Localization Update for the 2010 Q2 GNOME Quarterly Report

(As discussed on the gnome-i18n mailing list.)

Various localization teams that are part of the GNOME Translation Project continued with focusing their localization effort on stable GNOME 2.30.1 and 2.30.2 releases which were released on April 28 and June 23, respectively. Localization teams will proceed further with working on localization for the upcoming GNOME 3 release.

GNOME translation community that gather together on the gnome-i18n mailing list discussed and conducted common translation project administrivia, including assistance in changing coordinators in several localization teams, the most notable case being the Slovak translation team, in which several translators expressed their discontent with the current way of coordination. The issue was thoroughly discussed within the Coordination Team in order to mediate the dispute and was settled down in the beginning of July when the current Slovak coordinator announced his resignation.

Among other things discussed was the legal issue of whether translators who are not legal experts should translate legal notices or license texts that usually come with the free software distribution. This topic was further discussed on the GNOME legal-list with Luis Villa.

Also, there was a change done in the structure of the GNOME Translation Project coordination. Previously, the project was formally led by two Spokes Persons who were also senior members of the extended Coordination Team. Now, the Spokes Person status has been obsoleted in favor of a larger Coordination Team.

For string freeze break requests during the GNOME Desktop development cycle, developers are now required to obtain the approval from two members of the Coordination Team. The Coordination Team that now consists of 11 members will also seek ways to improve the responsiveness about requests.

One of the important tasks that the GNOME Translation Project intends to accomplish during Q3 is completing the implementation of Git commit support through the infrastructure running on l10n.gnome.org.

Open Source Conference in Zilina and Slovak localization

From Thursday July 1 to Sunday July 4, I attended a local open source conference in the Slovak city of Zilina. The conference was called Otvorený softvér vo vzdelávaní, výskume a v IT riešeniach 2010 (i.e. “Open Source Software in Education, Research and IT Solutions 2010”). Unlike the conference of the same name last year, this year it was being organized by a Slovak open source society Spoločnosť pre Otvorené Informačné Technológie (“Society for Open Source Information Technologies”), held at a local university campus, and sponsored by e.g. HP or Red Hat.

Organizers thought not only of a highly specialized event for technical academia, but also of a convenient place to let the open source community gather together. Since todays Slovakia has (still) so much in common with the Czech Republic (and this is far from being only a language thing, i.e. the fact that Slovak and Czech languages are mutually intelligible), representatives from both countries were present, and it was nice to see the omnipresent language switching during both the official conference program and past-conference informal social events.

As for my presence at the conference, it all began in the spring when on various places throughout the Slovak and Czech technology-oriented websites and online communities, people started to express discontent with some parts of the Slovak FLOSS localization, and, particularly, with the translation quantity and very much related work flow issues that evolved within the GNOME Slovak translation team. For what it’s worth, a little later this was also brought to attention of the general GNOME translation community by one of the Slovak translators who also attended the Zilina conference. Eventually, the Slovak case was discussed thoroughly by the GNOME Translation Project coordinators and settled down with Slovak coordinator stepping down from his role in the beginning of July.

But back to my participation. I discussed the described issue with Czech FLOSS advocate Vlastimil Ott (see his summary report from the conference, and some pictures) and with Slovak organizer Miloš Šrámek of the mentioned Slovak Society, and I was invited to take part in the event, as they previously decided on devoting one of the conference days to FLOSS localization. I was generously sponsored by organizers to be able to attend the event and give a talk on FLOSS localization on Saturday morning. (Thank you!) Miloš Šrámek also approached many of the Slovak FLOSS translators and invited them to Zilina. Though not many of them visited us on Saturday eventually, the event generally went good among the organizers, presenters, and audience who were actively participating in the subsequent debate.

We concluded the debate with similar points that were outlined in the linked GNOME Slovak case resolution. Also, we identified a persistent issue with how the Slovak FLOSS translation community is organized (or, better say, disorganized). During the debate, Miloš Šrámek offered a proposal of setting up a centralized place to gather the translation community together, and to begin work on common fundamental terminology, glossaries and translation memories, much similar to what the Czech project L10N.cz is or tries to be nowadays. The possibility of operating local instance of the Pootle server to help mainly beginners, at least partially, with the localization process was also discussed.

Hopefully, some willing Slovak translator or, better, group of translators will volunteer to put this much viable idea into action soon.