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Translation formats, was: Re: Monitor system

Hello Christian,
On Fri, Jul 11, 2008 at 06:49:25AM +0200, Christian Perrier wrote:
> Quoting Jens Seidel (jensseidel@users.sf.net):
> > It's more or less the task of a translator to create/fine-tune the
> > infrastructure. If you write an English book why should you learn about
> > PO files you will never need? Just one day you will recieve a
> > translation, add it to revision control and ship it but that's all.
> > 
> > Maybe some translators also prefer other formats ...
> This happens, yes. For instance, for the Installation Manual, a few
> translators preferred sticking up with the XML-based format.

As a data point, when I see outdated translations not using po, my
first reaction is to file a request to support po(4a). When this bug
is ignored (e.g. man pages for apt) then I usually don't start to work
on this.

> I personnally see this as an error because it doesn't attract more
> help. One person is certainly enough to maintain the Installation
> Manual translation up-to-date....but not using PO certainly does not
> encourage sharing the load. 

The "run-over-by-a-bus" problem. We have the same in the German team.
Some parts are really managed well, but when these people reduce their
work due to fatigue or real life, and this is not known or the format
is less well understood (i.e. not po) then the translation might
languish (bit rot) rather easily. For po, often some statistics web
page starts showing "fuzzys" though and some other translator might
"NMU" the translation (which does not happen so often for non-po based
ones, though it happens).

And I understand the sentiment to switch as well. I'm well accustomed
to the web page l10n, so changing this completely would be rather
strange to me as well.

> PO is something fairly easy to learn for new people and, even if in
> the case of big documents, keeping the context is important from one
> paragraph to another, I think that documents using gettext are still
> easier to translate and less prone to errors than raw documents.

When using po access to the entire (original) text is vital though.
When working on man pages using po4a, I rely on reading the complete
(English) man page for reference. If I had to jump to 14 hoops to read
the context then po would definitly not be the right format.



      Dr. Helge Kreutzmann                     debian@helgefjell.de
           Dipl.-Phys.                   http://www.helgefjell.de/debian.php
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