Translations from the debian-installer package

Colin Watson cjwatson at
Sat Oct 25 21:17:05 BST 2008

On Sat, Oct 25, 2008 at 11:20:01AM +0200, David Planella wrote:
> I have just filed a bug against ubiquity [1] and included it in the
> Intrepid translation issues page [2] regarding the debian-installer
> package.
> In our case the debian-installer translations are several months old,
> and the newer translations do not seem to ever make it to the package.
> Now, I understand that the debian-installer is another sppecial case
> that is handled with scripts and does not play very well with Rosetta,
> but this is the second release in a row were our translations and
> corrections do not seem to be included in the package yet.
> Is there any way we can help in getting the strings exported from
> Rosetta into the package?

I've replied to this in a comment to the bug report you filed, but as I
explain at the end I would prefer to continue this conversation by
e-mail. Here is the text of my comment.

At least some of the translations you care about are, I believe, of
strings already translated in Debian. (Please read down to the end of
this comment, though.)

debian-installer's translations need to be updated by hand, since
they're used before language packs are installed. Updating them
wholesale from Launchpad puts me in the position of having to decide
which of Debian's translations or Launchpad's translations are better
each time I merge updated packages from Debian (i.e. at the start of
every release cycle, and often more frequently than that). I'm afraid I
simply can't afford to take on this workload for more than 50 languages.
I also can't just throw away one side of the merge because (a) the
translation changes done in Debian often constitute important bug fixes
in the installer (analogous to c-format bugs, except that Launchpad
can't check the substitution format here), so I can't throw away the
Debian changes; (b) there's obviously no point in me updating
translations wholesale from Launchpad if I'm going to throw away the
Launchpad changes on merge. I cannot and will not be put in the position
where I end up having to act as a proxy for translation changes in
Launchpad where the Launchpad translation team did not take care of
forwarding their translations upstream. Thus, I settled a long time ago
on the position that I would incorporate Launchpad translations for
Ubuntu-specific strings, but only use Debian translations for strings
that exist there.

Ever since Warty, I have consistently advised all translators who have
asked me about this to contribute translations of installer strings that
exist in Debian directly to Debian. I realise that this isn't the same
as the usual Launchpad translations workflow where it is possible to
have translations in Ubuntu first, but I don't see any other way to do
it that doesn't impose a completely unacceptable amount of work and
linguistic knowledge on the installer team. I believe that the
debian-installer translators are generally receptive to and indeed
enthusiastic for contributions; the coordinator certainly is, and
supports my position on this, so let me know if you have any social
problems there and I may be able to escalate them.

I would like this to be documented somewhere for translators, but I
don't know where it should be documented. If you do, feel free to write
it up and I can review it for accuracy.

None of this applies to those strings which are specific to Ubuntu: at
the time of writing, these are a small number of strings in
cdrom-detect, partman-auto, partman-crypto, partman-target, pkgsel, and
user-setup, and all or almost all of the strings in oem-config and
ubiquity. I'd like to get a list of these published automatically but
haven't got round to figuring this out yet. It can probably be extracted
somehow from I updated all these strings from
Launchpad a couple of weeks ago.

I also gather that you object to "d'Ubuntu" in the translation you
specifically refer to, and believe that it should read "de l'Ubuntu".
These strings are part of a category I refer to as "branding", where the
string in Debian includes the text "Debian" itself, and clearly needs to
have "Ubuntu" substituted. This turns out to be a vastly more
complicated subject than you might hope; the text surrounding the
distribution name often needs to change slightly (e.g. "a Debian mirror"
vs. "an Ubuntu mirror", or the current change of "de Debian" to
"d'Ubuntu" for Catalan). At the same time, I generally want to stick to
the rest of the Debian text for those strings for all the reasons
described above, so what I do is merge all changes from Debian and
"rebrand" all the references to Debian according to a set of rules which
I've gathered over the years and recorded at the end of I'm afraid I'm
not interested in negotiating this workflow because I strongly believe
that anything else would be worse (it would leave me in an untenable
position when the strings change on both sides of the merge), but I am
generally interested in language-specific improvements to the rebranding
changes we need to make.

However, can you explain to me, or perhaps more relevantly to the Debian
Catalan translation team, why the existing Catalan text in Debian is
wrong? It currently reads "Menú principal de l'instal·lador de Debian".
Changing "de Debian" to "de l'Ubuntu" seems like a grammatical change
that would be hard for me to apply consistently across the whole
distribution, and is at odds with what I was told by one of your
compatriots some time ago (Jordi Mallach). Could we please get Debian
and Ubuntu to be consistent here so that I can simply apply this change
consistently everywhere? If this is actually a standard grammatical
transformation needed for proper nouns that begin with a vowel or
something like that, then of course that's a different matter and we can
simply adjust DistributionDefaultsAndBranding to explain that.

I think it would be best if we continued this conversation by e-mail
rather than in this bug report. As a whole, this is not a bug I am
willing to fix, but I am willing to make specific manual adjustments for
Jaunty (it is far too late for Intrepid; this would have had to have
been done a week ago, and I am simply physically unable to get any
changes of this nature through in time now) if we can agree on them. To
that end, I'm going to copy the text of this comment to the e-mail
thread on ubuntu-translators.

Colin Watson                                       [cjwatson at]

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