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Gewaltloser Widerstand und demokratische Konsolidierung – Or: An AI Translated My Book!

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In 2020, me and four other authors (Markus Bayer, Felix Bethke, Matteo Dressler and Véronique Dudouet) published a book called Nonviolent Resistance and Democratic Consolidation. It was the culmination of a four-year research effort into how and why mass nonviolent resistance during transition helps the resulting democracies survive longer and be stronger than democracies that emerged through top-down liberalization or those rare cases where violent resistance actually led to democracy.

Last year, the publisher approached us. They were testing AI translation tools (specifically DeepL) and wanted to create a German version of our book. Somewhat sceptically, we agreed. The raw text was indeed quite good. The AI has a somewhat stilted and precise style of writing that doesn’t deal well with stylistic flourishes, but the overall job was mostly adequate. Nevertheless, the text needed a careful editing. First, the AI had a hard time with specialized vocabulary, with words like „transition“ having a very specific meaning in comparative politics that was not adequately captured with simply translating it as „Übergang“. Second, in some very rare cases, the AI simply dropped a verb from a sentence. Third, some terms were translated in two or three different ways – not a great thing if you want consistent language. So some extra effort was necessary.

But the end result is fine – good even. And it’s available now: The abstract is as follows:

In diesem Buch wird argumentiert, dass Demokratien, die aus friedlichen Protesten hervorgegangen sind, länger bestehen, ein höheres Maß an demokratischer Qualität erreichen und mit größerer Wahrscheinlichkeit mindestens zwei friedliche Machtwechsel erleben als Demokratien, die aus gewaltsamem Widerstand oder einer Liberalisierung von oben hervorgegangen sind. Anhand von Fallstudien zur demokratischen Konsolidierung in Afrika und Lateinamerika kommt das Buch zu dem Ergebnis, dass gewaltfreier Widerstand einen integrativeren Übergangsprozess schafft, der langfristig widerstandsfähiger gegen den Zusammenbruch der Demokratie ist.

If you’re interested in reviewing this book, please contact me.

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