The project I’m involved in has about the same amount of money earmarked to improve diversity. It proved challenging to find useful ways to spend it.
The language barrier is the current focus. There are many people who are unable to convey their brilliant ideas simply because they do not speak English fluently. As a Free Software project, this is our loss. As a community this makes us less inclusive.
In the past few months the project started an experiment that involves hiring interpreters to provide simultaneous translation from French & Chinese to English during webinars or monthly updates. The rationale for choosing these two languages is because the French and Chinese communities are strong within the project. It’s still too early to know if this initiative will have a positive effect. But I can already say it’s been a friendly and enjoyable experience for everyone involved
The cost of running this experiment is compatible with a budget in the range of a few thousand $/€. One hour of an experienced interpreter with knowledge of CS terms is between 50€ and 200€. Preparation for the interpreter to go over the agenda, slides etc. is also required and the hourly rate is less (-20% to -50%).
If anyone is interested in checking how it goes first hand, they are kindly invited to the forge federation webinar that will be held from 10:00am to 11:59am UTC+1 January 19th, 2022.
My hope is that it will inspire other Free Software projects to try to bring down the language barrier that non native English speakers are currently facing.
P.S. And native English speakers will immediately know by reading this message that I am not one of them. Trying to write non borken English is a lot of work and it should not be so hard on everyone