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Re: [Ghm-discuss] FSFE’s contribution to the “Horizon 2020” EU research

From: Karsten Gerloff
Subject: Re: [Ghm-discuss] FSFE’s contribution to the “Horizon 2020” EU research program
Date: Fri, 9 Dec 2011 18:40:54 +0100
User-agent: Mutt/1.5.20 (2009-06-14)

On Fri, Dec 09, 2011 at 05:21:11PM +0000, Reuben Thomas wrote:
> On 9 December 2011 17:12, Karsten Gerloff <address@hidden> wrote:
> >
> >> I'm sure papers from those
> >> with different views will have been much better written and reviewed.
> >
> > I've seen quite a few of papers of this type (though not in this
> > instance), and based on my experience, that's not the case.
> Depressing for Europe, hopeful for the FSFE!

...and for anyone else who wants to voice their interests with the
European institutions, but isn't a native English speaker. 
> > In the EU institutions, most people are not native English
> > speakers. Yet everyone needs to work in English. So there's an
> > unspoken consensus not to pick on the linguistic details in a
> > text (unless you're talking about laws or treaties, of course,
> > where precision is everything), and get on with work.
> I understand, but polished English will be (even if unconsciously)
> preferred, not least because it communicates better. (I imagine this
> works the same as the "grammatically written review" effect[1].)
> [1] 

Full agreement. Language is definitely a factor in the overall
impact of a given document.

(As is appearance, btw. I met with someone from the EC over
Horizon 2020 to discuss an earlier version of this document. I had
previously sent the document to him as a PDF made with LaTeX. He
told me: "you've produced a very nice document". The rest of our
conversation consisted in me telling him what was in the document.
He clearly hadn't read it before our meeting, but it looked so
good that he instinctively liked it!)

Yet in situations like these, we essentially face the trade-off
explained before: Submit something in time, or submit a perfect text
after the deadline, when it'll be perfectly useless. 

> > So, could I take the liberty of contacting you when there's a
> > document you've already invested into in some form (e.g. time,
> > work, ideas) and checking whether you'd be interested in reviewing
> > the language?
> I'd be very happy to help at opportune moments, so do try me.

Excellent. Thanks!

Feel free to say no, though. 
> Given what you say about the general standard of English in Brussels,
> writing better English (and more coherently: you may notice that I
> pulled some of the material around to improve the flow) is an easy way
> to improve how favourably our input is received.

I agree. We're always trying to make our texts as good as
possible. We even have a few volunteers focusing on
reviewing and improving texts, but their bandwidth is naturally
limited. Hence my rather straightforward request to you earlier
on :-)

Personally, I used to work as a journalist, and I'm rather
passionate about language. But as an activist, I'm also passionate
about making an impact. 

Best regards,

Karsten Gerloff                      [ ]   <address@hidden>
Free Software Foundation Europe   [ ][ ][ ]      []
President                            | |         +49 176 9690 4298
Your donation powers our work!           []

Free Software Foundation Europe e.V. is a German Verein registered
at the Registergericht Hamburg (VR 17030). 

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