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Re: Proposal for a mailing list to improve Debian translation

----- Original Message -----
From: "Christian Couder" <chcouder@club-internet.fr>
To: <debian-i18n@lists.debian.org>; <debian-doc@lists.debian.org>
Sent: Saturday, March 17, 2001 4:01 PM
Subject: Re: Proposal for a mailing list to improve Debian translation

> > And debian-i18n is low traffic. So why not just use it?

> There is a difference between internationalization (i18n) and
> translation (l10n).

> Internationalization is supposed to make it possible to translate things
> (like an app using gettext or a web site using content negotiation).
> Translation is making some translation available for the things that
> have been internationalized.

Sometimes, it is really not that simple when you start playing with MBCS,
right to left writing (Arabic), or even something like top to bottom then
right to left MBCS (a traditional writing style in some Asian coutries.)

(Mostly for those that
Internationalization (I18N), in its simplified meaning, is a combination of
methods to design and implement an application or system to theoretically
support any possible language.  An i18n application must be able to support
all the languages supported by the operating system and/or libraries, even
if it may operate awkwardly.

Localization (L10N), is a process to make an application or system to
support a locale (both language and location) that is not currently
supported.  In supporting the locale, the application or system will usually
be changed to not only support the language, but to also to support the
local "customs".  These customs may be simple as just changing the shortcut
assignments, but may go as far as making major locale specific application
modifications or additions.  A well designed i18n application will easily
support the new language and key assignments, but the modification and
additions are usually only possible at the l10n stage.  Although it is
ideal, a l10n application does not necesarily have to be an i18n
application.  The translation of the documentation is also an import part
that is dealt with durring l10n.

Translation (T9N?), is the process of translating the language.  Usually the
term translation is used to specify a stage of the l10n process, but for
some locales the translation stage may be the only stage required for the
entire l10n process.

Out of these processes, the i18n process is the most important.  With good
i18n support, the l10n process of complex languages (ie. Chinese, Japanese,
Vietnamese, Korean) is greatly simplified (ask anyone else that did l10n
work in one of these languages).  Without i18n support the effort put into
the l10n process may even justify a code fork (happened very frequently in
the past).

I support the creation of a deban-l10n for discussion of general l10n
issues.  It may be better discussing alot of this in the i18n list, but I
think it would be very useful for those that are trying to get help in l10n
issues for a certain language or a set of languages they want to support.
Maybe creating a l10n list for every language may be an option, but that
might be a little overkill.  ;-)

> So if we want to talk about translation in the i18n list, we should at
> least change the description of the i18n list.
> For example we could change it to "Internationalization (i18n) and
> translation (l10n) of the distribution are discussed here."

This also sounds good to me.

> And currently there is one low traffic "debian-i18n" list and many
> "debian-l10n-xxxxxx" lists with higher traffic. So in my opinion, people
> are more interested in discussing translation than internationalisation.
> So it would be better anyway to change the name of the i18n list (if we
> don't want 2 lists).

I think we should keep the i18n list either way since l10n and i18n are
linked, but separate issues.

  Thomas T. Dorsey

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