News,

Městem na kole: more articles in English

Publikováno: 30. srpna. 2023, 8 min. čtení
Úvodní foto: Image by Freepik
Publikováno: 30. srpna. 2023, 8 min. čtení
Úvodní foto: Image by Freepik

This website always had a few basic articles in English, but that is now changing. With the support of a volunteer and ever smarter translation software, we can make a lot of our content available for non-Czech speakers. This will be of interest to the local expat community, as well as to people further afield, who want to know more about the development and challenges of improving cities for cycling worldwide, and in our case, the Czech Republic.

With over 650.000 foreigners living in Czechia at the end of 2021 (over 6% of the total population) there is bound to be quite a significant group of people who could be interested in understanding the state and development of cycling here, but, due to language difficulties, struggle to follow. Overall, so called ‚expats‘ enjoy living here, with the easy opportunities to enjoy nature (also on bike) often mentioned as a big advantage. At the same, the deplorable state of cities‘ infrastructure is listed as a minus.

If you follow Czech politics you would not always expect it, but the impact of foreigners on Czechia is, especially from the perspective of economics, a positive one. The Czech government aims to create a positive business climate, and that must include an enjoyable living experience for any foreigners that are attracted by it.

With our provision of cycling news in English, we aim to encourage non-Czech speakers to take an interest in the development of cycling infrastructure in our beautiful country, and in particular in our cities. In Prague alone live over 200.000 foreigners (2019). With their experience of other places around the world and those cities‘ struggles to provide healthy and enjoyable urban transport, they might have higher or lower expectations than what is now being provided in Czechia. We invite them to share their experiences of and wishes for cycling in Czech cities.

About Městem na kole

Městem na kole (City by Bike) is an online magazine about urban cycling in Czechia, for everyone. You will learn about the latest news from the world of urban cycling in the world, Czechia and Prague. Our goal is to popularize bicycle transport and expand the discussion on sustainable transport in our country.

Read more here.

Machine + Human: translating just got easier

For our English-language service we use ChatGPT in combination with an expat bike-lover for editing the lay-out and proof reading.

Suzanne Verhaar writes in her biography:

Originally from cycling paradise, the Netherlands, I prefer to live here in Praha. Working hard to improve my Czech and learning a lot about history and society. I don’t miss home at all, except for one thing: joyfully and safely riding my bike at all times.

She has been living in Czechia for almost two years now, and has been busy exploring the country on foot (over 600km), by road bike (over 1500km), by bus and train. She enjoys being ‚the expat‘, but also finds it important to work on her integration into Czech society. Speaking Czech is still difficult, but she does try and her results are improving. Reading Czech is no problem anymore, as she studied Slavic languages in university. Whilst volunteering with Městem na Kole, she kills several birds with one stone:

  • Practicing her Czech
  • Learning more about local politics and government
  • Being confronted with ‚anti-cycling‘ opinions, designs, and planning processes that to her, as a Dutch woman raised on Dutch traffic infrastructure, seem so glaringly obviously incorrect, irresponsible and down-right stupid. It’s unpleasant, but for a democratic inclusive society, it is absolutely vital to be familiar with others‘ opinions.
  • Doing something positive (in her opinion) for the society she is living in, as she really likes it here and might stay forever

She is very impressed with the quality and quantity of the Městem na Kole articles, and thinks everything is interesting. She chooses the articles for translation on her own. So far, the focus has been on a series of ‚How to do basic cycling in the city‘ articles and the seven-part ‚Advocacy Manual‘. News, opinions, analyses, inspiration and campaigns will have a focus on Prague, as this is where most expats are based.

Her cycling related wishes are as follows:

  • For everybody to experience the joy and freedom of cycling (fresh air, wind in your hair, contact with other people)
  • To make the bike the first choice of transport for many more people’s daily commutes (work, groceries, school, appointments)
  • Improved bike parking facilities around people’s flats (a bike down in the basement does not invite you to quickly hop on it for your trip to the supermarket)
  • A continuous bike path along the Labe, all the way up to Vrchlabí (last year she experienced the joys of the good parts (Nymburk, Poděbrady, Pardubice, Hradec Kralové to Jaromer) and the frustrations of the bad parts (Neratovice, Kolin)

Comments by the editor-in-chief

The English section will adhere to the same principles as the core Czech version of the magazine. The editorial team of „Městem na kole“ follows journalistic work principles, remaining unbiased towards any interest group and refraining from endorsing specific solutions or projects. We also strictly adhere to principles of transparent advertising; all promotional messages are clearly labeled as advertisements. Hidden advertising or covertly embedded links are strictly prohibited.

These principles extend to the English content as well. Although the magazine is a project of the local NGO AutoMat, the „Městem na kole“ editorial team operates independently, with AutoMat having no involvement in editorial or content decision-making.

The editor of the English section, Suzanne Verhaar, has been introduced above. She is responsible for translations and content selection. Currently, the English section operates autonomously. Our intention is not necessarily to translate all Czech content or to consistently publish translations simultaneously with the Czech originals. It’s also possible that certain articles will be exclusively written for the English section. However, we plan to cover key topics in both Czech and English, and provide content that can engage the international community within Czechia.

The idea of including an English section in our magazine has been in our thoughts for a while. With Suzanne Verhaar’s contributions, this concept is now turning into a reality. There might still be some details to work on, but we’re aiming to set the initial bar modestly and gradually enhance the English section as we move forward.

Support Městem na kole

Would you like to support our work? Despite being primarily a group of volunteers, we require your support to continue improving and maintaining this independent online magazine focused on urban cycling in Czechia and beyond. Support us and become our regular donor on this page.

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