Degree of trust and quality for Ubuntu Localization Teams

David Planella david.planella at
Fri Jul 10 10:02:49 BST 2009

Hi all,

Thanks Adi for starting this discussion, and thank you all for the great

El dc 08 de 07 de 2009 a les 00:24 +0300, en/na Adi Roiban va escriure:
> 1. What do you think?
> 2. Should we moderate membership for localization teams and implement
> some minimal quality checks or we should have open team without any
> quality assurance measures?

To answer the questions, I obviously do think quality in translations is
important, and I also think moderated -even restricted- teams (along
with a defined review process) are the only way to ensure it.

I hadn't read Matthew's post from 2006 [1] and I also found it very
interesting. The basic content still applies, but it's good to see
Rosetta's improvement over the years - the first two points have already
been solved, and the third one has been greatly improved. Regarding the
fourth one, I think there we can make a big difference with this

Until now, for the (few) teams/team owners I've approved since I've
started as UTC, I made sure they were aware of a few basic things such
as the existence of upstreams, getting in touch with them, the
ubuntu-translators mailing list, etc.

These were all suggestions, and I'm wondering whether these should be
rather made requirements for new teams or new team admins/owners:

      * To join the ubuntu-translators mailing list
      * To have a local translation mailing list, preferably at
      * To have a set of translation guidelines
      * To have a wiki with information on:
              * How to join the team
              * Description of the review process
              * (alternatively this could be covered by the translation
      * Make sure they are aware of the existence of upstreams (Debian,
        GNOME, KDE) - note: I'd make the suggestion of them joining or
        creating the upstream teams, but I'm not sure this should be a
        requirement. Sometimes there are social issues involved and I
        don't think we can _require_ that new teams join upstream teams.
      * Anything else?

I am aware that we cannot require all translators to do this, but at
least we should aim for the team contact to fulfill the basic
requirements and act as a proxy to relay all relevant information to the
team and to ensure the guidelines are followed.

I'm not sure we can implement general quality checks, this should be up
to each team.

Now that would be for new teams/admins/owners. What about existing
teams, e.g. the ones Adi was listing as Open?

If so far we've all agreed that Ubuntu translation teams should be
moderated, how do we suggest to existing teams they should consider
being moderated?

I like the idea mentioned in this thread about exploring the model used
for LoCo teams: having a set of 'approved' translation teams in order to
have a list with those certified with having a proven quality track.
This would also encourage 'unapproved' teams to aim for 'approved'
status by following a set of guidelines to improve quality.

      * What does being an 'approved' translation team mean in practical
        terms (apart from proven quality in translations)?
              * Would they be listed as 'approved' in Launchpad?
              * Should e.g. language packs only be released for approved
                teams (I don't think this would be necessary)?
              * Other...

I see Adi has proposed this as a topic for the next meeting, and I think
that will be a good chance to discuss it in addition to this thread.

El dc 08 de 07 de 2009 a les 09:27 +0300, en/na Eyal Levin va escriure:
> We should also consider brainstorming about the different approaches
> for accepting new translators. Perhaps a wiki page with a list of
> approaches and which one is accepted by which team. This could stay as
> suggestions or we might consider drafting a minimal requirement for
> all teams.

I think this is a very good idea. I've started a wiki page collecting
what team coordinators have shared regarding to team membership and QA
in this thread:

Please do share your practices in that aspect and expand the page. I
think this is a very good opportunity for all the Ubuntu translation
community members to see how other teams work and learn from others.

Regarding sharing how the Catalan team works:

* We've always been a moderated team.

The main aspects of our policies are:

* Communication: we make clear to all contributors that communication is
very important, and we ask all of them to join our mailing list.
* Guidelines: we have a canonical (as in the adjective, not the
company ;) ) set of guidelines [2] and glossary [3] used for Ubuntu and
nearly all other free (sometimes even also commercial) software
translated into Catalan. I believe that's one of our strongest points.
* QA: all translations must be reviewed before being approved. We use
the mailing list for reviews, and the translation group members can also
approve suggestions in Launchpad.
* Workflow: we normally assign translations to people (or they pick them
up), and we track their status in the wiki (as an overview of what's
been discussed in the mailing list) ->
* Membership: we only accept members who've done a sustained
contribution, follow our review process and guidelines and have proven
to provide translations up to the standards. That said, we also make
clear that you don't have to be a member to translate Ubuntu into
Catalan. Anyone who submits a translation (either via PO file on the
mailing list or through suggestions in ) and asks us for review will see
his/her translation in Ubuntu.
* Upstream: we ensure active collaboration with upstream by
participating in the upstream teams. In fact, the usual path has been so
far joining the upstream teams and then coming to Ubuntu. We've got
people from Debian, GNOME and KDE. For those upstreams in which we do
not actively contribute (Mozilla,, we've got a fluid and
regular communication with their members - and some of us are also
subscribed to their lists.

El dv 10 de 07 de 2009 a les 14:15 +0900, en/na hito va escriure:
> Now, we plan to go with Plan A, but LP has no function for translation
> reviewing, 

I agree that it might need improving in some aspects, as in providing
feedback to the submitter of the suggestion, but Launchpad does allow
you to easily review suggestions if you are a moderated team. And for
the more advanced review features, you can supply that with
communication through a mailing list and the wiki.

> team moderation is good for work, but member invitation and
> catch up/mentoring are not. So, if translation coordinator want to
> help another translators, he/she must work harder. It is not good way,
> we need more discuss about team aproach in Japanase translations.

See above.

El dv 10 de 07 de 2009 a les 06:27 +0300, en/na Adi Roiban va escriure:
> This is why we give 1 year membership and users can update their
> membership. If they are active, they will update it... otherwise will
> be
> listed as inactive.

This idea could also help teams migrating from an Open membership to
Moderated, especially in those with a big number of users.

El dj 09 de 07 de 2009 a les 11:24 +0200, en/na Daniel Nylander va
> We have had a large number of "new" translators who submits really bad
> translations (Swedish is a very difficult language). Some even submits
> translations directly from Google Translate (so wrong and out of
> context). The problem we face now are all the open translations done
> in
> Launchpad (outside Ubuntu). Some are really bad and that will have a
> negative effect on the application usage, even if the application is a
> very good application.

This is not different than in many other OSS projects. To give you an
example, in Catalan we've had a translation mistake in mailman which
prevents Catalan installations of mailman accessing the mailing list
archives. The user simply submitted his translation unreviewed to the
mailman devs. We've just recently been able to review and correct the
translation, but this problem has been there for a number of years and
will remain so until all installations have been updated to at least
2.1.10 - which means that this problem is still present in as well, which uses 2.1.8.

The big difference here is that Launchpad lowers the barrier for
translator to come in, so the projects get more exposure - and that
there's a lot of them :) !

In any case, that's a valid point, and we're trying to improve the
situation with open translations. We've got the Launchpad translators
group, which is slowly growing, and we encourage new projects to use



David Planella
Ubuntu Translations Coordinator

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