Translation status for ubuntu-docs

Ask Hjorth Larsen asklarsen at
Mon Mar 26 15:10:06 UTC 2012

Dear translators and documentation people

On Mon, 26 Mar 2012, Timo Jyrinki wrote:

> 2012/3/26 Jeremy Bicha <jbicha at>:
>> I uploaded the potfile for ubuntu-docs tonight and opened up
>> translations on Launchpad for the precise branch.
> What about the ubuntu-docs under /ubuntu/precise/+source/ubuntu-docs -
> it'll be updated at the time of actual upload?
> For future, do you think that ubuntu-docs under the Ubuntu
> translations should simply be not visible until the final template is
> uploaded? Or this current system still better? I think one of the
> biggest invisible problems in Ubuntu translations making people go
> away (if they notice it) is the fact that work is wasted. Most of the
> people translating do not know that probably a lot of their
> translations will not be used if they've been translating ubuntu-docs
> in the last month or so, or even this coming week.
> This would not be such a big problem it is today without being
> combined with the lack of supporting fuzzy strings in LP. Then when
> the docs team do a cleanup of commas, articles or word orders (I'd
> assume there is always a bunch of those in addition to total
> rewrites), quality translations that would still have a lot value
> (either 100% match or something easily fixed to match the new form)
> are being lost. This is especially big problem in ubuntu-docs, since
> it has long strings, and a single small change anywhere will always
> reset a big amount of translated text compared to application UI texts
> that are usually much shorter.
> With the new precise ubuntu-docs template, I see that while the total
> number of strings have stayed roughly the same (+100 strings), the
> number of untranslated strings have raised from 358 to 1086. What I
> personally will do is:
> - now very quickly save the current Ubuntu precise's ubuntu-docs PO file
> - when the new ubuntu-docs gets to precise proper, fuzzy match the
> downloaded PO file to the new template manually with gettext tools
> - in case of simple word order / punctuation / etc changes simply
> unfuzzy or make a little fix in the translation
> - upload the new PO with "saved" translations back to Launchpad
> But I'd estimate that not many of the languages have the luck of
> someone doing this work. In the other language teams, there might be
> frustrated people noticing that the hard work they've done
> (translating ubuntu-docs is really hard work since there is so much of
> it) has for a part disappeared.
> Not that this would be a new problem of course, but what do you think
> about the template hiding idea or do you have any other ideas to help
> this problem (other than contributing to LP code)?
> -Timo

I apologize in advance for the considerable amount of grumbling below. 
But I think we have big problems.

I think Launchpad should be entirely disabled for docs translations.  The 
lack of fuzzy matching makes Launchpad almost useless for anything but UI 
translations.  The alternative is to use e.g. a bzr archive to maintain 
the translations.  This requires more technical knowledge, but we 
(translations coordinators) can help individual translators with it, and 
actually get the job done.  We are qualified to use tools like bzr, 
msgmerge and other things to make sure that work is not lost.  But right 
now I (as a coordinator) am quite powerless to stop the waste of time. 
The only thing I can do is to not recommend that people work on certain 
things.  I cannot even put a big red sticker on the ubuntu docs page on 
Launchpad saying "don't translate this".  I have only indirect means of 
communication (e-mails) around Launchpad.  This makes everything very 
complicated and not something I look forward to dealing with.

There is only one thing which is worse than not getting a voluntary 
contribution due to it being too difficult, and that is to get the 
contribution and then throw it away.  Because that contributor will not 
come back.

I and others have previously requested fuzzy matching and some other IMHO 
essential features on Launchpad, but there seems to be no plans to 
implement any of it or even recognize the importance.

So please disable ubuntu docs in Launchpad.

Best regards

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