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(forw) How to deal with debconf translations and templates

modifications when using po-debconf (was: Re: Fwd: French translation for PHPWiki)
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Below is a message which may be of some interest for developers who
are not used to debconf/po-debconf translation stuff.

Matthew Palmer, maintainer of the phpwiki package, asked to Frederic
Zulian (f1sxo), who translated phpwiki's tempaltes to french for some
adive about how to deal properly with modifications he plans to do on
the original english templates....

Below is the answer I made...which gives some clues about all this
po-debconf stuff. This may have some interest for some of you...or
this may sound rather trivial to others..�:-)

(both agreed for me to forward this publicly)

----- Forwarded message from Christian Perrier <bubulle@debian.org> -----

Date: Tue, 23 Sep 2003 07:07:22 +0200
From: Christian Perrier <bubulle@debian.org>
To: f1sxo <f1sxo@ref-union.org>, Christian Perrier <bubulle@debian.org>,
	Matthew Palmer <mpalmer@debian.org>
Subject: Re: Fwd: French translation for PHPWiki

Frederic forwarded your mail to me..

> OK, I changed the templates file provided by the po-debconf patch - but I
> didn't change the templates.pot file.  How do I regenerate that, then, so I
> can send the updated version to you?
> I'm an absolute babe-in-the-woods when it comes to translation work.  Sorry.

Just put Fr�d�ric's original fr.po file in debian/po. Then run
debconf-updatepo from debian.

NEVER manually modify files in debian/po, especially templates.pot and
POTFILES.in....unless you really knwo what you are doing.

After running debconf-updatepo, have a look at debian/po/fr.po : you
will see that strings you modified in the original templates file will
be marked "fuzzy". This means that the translated version has been
identified as not corresponding to the new english version.

Fuzzying strings is very easy: any change, even minor (double space
replaced by one space....) will fuzzy the corresponding translation.

When a template has at least one fuzzy string, debconf will NOT use
the translation. This prevents outdated translations to be used.

After running debconf-updatepo, just send Frederic the new fr.po
file: he will make the appropriate corrections and then send the file
back to you --> just replace your old file with that one and

When you build your package, provided you use debhelper,
dh_installdebconf will run debconf-updatepo anyway...so you don't have
to run it manually. 

However, this is a Good Thing to run it before building your package
and then check the translations :

for i in debian/po/*.po
  echo $i
  msgfmt -o /dev/null --statistics $i

If some of these show anything else than :

NN translated messages

but something like:

1 translated message, 3 fuzzy translations.

Then it needs some update. You may look at the Last-Translator field
and then ask this individual for an update by sending him the new
XX.po file.....

You may build a package with fuzzied or untranslated strings in some
translation files. This won't break your package.....but trying to
deal with these translations before bilding is IMHO Good Practice (but
don't wait too much for translators anyway...)

(Matthew, Frederic, do you mind if I forward this to
debian-devel.....? This may be of some interest for other
developers. I may remove the "babe-in-the-woods" comment, if you

----- End forwarded message -----


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