Random rants from a KDE user which also works on making KDE more Hebrew friendly.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Freeze in KDE4.2 - now lets check out the strings

KDE's trunk is now frozen and no new features can be added, nor visual strings can be modified or added, we are in release mode. Lets see some of those strings:

Inactive contrast effect type, taken from colorsettings.ui:830 in kdebase, the string is found somewhere in kcmcolors.pot. I understand this as the non-active contrast of a type of an effect or the type of the effect for the contrast of non-active (something).  This is how it will sound when translating to my language, it might sound ok in English but it does not always sound good enough in other languages. Looking at the spanish translation it seems the second translation is what the original developer meant.... you see? I need to look into another translation to understand the original string. How can a user understand it?

You have a Logitech Mouse connected, and libusb was found at compile time, but it was not possible to access this mouse. This is probably caused by a permissions problem - you should consult the manual on how to fix this. This one comes from kcminput.pot, and my question is: which manual? ... are you sure it will have information about something like "chmod a+rw /dev/usb-mouse-blabla"?

And then are the giziliion-gazillion technology names we use: plasma, akonadi, strigi, phonon, dbus and more. What am I speaking about this? since some languages leave those names in english even though the langauge is not latin based (for example the Hebrew team is doing this) and others do try to translate the latin letters to the alphabet (the Arabic team does this for example). This is fine, until we start talking about "plasmoids"... and then things get funky. I might need to re-think my policy and translating plasmoid to פלסמואיד and also plasma to פלסמה or פלסמא (the latter sounds more Aramic then Hebrew so I might keep the first one). 

Again, why mumbeling about local decitinos? Because when choosing technology names developers do not think about i18n and l10n (1), what happens when the technology name cannot be transcribed into a specific language? I once heard that CocaCola cannot be transcribed exactly to Chinese and when localizing the trade mark CocaCola used the closes sounds they could find to write the name of the product (2).

Don't get me wrong, KDE 4.2 will kick ass, and the next Mandriva distribution will come with it will get in my laptop (3). But still, as a contributor I am not happy about some decitions, and that's OK.  Since I am using Gnome at work (4) and I see the applications on the other side, and I like the ones KDE is shipping/developing.

(1)  lazy... write the full words!
(2)  any chinese reading this? can you confirm this?
kate and Konsole. Just because the kubuntu-desktop is not stable enough.
(3)  yes, I am still using KDE 3.5.something. Stable and usable, I need to do work and not fight my own system.
(4)  Ubuntu 8.10 (64 bit) with kubuntu-desktop installed, running a GNome session with Dolphin. Dolphin kicked mc's ass.


Aaron J. Seigo said...

working on de-jargonizing message is indeed an ongoing struggle and one we need to keep at. things are getting better there though.

take for intance your plasma / plasmoids thing. that's really a red herring because we don't use those tems in user facing phrases.

sometimes someone sneaks them in, such as in the Comment= field in a plasmoid's .desktop file, and when we find such a thing we remove it.

we use the term "widget" rather than "plasmoid" in verbage the user will see and use words like "desktop", "activity" and "panel" rather than "Plasma".

Plasma is a proper name, so please don't translate that. and plasmoid is a technical term than should never be seen anywhere other than technical dcumentation; if you find it somewhere let us know so we can remove it (or just remove it yourself).

JLP said...

Hm, I guess these "under the hood" phrases and developer names could be added to Krazy checker. So it would check for them and suggest a common "user facing" term.

SDiZ said...

Of course you can't transcript ColoCola in Chinese -- Chinese is NOT a phonetic language.

CocaCola is 可口可乐 in Chinese, which means "Delicious Cola" -- this is much better then any transcription

Jordi said...

可口可乐 (chinese cocacola) sounds like kekoukele which is pretty similar to the original.
So the chinese transcription is both phonetic and semantic.
I guess they think a lot about it...