Translations from the debian-installer package

Jeroen Vermeulen jtv at
Fri Oct 31 08:18:54 GMT 2008

David Planella wrote:

> What it boils down to is something that I feel has been always missing
> in the Ubuntu translation process, and is a team or an individual who
> acts as a coordinator between the translators and the developers. The

That, to me, is the heart of the problem.  The Ubuntu translation 
process as a whole needs to be managed by someone who is involved in 
Ubuntu on a full-time basis.

In fact the Rosetta team has been pushing for the creation of this role 
since early this year, and Arne has for some time been fulfilling its 
technical aspects.  A lot of this work fell to Carlos in the past, but I 
don't think it makes sense for the application developers to keep track 
in enough detail to coordinate the Ubuntu translation process.  From our 
perspective, we'd much prefer to have more knowledgeable people manage 
the process and tell us what we can do *in the code* to facilitate their 

Besides distracting us from improving Launchpad Translations, the 
situation also meant that everyone depended much more on Carlos than 
anyone ever realized.  His departure left a gaping hole--even more so on 
the Ubuntu side than on the Launchpad side.

> Usually this list has been used to this purpose, but obviously not all
> developers follow it. And even when using the bug tracker, you do not
> often know if the translation problem is due to the package, to Rosetta
> importation problems, to the langpack not having been updated, etc. At
> the moment, this is rather chaotic. Just a few examples in this release:
> new strings being added to the templates a day before the translation
> deadlines, without announcing them anywhere; important packages without
> translation templates being released also a few days before the
> translation deadlines, with the subsequent impossibility to have them
> localised before release; Rosetta's ever stalled import queue, etc.

All Rosetta developers do follow this list.  But we are only three 
people, one having arrived recently, and at times we simply can't keep 
up with the email!  On the one hand we're working as a development team, 
but on the other hand, the Intrepid work has added hugely to our 
operational workload.  Besides nursing overloaded servers and chasing up 
import errors, we've been rebuilding expertise and catching up on work 
that we lost with Carlos, and re-establishing the "bridge" between the 
translation-specific sections of the Ubuntu and Launchpad teams.

Those last parts are key.  It's been hard work, and there will be more 
of it, but I think now we're slowly moving towards dry land instead of 
just treading water.  We're getting and implementing some concrete ideas 
that will reduce the workload.  And we're communicating better about the 
state of the process, putting us in a better position to spot and 
address problems in time.

> I know that Canonical is looking for someone to fill this position, but
> until then, I believe we (both translators and developers) should try to
> at least better document the translation process of those packages that
> constitute exceptions (e.g. debian-installer, WUBI, language-packs, to
> name a few).

That would be great!  This is exactly the sort of initiative a 
coordinator would be taking.  Some of the exceptional packages also 
require special treatment in the Launchpad code, and I would love to 
match those up with community documentation.

By the way, anyone who may be able to fill this position, please check 
out the job opening:

> Another proposal would be to create an additional translation list with
> the purpose of keeping track of new template uploads, so that
> translators know there is something new to translate before it is too
> late, or whenever a string freeze is broken. I would initially restrict
> this to those packages where Ubuntu or its variants are upstream,
> otherwise this might quickly become unmanageable. I am again taking
> Debian (debian-i18n) and GNOME (gnome-i18n) as a reference, where this
> seems to work quite well. Again, I know there is a blueprint specifying
> RSS template updates in Launchpad, but we cannot wait indefinitely until
> it is implemented.  Every single release we have exactly the same
> issues.

This, too, is one of those things I've been hoping to see.  Not 
necessarily "just" template changes, but coordination across translation 
teams in general.  My impression so far has been that automated RSS 
feeds can do part of the work, but not all.

> I understand your position. The only short-term improvement I can
> imagine in this process at this point is better information flow (i.e.
> that translators know at least how it all works) and translating
> directly upstream. Locking the upstream translations would even be
> better, but that is again material for another discussion.

Colin, this may have come up before but might it help to register the 
Ubuntu version of the installer as an independent project on Launchpad? 
  That would give you much more fine-grained control over translation 
access, e.g. to delegate it only to people who are aware of the 
package's special situation.


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