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Re: The Debian Description Translation Project - how about a new approach?


Thanks a lot for your quick and detailed answer.

> I add debian-i18n@lists.debian.org as CC: maybe some other have
> comments
> I think this is a problem. Maybe your texts are a good source, if
> someone start a new package of some software. But in debian we have
> some very littel packages and we need more descriptions. like:
>   gimp - The GNU Image Manipulation Program
>   gimp-cbmplugs - plugins for The GIMP to import/export Commodore 64 files
>   gimp-data - Data files for The GIMP
>   gimp-data-extras - An extra set of brushes, palettes, and gradients for
> The GIMP gimp-dbg - Debugging symbols for The GIMP
>   gimp-dcraw - GIMP plug-in for loading RAW digital photos
>   gimp-dimage-color - GIMP plugin to convert Minolta DiMAGE pictures to
> sRGB colour space gimp-gap - The GIMP Animation Package
>   gimp-help-common - Data files for the GIMP documentation
>   gimp-help-cs - Documentation for the GIMP (Czech)
[snip: further packages]
> Debian don't have 'big' packages...

Ok that's true and and probably not totally solvable among all these different 
distributions but I think that this can be solved in large parts:
* Slightly different names for the same things can be handled via redirects 
(so that everybody can access it according to his naming scheme).
* I start with "big" packages as sub/Small package descriptions are IMHO best 
done with a top down approach. But also Debian has meta packages that can be 
treated like "big" packages.

> we have a web and a mail interface. I don't think, the entry barrier is to
> high.

Well for "just a typo fix" people usually want to do it within some seconds 
without learning using a new software (ok you can probably argue wether a 
wiki is more easier for doing this ;-). But I think that this isn't even the 
main problem. Currently package translations work like translating program 
interface strings.

On top is the original English text as basis and you create exact translations 
of this one. However changing the English text means filling in a bug report 
and lots of different tools are involved for doing this and again you need to 
check all your translations.

Within a wiki you have "in parallel" writing. People just change the english 
text like any other "translation". In a "translation wiki" you don't aim at 
perfect 1:1 equivalence of texts but only try to come close to it. And of 
course everything is done in one place with one single tool.

Surely "in parallel" writing of localised descriptions and the wiki style have 
their disadvantages too. You need some final rewiew process when you want to 
reuse the existing content but I think that if done right (and I try to do 
that) this can be solved.

> Technical we need a special format for the description. I don't think, we
> can make this with a wiki. Some (all?) translaters use po for the
> translation... a wiki is a new, uncommon way to make translations.

This is currently the main weakness of my project:
* The package descriptions are using some wiki syntax and I am currently 
experimenting which syntx elements get used and which style guide will come 
out of this process in the end.
* Wiki syntx could be translated into other formats (you just need a very 
narrow subset of wiki syntax). However currently these scripts don't exist 
yet. Most easy would be plain text stripped of all meta elements.
* I personally think .po isn't designed for more than element and action names 
of a GUI messages or a short message box text (but for this it is perfectly 
suited). For translation/in parallel writing of localised texts like package 
descriptions .po style doesn't work that good IMHO.

> one question:
>   are the package descriptions/translations from Novell online?
>   (like packages.debian.org)

Hm. there is a page that lists packages with their descriptions:

But I don't know if there is some place for browsing the individual 

Maybe there is something related to it:

Daniel Arnold / Arnomane

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