Clean Sheet?

Peter Damoc pdamoc at
Sat Jan 15 06:15:28 CST 2005

On Sat, 15 Jan 2005 03:16:28 -0800, Jonathon Blake <jonathon.blake at> wrote:

> Peter wrote:
>> Better exposure which might bring better accuracy.
> There have been errors in the French L10N version of OOo since day
> one.  They _might_, but probably won't be fixed for OOo 2.0. I doubt
> that OOo is the only FLOSS project where the UI has had known language
> errors for years.
>> Think about a centralised translation system where you get
> suggestions for a string based on previous project
> You're assuming the same word gets translated the same way every time.
>  That is precisely why the French version of OOo has the errors it
> does have.

Nope, I wan't assuming that... I used the word "suggestions" as in the translator can see how others translated the string in his/hers language or in a language that he knows maybe grouped in "Same project - other languages", "Same language other projects" or "Same project, same language, other place"

> If your L10N project is for a language like Toki Pona, then MAT is the
> fastest way to ensure that the translations are meaningless.

Again... I wasn't talking about enforced fully automated memory translations but about "assisted" translations.
Ok... so a full automated should be available but that should no be the "recomanded" way...
An automated translation will not yield a good translation but for most of the languages I think it might provide at least some clue To a pearson that doesn't speak any of the available languages even a crooked translation might help. How much will it help... well that's debatable... depends on the project, on the language and... maybe on luck. :)

>> i track that wrong suggestion
> The word might well be correct in one instance, and wrong in another
> instance.  The big issue in translating the UI, is seeing the strings
> in context.  In document translation, everything is in context.
>> A centralised translation system might mean "more" information for a translator.
> If one of two conditions apply:
> i) The translator can see the strings in context.
> ii) The L10N team is creating the technical vocabulary, as it
> translates the documentation, User Interface, etc.
> then the additional information is useful.  Otherwise it is of
> questionable utility.
>> you join the translation community and you might even get an entire
> program automatically translated in a bunch of languages due to
> "common" strings.
> And the project lead gets visions of the strings being translated as
> "Invisible, Insane", when it should read "Out of Sight, Out of Mind".
> All it takes is for a couple of very badly translated strings to come
> up, and the Project Lead will nix the tool, and go back to using
> OmegaT, Translation Tool Kit, or PO.  With those tools, the
> translation won't be corrupted by other software projects.

Again... the automation should be available as a translation solution for the parts that aren't translated something like.
"there is no po file for X language... would you like to create one via automatic translation system?" and the system should create one based on previous translations... maybe assign fuzzy flag to all strings pending a translator review.

> Go back to how material is typically checked for translation accuracy.
> A third party translated the translated material back into the
> original language.  If the results correspond, the translation is
> good.  If they don't, start again from the beginning.

> Have an L10N project for a "nice" language like Toki Pona.  The back
> translation is not going to be anywhere close to the original, even
> with skilled translators doing both translations.  Add translation
> memory to the mix, and the back translation is going to be pure
> gibberish.  [Granted, Toki Pona exploits some interesting aspects of
> the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis.]
>> I don't think that such a system needs to be incorporated in the website to accomplish CVS synchronisation,
> i) Security.
> ii) Current strings being translated.
> Do you really want to spend 500 hours translating something, to
> discover that it won't be incorporated into any build?
>> again with the exposure.
> Exposure means nothing if the results are inaccurate.  And since
> you're relying on machine translation, the results will be inaccurate.

in my view exposure means more eyeballs... this should improve accuracy. Again... projects should rely on machine translation ONLY when there is no other alternative... like at the start of a translation.

>> they in turn could benefit from other translation projects.
> There is a lot more to a translation project than translating the
> strings of the software.  That probably is the least of what is
> involved.  The big effort is in producing _localized_ documentation.
> It doesn't matter whether it is created from scratch, or translated
> from existing material.  Running it through anything that has a
> Translation Memory is asking for bad translations.  It typically takes
> translators twice as long to fix errors in bad translations, than to
> translate from scratch.

Here I agree completely..

>> a web of  translations could provide a lot of automagic.... even for
> big projects like GNOME or KDE.
> No automagic.  Still have to have the L10N teams.

automagic for the L10N teams ;)

>> celebrity of the translation project.
> Translation projects are celebrity projects when one of three things happen.
> i) It is the first software of its type to be localized for the language.
> ii) The FLOSS project as a whole, is available with significantly more
> localizations than the equivalent commercial software.
> iii) A local political authority shuts down the translation project,
> because it promotes the use of a minority language. [Name a country,
> and it has prohibited a minority language from having a public voice.]
> In none of those instances is the use of a web portal in translating
> going to be relevant to the celebrity status of the translation
> project.

Actually I was referring to celebrity as in recognition, like is famous for being a good place to start a FOSS project.

>> assigning translation homework to their students.
> Like INGOTS does?
> No need for any web based tools for that.
> Like a wrote elsewhere, the tools have to fit the need of the project.
>  For most L10N projects, if they have an existing site,it makes more
> sense to add the tool to their site, than use still another website.

I disagree... if a website is seen as providing a better service it should be used even if that means that some connection between that site and the project's CVS should be established.

> xan
> jonathon

FWIW I do agree that I'm overly naive :)

Peter Damoc
jack of all trades, master of none

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