[Xfce-i18n] About German translations

Jannis Pohlmann jannis at xfce.org
Sun Oct 19 16:17:39 CEST 2008

Am Sun, 19 Oct 2008 13:46:24 +0200
schrieb Fabian Nowak <timystery at arcor.de>:

> Am Sonntag, den 19.10.2008, 02:49 +0200 schrieb Jannis Pohlmann:
> > Hey,
> Hey back (I guess I was meant),
> > 
> > I just gave the German translations of xfce4-settings some love.
> > Please don't take this as a rant even though I know it is one. I
> > just think the translations could be significantly improved if they 
> > 
> >   a) were consistent,
> >   b) were correct,
> hey, these are beta translations -- I did not yet revision them. Do
> you apply as voluntary revisor? That'd be cool.

I didn't you know there is something like 'beta' translations. But as I
plan to improve strings in Xfce before the next beta I can as well try
to revise the German translations for them.

> > 
> > and
> > 
> >   c) would follow common language conventions everyone knows.
> > 
> > To give a few examples:
> > 
> >   a) - Don't use generic titles like "Erscheinungsbild" in one
> > dialog and non-generic titles like "Einstellungsverwaltung für Xfce
> > 4" in another one. 
> 	Sorry, I don't understand that point. Please elaborate more.

Take two dialogs like 'Appearance Settings' and 'Accessibility
Settings'. If one is translated as 'Erscheinungsbild' and the other is
translated as 'Barrierefreiheitseinstellungen für Xfce 4' this not
consistent. Personally, I'd prefer to use generic names. 'Xfce4',
'Xfce' and 'Xfce 4' doesn't have to appear everywhere. 
> > 	     - If a group of labels ends with ":" in English, don't
> > drop the ":" in some of their German translations but not in others.
> 	Ah yes, when there are 20 strings marked fuzzy and you repair
> one by one, some msgstrings might stay unchanged with the colon left
> or removed -- part of the revisioning process.

Ideally you'd translate, then install the translations and see how they
look in the actual UI. If you do that, you'll notice the differences.

> Though, it sometimes is better to use an individual style for the
> translations, thus always using the colon or never in contrast to the
> original strings. In most cases, tooltip texts are concerned where
> ending them with a regular period is preferrable independently from
> what the developer chose formerly.

What do you mean by "individual style"? Of course whether to append
colons or not depends on how it is usually done in your language. And
that has to be consistent.

> > 
> >   b) - "Enable" does not mean "einstellen". It means "aktivieren",
> >        "einschalten", "verwenden", "benutzen" or whatever depending
> > on the context it is used in. 
> Uuh, you can't say that in general. The thing is that sometimes the
> devs themselves just use *some* string; and the translators have to
> fix it by choosing the correct words, not the direct translation. Of
> course, you might still be right; please point to the exact
> translation then.

It's right, a lot of our English strings could use some improvements.
But "einstellen" is neutral (it doesn't say whether something is
going to be activated or deactivated) whereas "enable" clearly is the
opposite of "disable" and thus explains what it does.

> >      - "Button" is not "Knopf" - it's "Schaltfläche"! 
> Button is "Knopf". See your given URL, way more translations for
> "Knopf". Thus, I asked a MAC user how she would translate it. Her
> first reply was "Knopf". Asked about what to expect from
> "Schaltfläche", she answered "a wide button", meaning like a toggle
> button. She later admitted, that Apple might have chosen
> "Schaltfläche" everywhere, but asked on how to label the OK buttons
> on the small information dialogs etc, she answered "Knopf" again. So
> it depends on the context; but in general, "Knopf" is correct,
> "Schaltfläche" is something different. (Actually, one part of my
> in-depth examinations at university was usability in real-time
> systems such as big terminals etc.: Human-Machine Interfaces in
> Production Environments)

(That doesn't impress me too much. My minor subject at the University
is all about user interfaces and usability as well.)

Personally, I strongly prefer "Schaltfläche". But I agree that you can
argue about that. If you check
http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schaltfl%C3%A4che or
http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grafische_Benutzeroberfl%C3%A4che you'll
not find "Knopf" anywhere. To me it sounds just wrong.

