 to May 2018, there was a community-driven effort to translate the Software Carpentry lessons into Spanish, and the result was the production of three high-quality lessons that can be used to teach a Software Carpentry Workshop consisting of La Terminal de Unix, Control de Versiones con Git, and R para Análisis Científicos Reproducibles.

The next logical step to enhance The Carpentries portfolio of Spanish lessons was to translate a Python-based Data Carpentry lesson. In November 2018, we initiated and completed a community-driven project to create Análisis y visualización de datos usando Python.

Planning and Implementation

Thanks to our previous experience in translating lessons, we were able to quickly plan and implement a strategy for collaboratively translating the lesson.

The first step was to import the English version of the Python lesson to the Carpentries-ES GitHub organization for translation. This organization is useful because many bilingual instructors are already members, and it contains the “translation conventions” document that dictates what not to translate. Additionally, the lesson README.md file contained more guidelines for contribution and contact information.

Then, we set up a Slack channel as a way to the translators to quickly address questions or concerns regarding translation. We added links to the slack channel and general guidelines for the translation on the README.

The next step was to recruit volunteers. We sent an announcement on the LatinoAmerica mailing list to reach many Spanish-speaking Carpentries instructors and to the Jupyter Notebook mailing list to reach the broader Python community. We also announced the initiative on Twitter and Facebook, posting in Spanish and English to reach an even wider network of potential translators.

We used GitHub Projects to coordinate the translation of episodes and auxiliary files. We opened an issue for every file that needed translating, and we used labels and project columns to track the progress of each issue. This worked very well! We also created a Table of Progress where we kept track of who was doing what, when it was started, and when it was completed.

The translation effort spurred a flutter of activity directed toward improvement of the English version of the Python Ecology lesson. At the onset of translation, a few lessons were missing key points, but our translators worked with the maintainers of the English version of the lesson to add key points to both the English and Spanish versions. Other minor updates were made when our translators noticed places in the lessons where the narrative could be improved, and these revisions were simultaneously made in both the English and Spanish versions of the lesson. In conclusion, our community-driven translation effort improved the quality of our English lesson.

A major success of this community-effort is that we completed the translation in only three weeks! This included an initial translation and two rounds of review and revision. This is incredibly fast! It was achieved by a team of people from many nationalities and many time zones, collaborating remotely to achieve a common goal. We hope that the process we have outlined in this post is valuable to community members who are also interested in initiating short-term projects in online spaces.

The contributors

The following people contributed directly to the translation of Python Ecology lesson during November 2018: Monica Alonso (Argentina), Laura Angelone (Argentina), Sergio Arredondo (Netherlands), Juan Martín Barrios (Mexico), Sofía Meléndez Cartagena (USA - Puerto Rico), Miguel González Duque (Colombia), Fernando Garcia (Argentina), Alejandra González-Beltran (UK), Rayna M Harris (USA), Spencer Harris (USA), Romualdo Zayas Lagunas (Mexico), Wilson Lozano-Rolón (USA - Puerto Rico), Paula Andrea Martínez (Belgium), François Michonneau (USA), Nohemi Huanca Nunez (USA), Enric Escorsa O’Callaghan (Spain), Nicolas Palopoli (Argentina), Silvana Pereyra (Uruguay), Heladia Salgado (Mexico), Sergio Sánchez (USA), and Leonardo Ulises Spairani (Argentina). The maintainers of the English version of the lesson (Tania Allard (UK), Maxim Belkin (USA) and April Wright (USA)) also played a vital role in translation effort by facilitating simultaenous updates to both English and Spanish version of the lesson.

Next steps

Now that the lesson has been translated, we are excited to see how it works in practice. Please let us know if you have the chance to teach this lesson to Spanish-speaking learners either as a stand-alone lesson or as part of a two-day workshop. Here’s a link to all the lessons in Spanish. If you are looking for resources for hosting workshops, please visit the Carpentries Handbook.

Lesson Carpentry Links Zenodo DOI
Análisis y visualización de datos usando Python Data Carpentry Website 10.5281/zenodo.2536379
Control de Versiones con Git Software Carpentry Website 10.5281/zenodo.1197332
La Terminal de Unix Software Carpentry Website 10.5281/zenodo.1198732
R para Análisis Científicos Reproducibles Software Carpentry Website 10.5281/zenodo.1251333


We are very grateful to all members of The Carpentries who have provided continual encouragement and support for translation efforts likes these. Sofía Meléndez Cartagena, Nicolas Palopoli, and Charles Reid provided valuable feedback on earlier versions of this post.

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