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Re: [RANT] French translation for debconf templates stucked at 90% : analysis

Christian Perrier <bubulle@debian.org> wrote:

> Such as using either "du" or "Sie", I guess.
> I have noticed that both german and italian teams most often use "du"
> and "tu" for "you" in user interaction texts. Most languages have this
> notion of 2nd person singular form which modern English does not use anymore.
> It's a matter of fact that all french l10n teams I'm aware of strictly
> avoid to use the "tu" for "you", but always "vous". At least in
> French, but I'm pretty sure it's similar for German or Italian , "tu"
> is far too familiar for being "professionnal" : in all our languages,
> when meeting someone for the first time, using a familiar form looks
> strange (except...in electronic communication)

And except in swedish and perhaps other scandinavian languages. If I
remember right, they "decided" to drop the equivalent of "Sie"/"vous"
some decades ago.

> The Internet discussions have changed this, as this is common use to
> use "du", or "tu" in mailing lists, IRC, newsgroups. But this is
> relevant in the Internet communication world....and I would definitely
> not recommend using this (we call it "tutoiement" in French, I have no
> idea of the appropriate English term) in the screens we show to users.

It might turn out that in the long run, the formal form disappears in
many "modes" of speech. In real life, I hardly use "Sie" for anybody I
know by name [1], perhaps only professors at the university that I do
_not_ work with, and political "enemies".

And in "unreal" life, i.e. on computer screens, I am always surprised to
read a Sie, and get a similar impression irrespective of whether it's a
documentation text or a posting in a newsgroup or mailinglist: In the
latter case, it's either a sign of a complete newbie, or it's an
attack. In a documentation text, I always have to remind myself that
this is "just normal".

I don't object to using "Sie"/"vous"/... currently. But I wouldn't be
surprised if this would change in a couple of years.

[1] with "know" I don't mean that I can read the name from the badge
she/he wears
Frank Küster, Biozentrum der Univ. Basel
Abt. Biophysikalische Chemie

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