Ubuntu Software Store: What it does, and how you can help

Matthew East mdke at ubuntu.com
Fri Aug 28 21:14:54 BST 2009

On Fri, Aug 28, 2009 at 6:51 PM, Matthew Paul Thomas<mpt at canonical.com> wrote:
> Matthew East wrote on 28/08/09 11:44:
>> On Fri, Aug 28, 2009 at 11:07 AM, Matthew Paul Thomas
>> <mpt at canonical.com> wrote:
>>> "Center" was unfortunately off-limits because it lacks cross-Atlantic
>>> compatibility, i.e. it differs in US English vs. British English
>>> spelling, and foreign spelling irritates people. ("Catalog" had the same
>>> problem.)
>> I don't get that at all. "Center" appears elsewhere in our desktop
>> ("Help Center")
> As I suggested two years ago, "Ubuntu Help" would be quite enough for
> that particul

You're probably right about that, but I don't think the use of
American English was part of your reasoning there. The reasoning is
about removing redundancy.

>>                 and it is simply translated by the ubuntu-l10n-en-gb
>> team to read "Centre" for those users who use that language.
> While it is obvious to, for example, someone fluent only in Italian that
> they should switch Ubuntu into Italian, it is not so obvious to someone
> who is fluent only in UK English (or who is setting up a computer for
> someone fluent only in UK English) that they should switch Ubuntu into
> UK English.
> The result is that some proportion of UK English speakers using Ubuntu
> will inevitably use it in the US English locale. I am not suggesting
> that words with different US English vs. UK English spellings should be
> verboten in Ubuntu interface text. But where can easily avoid those
> words in prominent places, like names of programs, we might as well.

For me, what you are saying boils down to that there are a small
proportion of users using the wrong locale, and a small portion of
those will feel irritated by the fact that the wrong locale they are
using contains foreign spellings. Even if that's true, I don't think
that's a good reason for choosing a name for the app which carries
commercial undertones and seems likely to confuse a larger proportion
of people.

But anyway, I don't think it's really true, because as far as I'm
aware people get the right locale when they install Ubuntu. I think if
people are getting the wrong locale, that's a usability issue or just
a straight bug that can be fixed. If a user gets the wrong locale from
their own choice or a mistake by a system administrator, I don't think
it's fair of them to blame Ubuntu just because the desktop uses that
locale! The proportion of those who do will be very small: let's face
it, us English speakers around the world understand each other fine
and understand and accept each other's differences.

We use American English consistently throughout applications and
documentation. That's why our en-gb translation team exists, and it
does a great job because I've never seen American English in my
desktop. Not that I'd mind...

>> As Przemysław pointed out, "Store" is a hell of a lot more difficult
>> to translate.
> I'm not a translator, but it's pretty obvious to me that you'll rarely
> be able to capture every nuance of a brand name when translating it.
> Instead, concentrate on choosing a name that is compelling in that
> particular language. (And try not to infringe any trade marks.)

Yes, one should do that. My point is mainly that this isn't a
compelling name. In this case I think the difficulty in translating
the name is in fact borne out of the fact that it's not a good name in
the first place. The secondary point is that if you have a choice, you
can also consider how the name is likely to work in other languages
and weigh that up together with other considerations.

Matthew East
gnupg pub 1024D/0E6B06FF

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