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I will have the chance to take part in a meeting with the whole department of my university program (translation degree) and I would like to address what I believe to be a major problem, namely the absence of an introduction to any open-source software through our whole degree.

My assumption is that the professors at my uni only teach MSWord and Trados because they are used to and most comfortable with these softwares, but also that I will very probably be served the "this is the industry standard" justification.

I am convinced that, if anywhere, it's at universities that we should try to change these industry standards by teaching at least both the standard and an open-source alternative (MSWord and LibreOffice or Trados and OmegaT, for example). Apart from that, I also think that a university is a good place to start and develop open-source projects.

That being said, I'm looking for arguments, reliable sources and convincing examples of what a such endeavor can bring to the community. I already have MuseScore in mind, which became as usable and efficient (if not more) as the industry standards in a very short period of time.

Thanks!

  • @Brandin I've deleted your comment because it was an answer to the question. Please consider resubmitting it as an answer, since this question's been around four days and attracted none. – MadHatter Nov 5 '19 at 16:21
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There is a very good essay on this by Richard Stallman: Why Schools Should Exclusively Use Free Software.

Shortly:

  • moral duty
  • save schools money
  • Free Software permits students to learn how software works

However, the second argument doesn't really apply as you'll have to teach Trados and OmegaT (and buy the licence) anyway, and the third argument really applies to programmers.

So there needs to be a very good Free Software alternative first: an option is to team up with other translation and programming teachers (worldwide) and develop a translator software (or contribute to an existing one) as a thesis project of Computer Science BSc/MSc students, or with online volunteers, or perhaps as a crowdfunding campaign.

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  • +1 from me, though the third argument is by no means restricted to programmers. I'm a sysadmin, not a programmer, and I've lost count of times that the ability to peer inside software has helped me diagnose integration problems. I don't have to be able to see all the way to the bottom to benefit from the ability to peek under the lid! – MadHatter Mar 29 at 21:04
  • @MadHatter: I'm pretty sure that from the point of view of many non-IT professionals, "sysadmin" will count as "some kind of a programmer". That notwithstanding, maybe using a somewhat broader term than "programmer" that focuses more on the general group of virtual technology-focused professionals would make it clearer. – O. R. Mapper Apr 2 at 13:46

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