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

On Tue, Jun 29, 2004 at 10:42:17AM +0200, Helmut Wollmersdorfer wrote:
> martin.quinson@free.fr schrieb:
> >Selon Marc Haber <mh+debian-devel@zugschlus.de>:
> >>Being a German native speaker, I write everything in English.
> Same here.
> >>Occasionaly, some other German native speaker decides to translate my
> >>work to German.
Being a native English speaker who speaks French/Spanish - I'm not
surprised when translations into French/Spanish seem clumsy.  I've
tried to post technical French on the debian-french lists - I come
over as (potentially) correct but very stilted and artificial. My
French must seem _very_ odd to a French native speaker - as if I
swallowed the dictionary and grammar books :) By the same token,
I can spot when a non-native speaker has translated a technical document
because it isn't quite idiomatic / reads more correctly in the original.

I have seen my own HOWTO translated into "foreign" - it is the hardest
task in the world to produce good quality translation.  I'm always
impressed and surprised by the ease and facility with which
Germans/French and others express themselves within these Anglophone
lists on the Debian servers.
> In my case I could do myself. The reason to give a German translation 
> low priority are: The english original should be top quality first. The 
> package is addressed to admins.
> >>Usually, I am not impressed by the translations because they usually
> >>feel clumsy and awkward to me, as if I were explaining the things to a
> >>child. 
> Keep it simple, is a good decision. But I think, I know what you mean.
> Hmm ... my experience is, that English is more straight ahead and 
> shorter than German. Having only basic knowledge of French, it seems 
> IMHO more complicated than German to express technical things. If your 
> French version is more professional, than the English one must be of 
> very bad quality.
Not bad quality, just "different". In translating a long English phrase,
I've sometimes needed to use two French phrases, for example.

> >Correct grammar, no familiarity
> >(personalisation of the computer) and such are a real improvement, IMHO.
> Besides the usual checklist (grammar, spelling, unique style, short 
> sentences) the most important thing is wording consistancy. IMHO this 
> should be done in the original version first, and then issue a "ready to 
> translate" message.
> >>I'd like to know whether I am the only one who feels uncomfortable
> >>with technical software in the native language.
It probably just looks a bit odd - if you spend 7 hours a day with
technical English, technical <anything else> feels slightly odd :)

If I spend 45 minutes reading French/Spanish, it takes a minute or two
to come back to English :)

> Using only English has a lot of advantages. Just paste an error message 
> to google and you will find a solution for the problem.
> But as you can see from translation activity, other people do not have 
> the same opinion, e.g. Brazilians or Japanese. There is a strong need 
> for translation, and this should be supported in the best way.
> >Erm. I can understand you don't personnaly want to use the translated 
> >version to
> > your native language, but I do think that using a not translated
> >system/software is simply not an option for some people. 

We have to do the best we can. It may be worth doing stuff even for 
15-20,000 people (KDE localisation to Upper Sorbian, for example)
if it feels right.
> ACK. The ideal solution is, that everybody can change the language at 
> runtime, e.g. via hotkey. Hard to implement, and overkill in most cases 
> - I know.

> >So, the whole debate here seems to come down to whether we want to provide 
> >a
> >system for hackers or for [lamda] users.
> Or if debian targets only to experts, or also to beginners. I vote for 
> the beginners. Nobody can be expert in everything.

Just my 0.02 Euro :)


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