> >      - "Images" or "Icons" are not "Abbildungen" - they're
> > "Symbole"! 
> Sorry, don't know where that came from, only found that mistranslated
> in the UI as well after having it translated correctly previously,
> and  I totally agree, especially on using "Symbole" in contrast to not
> translating them. Still have to find out where the borked translations
> are, didn't find them yesterday at the first glance. Again a typical
> revisioning issue.
> >      - "Tastendrücke" and "Mausklicks" are two completely different
> >        things. Don't confuse them.
> Sure, just recently tried to differentiate on them; so please report
> directly the context or lines where you find it confused.

In the case of xfce4-settings, I've already committed updated
translations for all the things mentioned here. See 


for what I changed.

> >      - Don't upload translations like "... udn den SChwellwert ...",
> >        will you? 
> Uh, depends ;) That's what revision and revisors are for, aren't they?

Additional revisions are good, but translating carefully right from the
start doesn't sound too bad either ;)


> Though, there's lots of things translated in a bad way, e.g. you
> simply can't use "Fenster-Manager-Hinweise" and the like as is
> frequently done in Gnome translations, it must be "Hinweis des
> Fenstermanagers" or something similar and in general, it is already
> in English language a bad text for the interface: people don't crea
> too much where the hint is coming from. So please, when using it, do
> use your own mind for estimating the correctness of the proposed
> translation.

"Fenstermanagerhinweise" is a long word but it sounds far better than
"Fenster-Manager-Hinweise" (which is just wrong) and "Hinweise des
Fenstermanagers" (which is an English-style separation of words where
the German language allows words to be concatenated). I agree that
sometimes the latter seems to work better though.

> I recommend using the free-dictionaries and the webster and other
> dictionaries to always get a good understanding of a word's meaning
> and how it is used and understood in (American) English language.

Dictionaries are important, that's for sure. But don't stick to them
too much. Quite often 1:1 translations are just wrong.

> But before finishing, there's other issues as well: 
> - someone introduced the informal "Du" style which is very similar to
> IKEA or to junior environments where it is indeed appropriate. Many
> years ago, we agreed on using the proper "Sie" style. Please stick to
> that. We are not IKEA, the saturation of the blue is different,
> there's no yellow. Xfce might be used in surgeries, waiting rooms and
> on terminal stations, servicing adult people in the most cases.

I might have introduced "Du" in xfce4-mixer but I'm not sure.
Personally, I think the "relationship" between the user and his
computer should not be a formal one. You can say "Sie" to your
Professor if you're a student or to adult people you don't know but
your computer should not call you "Sie". That creates a formal distance
between the computer and the user and I don't think that adds to the
user experience. But that might just be me.

> - I had used "Verwaltung" as often as possible for 4.4, though people
> tended to use manager like a sports manager everywhere, which simply
> is wrong; we are not playing football or rugby. Instead, "Verwaltung"
> is way better for most applications except for the "file manager" as
> Windows made "Dateimanager" popular. We still should revert "Window
> manager" to "Fensterverwaltung" as is also proposed by the translation
> suggester.

"Fenstermanager" seems to be used a lot in GNOME and KDE (more than
"Fensterverwaltung") and I think that's good. "Verwaltung" sounds
passive whereas "Manager" sounds like an object that actually does

> - when translating the accelerators, please have a look to use
> different ones for the whole dialog and to not use a or O or c as
> they are used for _Abbrechen and _OK and S_chließen. Unfortunately,
> this still is the case frequently and most work to revise. I invested
> lots of work in that, though due to interface changes they got lost
> over the weeks, but I am still working on them as far as the window
> manager settings are concerened (this is where I know of them
> especially and things changed since the dialog is embedded).
> - the exaggeration of Deppenleerzeichen: due to unknowingness of
> language and unwillingness of package designers and creators of
> advertisements to stop that "Compayname Product<DLZ>name" scheme,
> German language is now regarded correct when using "Xfce
> Einstellungen". Of course, "Fenstermanager Einstellungen" is still
> incorrect and at least companies are beginning to revert these faults
> -- have a look at Maggi and Knorr instant meal things and the older
> and newer packages: you can see them chaning back to separating with
> a dash or concatenating the words again properly. We should see/think
> again where we can remove the Deppenbindestriche and improve
> readability and usability without breaking (common) German language.

You can avoid things like "Xfce Einstellungen" (which I think is wrong
because it should be "Xfce-Einstellungen" and that still sucks) by
using generic names like "Einstellungen". You can also avoid things
like "Fenstermanagereinstellungen" by just using "Fenstermanager". 

  - Jannis
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