[Xfce-i18n] New translators, some information on how to proceed

tegegne tefera tefera.tegegne at gmail.com
Thu Jun 7 02:48:41 CEST 2007

On 6/5/07, Jasper Huijsmans <jasper at xfce.org> wrote:
> tegegne tefera wrote:
> ...
> >
> >
> > I have been in this community only couple of days and raising the
> > fallowing questions probably is too soon. But it is better to raise them
> > than be indifferent.
> >
> Very true. Things can only get better if people tell us what they think.
> > I have been translating Foss software for many years now. I have used
> > online and offline tools and am the coordinator of the debian installer
> > Amharic translation team and ubuntu Amharic team.
> >
> > At debian I had about 7 instructional conversations with the l10n
> > coordinator that took exactly 1 day to get up and running. At the end of
> > the day I was checking out, translating and committing files. Since that
> > day I never had a problem or complaints. That was my first real life svn
> > use.
> >
> > What makes the foss community unique as far as I am concerned is it's
> > ability to simplify things so that the most uninformed among them could
> > make significant contribution. What I do is not a brain surgery or a
> > rocket science I know. But it has a great significance in some corner of
> > the world.
> >
> >  From the procedures and regulation I sow until now that govern the xfce
> > it seems to me that it is more developer centric.  The instructions
> > above might seem very easy to the developers...but to some of us who
> > just want to translate it might prove to be quite daunting.
> We are certainly not intentionally making things difficult ;-)

By no means I implying that;-)

If some
> things are unclear, please ask, so we can try and make things easier.

> > xfce's claim to fame is it's simplicity. And that is exactly why i
> > decided to translate it. Let that simplicity be shared by the
> > translators too.
> >
> > I hope I am not over stepping but I share my premature feeling with the
> > hope that it would encourage more participation and make good use of the
> > available resources.
> Could you please tell us what you think could be organized better, or
> explained better or done differently?
> Personally I find the translator website very friendly and helpful
> and people like Maximilian are doing an awesome job coordinating
> translations and helping out translators.

Probably that is true for the technically adept person but translation does
not require one to be a linux guru.
I will take an example from

To create the PO file for your language, simply type,

    $ msginit

This command assumes that the translator to be in the local of the language
to be translated. But the reality is a great deal of languages do not have a
well behaving stable local. Some might not have at all.
I can not type properly a simple text in Amharic environment due to lack of
standard keyboard driver let alone execute commands successfully. True one
might succeed after spending a lot of time. But that requires the translator
to have an intimate knowledge of the environment.

For example I am stuck now at creating the patch. diff as stands on the
instruction is not giving the expected result.

In my view the instructions are designed to prevent the translators from
messing up the work of the developers. That It should do. But it tries to
protect the developers by putting a lot of burden on the translators. That
it should not be.

How one designs a system that makes both sides happy is beyond my expertise.
But I like the debian practice very much. Po files are created and
maintained by the system administrators without any intervention from the
translators. There are one or two commiters which are picked by the language
Though it is good to test translations before submitting them not every
translator can do that because of the problems i explained above. Basically
what is done at debian is the system tests the committed file and generates
an error message to be corrected and sends it to the commiter. I have
encountered only once translating the debian installer, that also after
trasnlating more than 1000 strings.

As though that is not enough the debian people are testing a pootle server
to enable any one with a key board, a monitor and an Internet connection to

I do not know what it takes to do all the things above and make the job of
the translators easier at xfce. I would certainly not say that it is
intentional if it does not happen overnight.
But when one says the documentation and instructions are easy and clear I am
reminded of the french princess:-)

I apologise for rocking the boat.

I'm sure we are open to all suggestions about how to improve the situation.
> Thanks,
>         Jasper
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