Hebrew CLI translations

David Planella david.planella at ubuntu.com
Mon Jun 29 10:03:27 BST 2009

Hi translators,

Recently an issue has come up involving Hebrew translations for CLI
applications [1] [2]. In a nutshell:

* GNOME Terminal (with vte as the standard terminal emulator) cannot
correctly display RTL text [3] (the direction is reversed). Other
terminal applications (e.g. Konsole) might do a better job, but none of
them can get it working perfectly.

* This is a hard problem to solve [4].

* Using BiCon [5] inside VTE might be an alternative. Question? What's
the status of the project?

* This does not only affect Hebrew users, but all of those with RTL
(right-to-left) languages.

* On Debian some applications use a workaround whereby translations are
disabled by removing the 'he' language code from the po/LINGUAS file
(see this example on apt [6]). In this way, apt translations are not
simply discarded, but they are not shown in the UI.

So here are my questions:

      * Eyal, Yaron, as Hebrew Translation coordinators in Ubuntu: if we
        were to take the same workaround as in Debian, would you be
        happy with the translations of CLI applications not being used?

              * You have to take into account that GUI applications
                (which if I'm not mistaken would be able to display
                those texts correctly) sometimes use the translations
                from CLI applications (as an example update-manager
                using apt's translations), so if we disable the
                translations the GUI applications would also display the
                messages in English (i.e. not translated).
              * If we were to consider this, we would need a list of CLI
                applications for which the translations should be
              * There is currently no way in Launchpad to disable the
                translation templates for individual languages, so you'd
                have to make sure you explicitly mention in your style
                guide that CLI applications (probably with a list
                containing all of them) should for now not be
      * Danilo, Henninge, Jeroen, Arne: if we were to consider this
        approach of disabling the translations, would it be possible to
        block 'he' translations a) at the import level (import queue)
        and b) at the export level ('he' langpacks). Note: I'm not
        saying this would be the best approach, I'm just trying to
        assess which options we've got and how doable they are.

      * All other RTL translators/users: do you consider this an issue
        in your language? If so, are there any workarounds you are using
        which you'd like to share?

As I said, this is an issue affecting not only Hebrew users, so before
we take any decision in how we can best solve this, it would be good to
have some more feedback.


[1] https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/gnome-terminal/+bug/325324
[3] http://bugzilla.gnome.org/show_bug.cgi?id=321490
[4] http://bugzilla.gnome.org/show_bug.cgi?id=321490#c9
[5] http://www.arabeyes.org/project.php?proj=BiCon
[6] http://bugs.debian.org/cgi-bin/bugreport.cgi?bug=313283

David Planella
Ubuntu Translations Coordinator

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