[hackerspaces] Translating word 'hackerspace' to other languages?

Nate Bezanson myself at telcodata.us
Sun Aug 29 05:45:30 CEST 2010

> Still, a "hackerspace" sounds to me like a room in which you can store
> hackers, not like a space where people actually get their hands dirty on
> hard- or software. Maybe we should improve the english term before
> finding a good translation.

Amen to that! I'm very much behind the word "facility", despite the mild
American English euphemism for "toilet". ("Excuse me, I have to use the
facilities..") Taking it apart, you get "facile", meaning "easy", and
isn't that what we do? We ease things that would otherwise be difficult.
And there's also a strong industrial feel to the word. I'm still a bit
sore that i3Detroit wasn't named The Detroit Facility.

The other word I like is "laboratory". Even though it contains the word
"labor" which means "work", and it was previously pointed out that work
sounds bad, I don't think people hear that when you say it. Everyone knows
a lab is where science happens! And you can make lots of cool acronyms
with an L in them.

As much as I agree with the notion of bringing positive stuff behind the
word "hacker", sometimes I think we take it too far, and wrap unrelated
things in it. A lot of i3Detroit's activities have little or nothing to do
with hacking in most senses, and I've heard the word "makerspace" thrown
around. I dislike it, because I think it's too closely tied to a
particular publication and I don't wish to hitch our fortunes to theirs,
but it does convey well the amount of hands-on crafty stuff we engage in.

I find myself using the word "shop", as in "I think there's a box of those
at the shop", rather than saying "space". Space is where astronauts go. I
really think TechShop nailed it on the name.

How do words/ideas like "laboratory" and "shop" work out in the languages
of interest here? (Finnish was the original focus, right?) You could also
try some nouns like "circuit", "gadget", "code", and pair them up.

Reading through the List Of Hackerspaces, I love some of the names that
groups have come up with, and many provide fodder for thoughts of a new
term entirely. Here's one: "Idea Kitchen".


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