Debian Debconf Translation proposal ( again )
( I'm not subscribed to debian-i18n, so please keep me or debian-devel
in the cc )
I would like to add some thoughts to a previous thread  about this
CURRENT DEBIAN SYSTEM
The current system has the following problems:
Translating is pretty hard and frustrating due to it working on a
per-package basis, most importantly, and this results in a lot of
administrative work for the translator. They have to download every
individual package, find the template files, translate them, file a
bug report on it, and then pray that the maintainer doesn't ignore
it. Obviously, this is a pretty frustrating task.
CURRENT KDE SYSTEM
IMHO, there is a better system possible, and I would propose looking
at what KDE currently has implemented. Here's how that works:
A script runs about every day, and extract a list of translatable
strings from the code that is currently in KDE CVS HEAD. This is
processed into standard .pot files, and put into a certain directory.
The translators have their own cvs module. Another script runs also
about once a day, and merges the new template .pot files with the
existing translated .po files ( i.e. add the new strings to them, mark
fuzzy, old and untranslated strings ).
The translators then make sure they get their .po files complete, and
they are released together with the rest of KDE. A user only installs
one translation package ( for his language of course ) ( or more if he
wants more languages, of course ).
And, last but not least, before every KDE release, there is an
extensive period of "string freeze". During this period, no strings
are allowed to change. Most i18n teams wait for this period for
starting to translate, to prevent doing useless work.
This system has proven to work extremely well. There are much more
translators active in KDE than Debian, and all languages are very well
translated. Here are some GUI translation statistics .
PROPOSED DEBIAN SYSTEM
I would propose that a new system is put in place in Debian,
looking a bit like the current KDE system. Let me reiterate the
1. Scripts make translators' lives easier by providing them with a
nicely prepared list of what to translate. I'm not sure how
this should really look technically, but I'm convinced that
it's very well possible within the Debian infrastructure.
2. The translators don't try to get their work included in Debian
packages. Instead they provide one package of their own, that
they can occasionally release in sid if they want to.
3. A sort of string freeze is put in place, so that the
translators can have a period of time where they can
work on the translations without having to duplicate work.
Some parts of this proposal are already present in the thread I quoted
, but some are also not. I would like to hear what you think about
it, and if so, whether someone would be interested in doing the bit of
infrastructure work required. Ideally, this would be a Debian
developer, who has accounts on machines where the proposed system
could be implemented.