DO NOT Transcribe languages you are not prepared for... Do not transcribe only dates...Please!!!

It has come to our attention that we have some English transcribers going into to foreign cemeteries and placing only dates in the transcription box. PLEASE DO NOT DO THIS!!

When only dates are placed in the transcription box this makes it nearly impossible for people to do searches for family members, as the pins are set as transcribed, but will not be set with a name.  If you can't read or write in  Greek, Chinese, Russian, Japanese or Polish please do not attempt to transcribe these languages.  These are very tricky languages to transcribe and Polish for example, has many diacritics that must be done correctly or words lose meaning. 

Swedish, Norwegian, French, Spanish and German also have Diacritics. If you are familiar with them such as the German Umlaut, or the Spanish Accent mark and know how to use the alt keys go ahead and translate. If you do not even know what an accent or diacritic is, please do not try to transcribe records in foreign languages. 

If you are in an English speaking country, and come across a headstone in a foreign language, please mark it accordingly if you can tell what language it is. This is done on the main transcription page by clicking on the blue box in the right hand corner of the screen that has a Chinese looking mark and an A. You can click on this button and set a language...only do this though if you are familiar enough with a foreign language.  Let me give you a couple of examples:

Example 1: You took a Chinese class in school and can recognize Chinese, but don't write it or understand it know Chinese well enough to click on the set language button. 

Example 2: If you grew up with a Swiss Grandfather and took a couple of years of German. Don't speak the language well, but can recognize it and know how and where to find the German Umlaut on a can go ahead and transcribe German Records.

Example 3: If you only know German by what it sounds like on a WWII movie...or have only gotten Chinese fortune cookies at Panda Express to understand Chinese... you probably should leave foreign languages alone for now....  ;)

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unfortunately they do not only transcribe dates, they try to transcribe the whole headstone. But completely wrong! I have to correct about 1300 photos I made, because someone have transcribed it without proper knowledge of Czech language! For example, the headstone says RODINA JIŘÍČKOVA, which means Jiříček family. Someone put RODINA (family) in the field Name, and JIRICKOVA (yes, without diacritics too!, and with wrong gender inflection) in the Family names field. Gender inflection is wrong basically in each transcription of a headstone. I think only transcribers from the country should be allowed to transcribe headstones taken in the particular country. Not someone, who is non native.

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Would it be easier for you as photographer/transcriber to have all those in error re-set, wiping away the wrong transcription? If they were mostly done by the same transcribers or on certain dates, the support staff may be able to sort on those and reset the fields to blank. That would also have the impact of removing credit for the transcription from the person(s) who did it wrong in the first place. 

Please do report these transcribers to Support when it happens; some people have been doing it a long time and since we have no way to stop them, only Support can deal with it for us. I personnally think they should get a warning to desist the first time and if they do it again, maybe put them on MUTE like they do on Facebook when people can't follow the rules of the sites. 

Funny about "Rodina"  - when I first started doing corrections from the daily indexes, these errors showed up and I thought Rodina was just a very common family name like Jones or Smith in the English speaking world. Unlike some others, I took the time to look up and translate the words enough to know that I would never master the inflections and diacriticals  in Czech or any of those related languages, and the very different naming customs on headstones in your country. Naming and headstone customs are very regional, and different in different parts of the US as well. 

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I have just come across your post A Young and I wanted to say that the Blog and Community is perhaps not the place to communicate with volunteers when trying to get a message across. I rarely come here as there is nothing to alert me that something new has been posted. Although I believe my email address is registered I never receive anything from BG to alert me of new things that I need to be aware of. Perhaps this is just me? 

Anyway I would like to suggest that such an important message is communicated where transcribers can see it such as a kink to this page, pop up or banner message on the transcription page. I don't believe you are reaching the people who need to know this important message and so the problem will continue. 

On a personal note I am afraid I now rarely post images for other volunteers to transcribe anymore due to the poor quality of the transcribed result. I much prefer to upload a batch and then transcribe them myself. I don't like to look at other transcribers work as I am continuously correcting details many of which could easily be checked by using resources like (only for UK records), and Lots of records are free to search and can assist when you are unsure of dates and spelling etc. I also use the (Commonwealth Grave Commission) website for details of WWI and WWII casualties within the Commonwealth. I am afraid for lots of people it is too easy to just put a load of ** or ?? or say unreadable which helps no-one. I really think it is time BG looked at quality rather than going for quantity. Also perhaps all these records with incorrect or missing details or symbols should be returned to the transcriber to look at again and correct before they are offered more records to transcribe. I would be happy to hear other volunteers thoughts on this. 

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I agree that we shouldn't transcribe tombstones from places when we clearly don't know the language.  However, to suggest we only transcribe tombstones from the country we are native to is silly.  I was born in the United States, moved to Spain when I was two, stayed there for seventeen years (with a year in Turkey in the middle of that) then moved to Germany for two years.  After that it was off  to Italy where I lived fifteen years.  I learned French in high school and continued learning that language in college.  Am I really only supposed to transcribe stones from the United States when I am fluent in three languages, can get by in two others and can easily figure out the English used in so many other parts of the world?  

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@Amy -The problem is people from the states who are not fluent in any language but English, only transcribe dates, try to create stones with English names or leave out diacritics.  This is not what we want, as it helps no one.  We want to have this be of service to everyone! 

 I have had many of our Russian, Polish and Czech users frustrated because Americans are not correctly transcribing headstones. For an American it would be like having your relatives graves translated by a Chinese or Russian user in Slavic or Chinese characters, or leaving out the name and just placing in dates. Yikes!

We ALWAYS welcome those who speak foreign languages to transcribe IF they understand how important diacritics are in foreign languages and know how and where to use them. We do not want people translating stones into another language, nor do we want people leaving out diacritics if they are on the stone. Those who violate this trust will have their transcriptions deleted and put back into the pool for someone else to do.

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AMY - Thanks for clarifying that it is not about country of origin etc., but one's fluid useage  of a language and its naming customs that are important. I, for example, can read some Spanish, but do not transcribe in Spanish or Latin American cemeteries because the naming customs just do not make sense to me; I have studied on it enough to know that it is not obvious what to put in the "family" or surname field. 

The ones that create real problems are those who just whiz through a Chinese or Israeli cemetery transcribing only the dates! And those who think the Cyrillic alphabet is just a strange font in use. Both Anna and I do a lot of corrections, and we see these bad transcriptions showing up almost every day.

I am grateful  that users like you who are multi-lingual are among the prolific contributors. Wish I was more fluent. 

I do agree with a previous poster that, unfortunately, these same users do not seem to come to Community or Help Desk, so BG really ought to be pushing out user-friendly emails that alert folks about these kinds of procedural issues, and to update us when changes are made to the basic web site pages. 


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I am one of those family members who discovered a bunch of our family gravestones, (which are engraved using Ukrainian (Cyrillic) lettering) and some user went & transcribed them using English (Latin) text! ...and I do NOT mean that they "transliterated" the them! Because EACH language "proper" and accepted transliteration practices! This person took the name "Іван" (eevahn) and transcribed it as "Ibah" (eyebah?) Can someone please LMK where and or how I get them corrected? ... or can I do it myself somewhere? Thank you.

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@XTOC6- I am sorry this happened to you!  Please write to support, they will help you get this straightened out. NO ONE should be doing this...

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If you transcribe Danish headstones, you would think that the most common name in the country is Fred, as this is on maybe 20% of all the headstones.  If you added this as a first name, as it often appears, it would really screw things up.  Fred simply means "Peace".  If you don't know this, I hope you aren't doing Danish records.

@AYoung Thank You!
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