Consolidating the various freezes

Soren Hansen soren at
Fri Sep 14 18:15:36 BST 2007

On Fri, Sep 14, 2007 at 09:37:06AM -0700, Jordan Mantha wrote:
> Well, I kinda see your point but I'm not sure I agree. We are often
> writing entire docs up until the string freeze, we aren't talking
> about little changes here and there. 

Sure, sure, I'd expect nothing less :)

> Also, the job of the translators is to translate what the
> documentation has written, not write their own docs. If they want to
> write their own docs fine, but they shouldn't be doing that when
> translating the doc teams works, that's just wrong.

Hm. This is interesting, I think. In my mind, the job of these people[1]
is to "create suitable documentation in non-English language". In most
cases, yes, the best bet is probably to base this work on the English
documentation and translate that, but if the Danish translator feels he
could write better documentation, I don't believe he should feel limited
by the (comparatively) poor quality of the English documentation and
only do strict translation of that?

[1]: calling the translators kind of gets in the way of my point :)

> > > For the Documentation Team the doc freeze is quite important. We
> > > need time to get everything proofread.
> > Correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't proofreading need to be over
> > with *before* string freeze? Sure, proofreading is fun, but it's
> > kind of a bummer to not be allowed to fix the speling mistaeks you
> > find during said proofreading.
> We try to do as much proofreading as we can before the freeze but
> practically speaking a lot of proofreading is done after the string
> freeze as well.

So you change the strings after the string freeze? This might seem like
a silly question, but I seem to have misunderstood quite a few things
about the workflow of the docteam.

> The point of the freeze is to not add any content and just fix bugs
> and make important changes. It's also a deadline for us.  If we had no
> deadline we'd be writing up until the day of release and there would
> be very few decent translations and not as much proofreading.

Isn't that more of a workflow problem than anything else? I'm quite
familiar with what a deadline can do to one's efficiency, but we're
talking about a month and a half extra time to make stuff better. I know
at least that *I* cannot squeeze that much work into a few days even
with a deadline coming closer. :)

> I'm talking changing how paragraphs and sections. Even if you do
> change the spelling in English I believe that will show up in Rosetta
> as a change to the string and it'll have to at least be reviewed
> again.

Oh, you use Rosetta for documentation, too? I did not know that. That
changes everything. :)  Because then you are back to the technical
limitations that we have in programs where even a corrected spelling
mistake causes work for translators.

> > > 2. giving enough time for translators to translate *before* the
> > > release.  generally 4-6 weeks is good, in past experience.
> > They can start any time they want? If they think the English
> > documentation sucks, they are surely not bound by any sort of
> > (unwritten) contract that their translation must match the English
> > documentation?
> Why not? It's translation. Unless I completely miss the meaning of the
> word, translations are supposed to stick as closely to the original as
> possible. I'd get quite upset if somebody translated the Packaging
> Guide and decided to write their own content and disregard mine as
> then it's not a translation of the Packaging Guide but rather another
> work.

Well, yes, we refer to them as translators, but surely their task is to
"create good documentation in their native language"? I agree that in
most cases this will be most efficiently achieved by translating the
English one, but unlike in a program, a slight change of wording in the
English version really should not invalidate the Danish translation.

Soren Hansen
Ubuntu Server Team
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