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Conlang Translation Relay no. 10/R "The Olympic Relay"


A short explanation for those who don't know what a "relay game" is. It is essentially a variation on the telephone game: one writes a poem or a short passage in his constructed language ("conlang"), and sends it to another with linguistic instructions. That person sends a translation in his or her language to the next in line, and on and on until it returns full circle, altered, transformed, as it were, by the gods, and containing new wisdom. The first time this game was played was five years ago, in 1999, and since then approximately twelve relays have taken place.

This relay was somewhat different from previous relays, because during the Ninth Relay the idea was born to have a special relay with Romance conlangs only. As the preparations for such a relay proceeded, however, we came to the conclusion that it wouldn't at all be nice to exclude the non-Romlangers from the fun, and so it was decided to combine them in one relay, subdivided in two categories with different rules. Because the Romlangers were vastly outnumbered by the non-Romlangers, the latter were divided in two separate groups (rings).

When the relay took off on August 9, 2004, there were three rings. The Romlang Ring ("ring R") consisted of Romance conlangs only; it was aimed primarily at hypothetical offspring of Latin, but also at other languages, provided that the bulk of their vocabulary was Latin- or Romance-based. The other two rings ("rings A and B") consisted of all other conlangs, naturalistic or not.

After a week, it turned out that the original Romlang Ring could not be maintained in its current form. Two people had dropped out, and only one translation had been completed. Besides, the text had already undergone such drastic changes, that the assumption seemed justified that one leap in the Romlang Ring equalled about five leaps in a normal ring. As Ring R originally consisted of 21 participants (which, by the way, was far beyond expectation), it was decided to split it in two: "Ring Q" and "Ring R". Each participant would have 72 hours instead of the normal 48 hours to complete his task. Furthermore, a small additional ring was created for people who dropped out of Ring Q or Ring R ("Ring S"). Thus, Relay 10/R ended up with no less than five rings. To this, and to the fact that in the same week the Olympic games in Athens took off, the relay owes its nickname "the Olympic Relay". It should be added that Ring S remained extremely short, which in fact proves the success of the Romlang Relay concept.

Go here to see the schedule.