Translating Debian Package Descriptions

Michael Vogt mvo at
Thu Feb 18 08:40:49 GMT 2010

On Wed, Feb 17, 2010 at 07:57:17PM +0100, Jochen Skulj wrote:
> Hi,
> I am just trying to understand how those Debian package descriptions
> which are shown when using apt-cache are translated in Ubuntu. Naively I
> assume that these package descriptions are imported from
> into Launchpad, can be translated or adapted in Launchpad an these
> Launchpad translations will be delivered to the users via language
> packs.Is this idea correct or am I totally wrong? If I am wrong I would
> like to know how this process works.
> Currently we - the German Ubuntu Translators - have this problem: a user
> reported that the German translation of a package translation which are
> shown by apt-cache is inappropriate. While taking a closer look on this
> issue we found out two things:
> (1) The translation the user told us can't be found on Launchpad. The
> user criticises that in the package description of aircrack-ng the term
> "WEP/WPA-Knacker" is used. Although this seems to be the case in
> the translation on Launchpad [1] is different and
> doesn't contain "Knacker".

Thanks to Gabor Kelemen for already covering most of the above points
in his mail. Personally I'm not happy with the huge termplate for the
translation, but its the best we have at this point. There is a
launchpad spec pending to break it down and move the translation into
each individual package as a additional "ddtp-description .pot" (or
something). But that seems to be not progressing. 

Nightmonkey is wonderful to help with organizing the strings, I would
recommend anyone doing package description translations to use it :)
> (2) On our machines the package description are not translated at all. I
> verified this on two machines running Jaunty and apt-cache only shows
> English package descriptions. How can it happen that some users have
> translated package descriptions and others not?

It will download the required translation data for your locale on
apt-get update. So if you run with german locales all the time you
should have it (german locales system-wide that is). The possible
failures I can see:
 - german is not the system-wide language (just a gdm setting)

If you could mail me the output of:
$ cat /etc/default/locale
$ ls /var/lib/apt/lists/*Translation*
that would help me diagnosing the problem.


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