Consolidating the various freezes

Jordan Mantha mantha at
Fri Sep 14 20:19:07 BST 2007

On 9/14/07, Soren Hansen <soren at> wrote:
> On Fri, Sep 14, 2007 at 09:37:06AM -0700, Jordan Mantha wrote:
> > 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?

For translating the official Ubuntu documentation (what's shipped in
the *buntu-docs packages) I can't see that behavior as acceptable.
They are no longer translating the documentation but creating new
material. As I said before, that's fine if they do it outside of the
translations, but it isn't translation.

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

But that's what they are, I don't think you can neglect that. They are
translation teams, they should be translating.

> > > > 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.

As with any freeze we allow exceptions. The exceptions are for bug
fixes and important errors, not for adding new chunks of content. It's
quite similar to UVF/FF . We want to make sure we are feature complete
and pretty much there by the Doc String Freeze. If things need to be
fixed, fine. The point is to minimize the work of the translators and
gives time to produce good-quality docs.

> > 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. :)

The amount of time has been for translators, in previous release the
docs were not open to translation until the string freeze. That give
the translators 4-6 weeks to get as much translated as they can.

> > 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.

Yes, we write the docs, then put up .pots on Rosetta for translation.
Then we gather the translated material and ship that in *buntu-docs.

> > > > 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.

I disagree in terms of the Freeze schedule as we are talking about.
For people writing docs in their native languages they are not subject
to the freeze because they are not shipped with the official
documentation. The Doc Team writes in English (US English even) and
that work is then translated before release. That's how it works. LoCo
teams are encouraged to put localize versions of documentation, wiki
pages, etc. on their sites, but the String Freeze does not effect
them. The packaging equivalent is 3rd party repos. People are welcome
to have them, but obviously UVF or Feature Freeze do not apply to


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