In this post, I talk about some simple ideas to promote Fortran and the work of our community in non-English languages.
We have already talked about non-English languages here:
And we discussed that some students (especially undergraduate) can be intimidated coming in our Discourse by two barriers : English level and technical level.
But another problem is the referencing of sites in foreign languages. For example, in France Google is dominating (>90 %), followed by Yahoo, Bing, Qwant and Ecosia. If I type “Fortran” in the french versions of those search engines, the results are:
- Bing: Fortran-lang.org is at the 3rd position.
- Ecosia: 2nd (in fact Ecosia uses Bing results).
- Yahoo: 4th.
It seems good, but…
- Qwant: mainly results in French on the first page. And impossible to find Fortran-lang.org and affiliated sites, even going deep in the results (limited to 5 pages).
- Google: like in Qwant, and I can’t find Fortran-lang.org and affiliated sites in the 10 first pages…
Those engines privilege results in the national language, as most people expect, and it’s a good and rational thing. But it’s a kind of bubble effect and in the scientific fields you need of course to break out of that bubble… OK, I know that I have just to add an english word in my query to influence the engine’s behavior: with “fortran language”, Fortran-lang.org is 5th in Google and 1st in Qwant! But most undergraduate students won’t do that… (I am trying to teach that to my 20 year’s old students.)
1) Identifying and participating in non-English sites
As a consequence, we can search for non-English forums or Wikis related to Fortran and participate. For example, the first (and only?) french forum about Fortran is:
where I have posted some news about Fortran and our community (Discourse, fpm, Milan’s book…) and I try to give answers when I can. OK, there is only a few new questions each month in the Fortran forum, but that site has a good page ranking and is considered as a reference by french developers. Therefore, people will easily find there news in their own language showing that Fortran is evolving and has a community. A first step before possibly joining us.
2) Writing papers in computer magazines
We can promote Fortran and its tools by writing papers in our national magazines. For example, in France the Diamond Editions are publishing very good magazines around open source: Linux Pratique, GNU/Linux Magazine France, MISC, Hackable magazine. The pay is pretty good, and the author can even choose to be paid less if he chooses a Creative Commons BY-NC-ND license for its paper, that will then be freely put online on their site some months latter: https://connect.ed-diamond.com/
Writing a paper for a magazine is typically a 20 hours work.
We could also write books, but it’s a huge effort, as Milan knows , and for a low audience on a national level… (OK, it depends on your country’s size…)
3) Teaching Fortran
If you teach Fortran to your students you will of course speak about Fortran-lang and its projects. Or if you have Ph.D. students. And maybe put your PDF online.
4) Any other idea ?