the_xd's blog

By the_xd, history, 5 weeks ago, In English

Recently I had a talk with my Indian friend who had moved to Czech Republic a while back. [2 years to be specific]

He seems to have a great interest in Informatics Olympiad but as the task statements in the preliminary rounds are solely in Czech [and as he is not familiar with the language for some obvious reasons] he is not allowed to take part in the olympiad.

most of you guys might be thinking of a one obvious response by him, to mail them for the translation in English. But here's the catch, They literally refused to translate the problem statement with an absurd reason "the extra effort wouldn't be justified"

I don't believe that Czech is an easy language to get fluent at within 4 years when you have to prepare for the olympiad on the side.

it's just not IOI, every competition the Czech republic participates in, IOI, IMO etc, all of their selection rounds are in Czech

He kept emailing them but they just stuck with the statement that they are not going to translate the problem statement.

so yeah, just wanted to let the community know about this situation.

 
 
 
 
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5 weeks ago, # |
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5 weeks ago, # |
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Slovakia (south) has a significant Hungarian minority. It's fairly normal for students from there to speak Hungarian as their main language and have some grasp on Slovak that differs case-by-case. The Physics Olympiad offers Hungarian translations for all categories except the top one. Nobody complains. Inb4 you claim it's not a comparable situation: it is.

If your friend can't even learn to read problem statements in the native language of the country he's living in, while surrounded by people who speak that language and often really suck at English? Too bad for him.

To give another example: Snarknews series aren't translated to English either.

Btw, why only English? Note that Czech Republic doesn't have anything to do with English language — it's an official language in India, but only a badly-kept social norm in CR. Something like German would actually make more sense, considering it's one of national languages in CR, making it a weaker equivalent to the Hungarian situation in Slovakia.

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5 weeks ago, # |
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Upvoting this blog, I believe that this topic deserves to be discussed. Moreover, I would like to hear similar stories from elsewhere as it doesn't just apply for the Czech Republic.

As for the extra effort, it truly is demanding to translate fourteen problems a year as the olympiad needs to make sure that both versions say the same thing. Even correcting machine translation would be somewhat tedious work that I don't believe is worth paying for if it was just for one or two students. So I see their point, even though I think they were a little bit harsh on your friend.

However, some alternatives might be more feasible. I am thinking about allowing dictionaries (which is indeed the case at some international competitions). The dictionaries would be thoroughly checked by invigilators and could allow more students to participate.

Finally, if your friend is still in high school, I want to recommend KSP. The organisers give out a series of problems five times a year, which can be automatically translated if necessary and submitted in English. Then, your friend would get feedback on his solutions. The best students are then invited for an awesome camp (although COVID and language might be issues here).

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    5 weeks ago, # ^ |
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    y not just use english like how IOI and almost all other OIs do :thinkies:

    just a dictionary won't be fair right

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      5 weeks ago, # ^ |
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      87 countries participated in IOI 2020. Can you list the countries that is known to have English problem statement? (I really doubt that ‘almost all other OIs do’) Among which, how many countries do not officially use English? What percentage of countries that do not officially use English have English problem statements?

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      5 weeks ago, # ^ |
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      In IOI problem statements are translated, it's the responsibility of the (deputy) leader to translate the statements to the languages of that country.

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Welp, the (only) official language in Czechia is Czech, so I understand the organizers.

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In what way is their reason absurd? Why is it absurd that the organizer of a country that does not officially use English have to translate the problem statement for only one student who move to such a country and is therefore expected to at least be somewhat familiar with the local language? Why wouldn’t your friend have to bear any responsibility for not knowing the local language?