Translations WAS:[RE: AW: LPI-DE stops working]

Jared Buckley jared at
Mon Jul 29 17:29:08 EDT 2002

> [snip]
> Is there a reason why responsible groups of people in other countries
> can't simply license the LPI English-language source material (at
> no cost) and decide for themselves how to offer LPI testing in
> their country/region. 

I'll take a stab at answering this one.  In short, yes there are a few
reasons why this isn't an optimal solution.

   1)  Quality Control - LPI is a non-profit that exists solely for
       the purpose of advocating Linux by producing a globally 
       respected Linux certification program.  In order to achieve
       that goal, our exams have to be of uniformly high quality
       around the world which is a non-trivial task.  Doing 
       translations properly is expensive and time consuming and one
       or two bad translations in big market(s) could have a very
       negative impact on the worth of the certification as a whole.

    2) Cost Recovery - As Evan has pointed out earlier, translation
       while expensive is just a very small part of what it takes
       to create a certification.  Licensing this out to other 
       groups leaves us with the difficult problem of figuring out
       how to recoup our costs of development.  We're a non-profit
       but we can't keep developing exams without money.  The
       accounting and auditing overhead alone would take a 
       significant amount of time and resources for both LPI and
       anyone we licensed our IP to under a scheme like this.

    3) Protecting LPI's Intellectual Property - Our pool of exam
       questions is our most valuable asset, and if for some
       reason that intellectual property was released to the
       public, then our certification would become worthless
       unless we immediately and completely rewrote all of our exams.
       If the questions and answers were all available to anyone
       who could do a Google search then passing the exams would
       become just another "boot camp" or "exam cram" session that
       neither the Linux community nor employers would be interested
       in supporting.

    4) Agency Problem - How do you identify "responsible" groups
       consistently across multiple cultures and languages?  Handing
       the future of the program to a group as you've suggested
       above requires a very high level of trust and trust
       is largely built on communication.  Take the LPI-DE working
       group for example.  Here we have two highly motivated groups
       of very talented people who all want to achieve the same goal
       but despite that we're stuck in the middle of a very severe
       communication problem!  So, as if it's not apparent 
       from this thread, even in cases where everybody wants the 
       same thing communication can still be a very hard thing to do.
       Without communication it's hard to build trust and without
       trust sharing our IP isn't likely.

I hope this helps to answer the question of why LPI Inc needs to be very
careful about how translations are handled and how exams are delivered.
Anyone else feel free to chime in.


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