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Re: Ubuntu Manual Translations


While I'm not a translator, here is my 2c.

I think translations must begin only -after- the final english manual has been released, to ensure a full freeze and minimal disturbance and loss of work for the translators. I think it has basically been decided that in future, the manual itself, english or otherwise, will be released at least 2 weeks after the Ubuntu OS release date, because the Ubuntu developers have proven that they cannot enforce the UI freeze and continue adding things up to the last minute, sometimes even after release candidate.

However, if we wait two weeks or more to release the English manual, and then we only start translations when that happens, we have an issue whereby the translations may take anywhere between one month to six months for completion - by which time we are fully into the next release cycle and one has to question whether there is point continuing translations of a manual which will be outdated in a couple of months. And herein lies the fundamental problem.

It is clear to me that we don't have the correct infrastructure at the moment to handle translations and writing alongside one another smoothly, rosetta on launchpad was never designed to handle large chunks of text formatted in latex, and our current solution by using po4a, coupled with the known bugs in Rosetta provides a rather cumbersome, frustrating and slow process for translations.

My advice would be to research how important it is that every single manual we release is available in more than one language, we should collect some statistics from the downloads to judge how popular they are and whether it is worth all of our time to go through the process every six months. I think it would be much more beneficial for everyone if we only translated LTS versions of the manual, once every two years. This would leave significant time for translators to work, and while it won't provide the latest and greatest in languages beside English, it would certainly take a lot of strain off a volunteer team lacking the necessary infrastructure for such a mammoth undertaking twice a year.

If we find that people do miss having the newest information available to them every six months in their own language, we could quite easily create change logs for each release as Jonas suggested, which would provide a nice and brief overview of the newest features. This could be small, maybe less than 3 pages, and would be translated within days of the release.

Benjamin Humphrey


On Nov 6, 2010, at 9:37 PM, Hannie <lafeber-dumoleyn2@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:

> Since this is a new thread I would like to start by copying some thoughts from translators on this subject in the previous thread:
> ===============
> ----- Original Message ----- 
> From: "Benjamin Humphrey" <humphreybc@xxxxxxxxx>
> * Not releasing the manual for every release, but perhaps only .04 releases (yearly) or only LTS releases (every two years).
> * Releasing only in English, at least until we have a better infrastructure for translations
> Let me react on this as a translator (Dutch). I totally agree with your proposal to release the manual once a year, or even only for the LTS versions.
> