Problems and suggestions in Launchpad translations (rosseta)

Kainourgiakis Giorgos kaingeo at
Wed Feb 25 09:52:25 GMT 2009

Hello all,
I wrote these notes because of this: In UDS 2009 the following topics, "Make Rosetta attractive for upstreams" and "Launchpad Translations" left blank. I have no idea if the suggestions are techinaly viable, but here they are.

Launchpad Translations Problems

Launchpad translations (rosetta) is a great collaborative tool for translating just about anything. That is correct but... it also is a great mess! And why is that? The main reasons appear below:

Problem 1:
If you are in country that a Gnome, a KDE, a OpenOffice or a Debian translation team exists you are out of business. You can only translate ubuntu documentation, debian patches, some packages and the projects that use launchpad for translations. The result is that a new translator has no idea which packages to translate. If he translates a random package his work will probably will be lost, because the package is being translated upstream and imported to launchpad from an upstream translation team.

Solution 1:
All packages must be tagged as Gnome, KDE, Debian, OpenOffice, independent or Ubuntu patch packages, in order the translator to know where a package is being officially translated.

Problem 2:
A Gnome, KDE or OpenOffice translator doesn't likes launchpad translations. But why is that? Because launchpad does not include the development branch of his project, instead it includes only Ubuntu's version (Many guys want to translate via Launchpad but they can not). That is because Gnome project, for instance, does not use launchpad for translations (we all know that) but an average translator would like better to work on his project via launchpad translations. The main reason is because launchpad is easier.

Solution 2:
The average translator must have a choice. The development branch of project can be imported and hosted by launchpad and it can produce a .po file that is valid to the project. The procedure of translating, lets say gnome project, it will be the same. The translator must e-mail his mailing list to inform the team that he is translating a package and then, when he is done he must send it back for review. The procedure of translation can be done in launchpad.

Problem 3:
The Ubuntu final localization is being produced from many translation teams with different translators, different styles, different translations for the same terms, so it has a reduced quality. An excellent example is the Greek main menu (Application, Places, System) where in some cases we have translations like Applications > Internet > (description) then (name of the program) and the next application is Applications > Internet > (name of the program) then (description). Also a translation administrator many times has no idea what "Scrape" or "Toggle" is, or there is no translation in his language, so he has to decide the term himself. 

Solution 3:
Creation of a computer term dictionary divided in sections like CD-burning, Torrents, Web Browsing etc which will include numerous terms for each section. This dictionary should be community driven and also should have a voting system that a launchpad user can propose a translation for the term and also can vote the best translation for the term. This system should be a great Canonical and Ubuntu community contribution to the open source community and i think it's technically viable via launchpad.
It also be useful to create an ubuntu Applications, Places, System translation package for all the menu titles that been used in basic ubuntu so the titles be unified. An example is Totem. Gnome project refer to this player as Movie player in the Applications menu and not as Totem Movie player, like the pattern used in Rhythmbox which is refered as Rhythmbox Music player. Also totem is actually a multimedia player not a movie player. The average non technical user finds odd to play mp3s with a movie player! These things can be corrected with this package.

Problem 4:
If anyone wants to upload a simple .po file in launchpad for translation (for personal use) he can not.

Solution 4:
Creation of an online translation tool like kbabel or poedit that uses the launchpad translations memory so anyone can translate or suggest a string of the file. The administrator must be the guy who uploaded the file.

Problem 5:
An administrator (a reviewer) has absolutely no idea where he can find new suggestions for translations to review.

Solution 5:
Provide a list of packages with new suggestions in all translations packages to translation administrators in his profile.

Can you note the technical mistakes of these suggestions???
Thanx in advance
Giorgos Kainourgiakis

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