Ubuntu 11.04 Translations Plans

David Planella david.planella at ubuntu.com
Mon Oct 4 20:32:27 BST 2010

El dv 17 de 09 de 2010 a les 11:33 +0200, en/na Andrej Žnidaršič va
> Hello !
> For attracting new translators i believe most of the effort must be
> done by each local translation team.
> From my experience one needs to show to the other people that it's fun
> and rewarding thing to do.
> Also a team should get a chatroom where people interested in
> translations or translators can share info, discuss, coordinate, etc.
> In our case we used jabber chat room
> from http://partychapp.appspot.com/ as many new contributors were not
> comfortable/had difficulities with irc but almost all had
> google /jabber accounts.

That's a good tip. Different teams use different workflows, so this
might work better on some teams that others. I'll take a note to add it
to the best practices and advice for new teams.

> About string reorganization: I don't think singificantly more people
> will translate if they see easy strings first. They might translate
> first few, but they are going to stop at difficult ones. In my opinion
> easy strings like "Add" are of medium importance as most people
> already know what they mean or can easily look it up (i guess it
> depends on the country one comes from). What is the most important are
> long, "difficult" strings as one cannot look them up in a dictionary /
> online.

I'm not planning to focus on any string reorganization effort. If this
were to happen, I believe it should be done by prioritizing the most
visible strings first. If anyone would want to work on this, a
suggestion would be (roughly) a coordinated effort to:

      * Collect the data of the most visible strings in the desktop
      * Work with gettext upstream to implement a per-string
      * Implement per-string priorities in Launchpad

While useful, this seems to me like a significant amount of work. In
addition to that, there should be an easy way to update the priorities
at least on a per-release basis.

I think what we have now, in terms of per-template priorities (i.e. most
important templates are shown first on the list) is a good compromise
with the functionality we've got. Of course it would even be better to
organize the templates per package sets (e.g. GNOME, KDE, etc.), but as
mentioned on the previous e-mail, the Launchpad Translations developers
focus right now is not on new features, but rather upstream integration.

And I won't get tired of repeating it :) Launchpad is Free Software, so
if any one at one point would and enjoy the experience of working in
such a big and fast-paced project and contribute to it by "scratching
their own itch" and implementing new features that can be useful to all
translators, the Launchpad devs will be more than happy to mentor them.

Here are some pointers to get started:


> I agree the most important think translations should focus is easy
> upstream coordination. both ways. For example, a translation was
> imported from compiz into launchpad, by a person who i cannot contact.
> There were some bugs in translations. We fixed them and wanted to send
> the .po file upstream. Unfortunately slovenian team does not exist for
> compiz and they only have pootble for translation (cannot import .po).
> After half an hour hunting for people on irc i was redirected to
> ubuntu package maintainters, but i don't think they can contribute
> directly to upstream (will ask them, need to check).

We've discussed this on IRC already, but I'll include the answer for the
benefit of other translators. No, maintainers cannot generally
contribute to upstream translations. Apart from the fact that they could
not handle requests from all translation teams, they might not even have
commit rights to the upstream projects or not be versed in how
translations work. And most importantly, in general the work of
translation teams should not be bypassed. They are ultimately
responsible for QA'ing translations, and a maintainer that does not
speak a particular language might not be the best person to submit a
translation, unless he's intimately familiar and already involved with
the translation workflow of the particular project.

>  There are lots of "small" projects (in terms of translations) like
> compiz.
> Of course it would be best if the translations were automatically
> signed. But even if some simplificaion of the process would be really
> great.
> I think it would be really great if;
> a) there would be a list of all packages with links with upstream 
> and even better if we could assign some people who have good contact
> with smaller upstream projects (meaning excluding Gnome, kde, debian
> and translaton project, possibly package maintainers), so that we
> could send them the .po files and they would know who they should send
> it to and how should they commit it. This would save people a massive
> amount of time as we don't need to hunt down the people thorugh which
> we can commit the packages. Also the people responsible wouldn't have
> too much work, as i imagine not all transaltion teams will be use it /
> be strong enough (in terms of activity) to push significant number of
> packages upstream.
> If anyone has any idea how this could be improved, this is most
> welcome.

As per the previous comment, while a good idea, I'm not too sure it
could be implemented like this: i.e. having a central point for dealing
with translations for every project.

Ideally, the information on where an upstream comes from should be in
Launchpad already. I know there is (or will be) an effort to present it
and set it in Launchpad, but I'm not sure which form it will take. Right
now you can associate upstream projects to Ubuntu packages in Launchpad,
but I'm not sure if it will go further than that.

So for now, it might be worth to keep maintaining and updating the lists
at https://wiki.ubuntu.com/Translations/Upstream, adding new info
whenever someone finds information on how to contribute to a particular

This is not something I believe I'll have time to focus on next cycle,
but I'd like to hear any suggestions on how to make it better. As usual,
I'll try to support anyone wanting to work on this.

> My other suggestion is to make some youtube videos, which show how
> easy it's to use launchpad. When people see it's very easy they get
> motivated faster.

That is an awesome idea. I was planning to do that as part of the
translations learning content effort this cycle, but I've had to
postpone it. As part of the translations portal, I think the videos
would be a good addition to the content we can provide to new
contributors. This is something I'd like to work on next cycle too.


David Planella
Ubuntu Translations Coordinator
www.ubuntu.com / www.davidplanella.wordpress.com
www.identi.ca/dplanella / www.twitter.com/dplanella
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