Ubuntu Policy Manual

Colin Watson cjwatson at ubuntu.com
Mon Sep 1 00:29:56 BST 2008

On Mon, Aug 25, 2008 at 04:02:12PM +0800, Onno Benschop wrote:
> On 24/08/08 22:19, Colin Watson wrote:
> > As per the attached mail, I've uploaded a version of the Debian Policy
> > Manual customised for Ubuntu. 
> This reminds me about Rosetta translations where on regular occasion
> I've found strings in need of translation with direct references to
> Debian. At the time I would modify strings to refer to Ubuntu where that
> seemed appropriate, but I was never able to locate any direct policy on
> how this should be achieved.

The best articulation I know of for this problem is:


However, that isn't really current.

In brief:

  * Changing distribution names in translated text is hard. Even in
    trivial cases, it is a substantial diff that can be arduous to
    maintain; furthermore, there are languages that transliterate or
    decline the distribution name, so the problem is hostile to

  * Where it is not really necessary to refer to the distribution,
    translated text should simply avoid doing so and use neutral
    language instead (e.g. "the system", or just omit the name). Doing
    this effectively usually requires agreement with the relevant Debian

  * Sometimes neutral text can sound too stilted. In that case you need
    to rebrand all translations. A guide to doing so for a significant
    number of languages is at the end of this wiki page, and updates are


  * Translations should not say "Ubuntu" when the English text says
    "Debian", as that just hides the problem. You should get a developer
    to change the source string first.

  * For text that is not translated (such as the policy manual), you can
    usually just go ahead and change it without worrying about any of


Colin Watson                                       [cjwatson at ubuntu.com]

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