2.20’s internationalization; guadec results.


don’t forget to add new files with translatable strings to POTFILES.in/POTFILES.skip, otherwise those new strings will not be caught. quickly check http://l10n.gnome.org/module/$MODULENAME to get a list of those files (they are listed at the top of the “UI translations” section under “Notices” – if there are none, you’re a good maintainer(TM) and deserve a cookie.


GNOME’s translators are very creative with regard to working around bad strings. however, it seems that they are way too friendly by not filing bug reports against modules with hard-to-translate strings. why?
are you keen on trying to translate “Read” (“has been read”? or “something to read”?), “Profile” (“a profile”? or “to profile”?) or “%s at %s on behalf of %s” properly by try&error guessing, or do you love spending time on reading the source code?

you’ve got better things to spend your time on! there aren’t many bug reports on translation issues in gnome bugzilla, which surprised me. so please file bug reports against the affected modules and add the “L10N” keyword, and if a string definitely has to be rephrased then please also add the “string” keyword to your report. help the developer to understand your problem, by linking to a good explanation, e.g. if a comment would help to understand how to translate a string, add a link explaining how to use comments, if a sentence is splitted up, add a link to your bug report to the explanation why this is bad behaviour. it only takes you a minute and will help everybody to get a better localized desktop.


if you like your favourite desktop and want to give some of the love back, why not getting involved by helping your translation team?

just take a look at the webpage and write an email to your translation team leader that you are interested in getting involved (if you do not receive an answer to your email within two weeks, please complain to gnome-i18n mailing list and CC the team leader on your email, because this should not happen.).

we have a webpage that provides wonderful statistics about which modules are in need of an update – choose your language, click on “GNOME 2.20 (development)” and then click on the download to disc icon of a module. then take gtranslator, kbabel, poedit or your favourite text editor to make the translation perfect again, then let the team leader upload your file, that’s all. easy, eh? :-)

languages in need of more translators

for my guadec talk (page 15f.), i compared the translation stats of 2.14 to those of 2.18 to find out which languages probably need more manpower. beside of course those languages that have always been on a low level, the following languages with more than 50% ui translation have lost quite a lot:
nepali (-20%), albanian (-14%), indonesian (-12%), czech and croatian (-11%), romanian and nynorsk (-10%).

also, i wonder whether those translation teams that have 99% ui translation (and therefore obviously enough human ressources) but less than 3% documentation translation (arabic, dzonghka, macedonian, hungarian, catalan, finnish, lithuanian, danish, japanese, vietnamese) could perhaps also translate a few docs for 2.20? we all know that a fully translated ui is much more important than having translated docs, but perhaps, perhaps some people can spend an additional little amount of time on translating the doc of their favourite application (again: if new translators are interested – of course feel free to join and help, see above).

general disclaimer: if you do not like translating, but want to help making GNOME even better: there are also many other ways how you can get involved.


“and now for something completely different.” looks like some of the issues that i described in my guadec talk are on a good way now:

  • willem is interested in providing better analysis tools for bugzilla, something that could make it easier to analyze/identify bottlenecks and the quality of our modules and services. looking forward to it.
  • if i remember the last guadec evening correctly (we were all so damn busy with fixing the showstopper bug 455415), don told me that somebody talked to him about working on providing a better tracking of our documentation status. i don’t know if it’s the same thing as gil described herevertimus, used by the frenchies, looks quite advanced, compared to the stuff used by the dutchies (i don’t remember the exact url, this one here is for the docs) or germans.
    yes, one evening at the etap, we introduced the systems used by the translation teams to each other. that’s why guadec is so cool.
  • i’d like to thank danilo for addressing our gtp bottleneck.

also, i ran into willie walker (working on orca, gnome’s screenreader) on his last evening at guadec, who paid me a nice compliment. thanks, man!

i’m a pretty happy camper currently.

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5 Responses to 2.20’s internationalization; guadec results.

  1. Good stuff. An addition comment on the POTFILES stuff:

    * Regarding POTFILES.in and POTFILES.skip – if all translatable files aren’t in one of those, latest intltool will fail “make check” and all the FEATURES=test running bozos in gentoo will hate my guts. Conclusion: maintainers should run “make check” on a modern distribution (read: not some year old legacy stuff in computer terms) or get a whippin’ :)

    Also, you need a hackergotchi. Yesterday!

  2. Gil Forcada says:

    nice summary andre!

    just a little complain :)

    my blog is in http://gil.badall.net ;)

    the other one in guifi.net it’s more about my involvment in guifi.net

  3. Gil Forcada says:

    p.s. just missed:

    what about the mailinglist? :P

  4. Arangel says:

    Nice post. I would only add one thing about the GNOME documentation. I totally agree that to have the whole experience we should definitely try to localize it as well, but it’s more complex to do it because it’s bigger, you have longer strings to translate and you get tired very easily.

    Here is a suggestion to all of the teams that want to start working on the documentation localization – Organize a translation marathon, it can take place at a university classrom or a local computer club for example during the weekend, gather all of your PC’s, laptops and make it public on your local LUG mailing lists, forums etc. Not a rellay a good way to loose a weekend but it should get most of the work done, and you get to hang out with geeks with computers all weekend. :)

  5. aklapper says:

    @mart: ah, nice to know. somebody’s working on a hackergotchi if i remember guadec correctly, but seems like i’m not the only one.

    @gil: oops… blame google, and get on the planet! ;-)
    will repost today to the mailing list. this posting here was planned to be a part of my guadec talk, but i dropped it because it did not fit. :-)

    @arangel: sounds pretty cool, and this should work out well with some LUGs. it’s more fun to sit together and hack on something, indeed. same with bugdays.

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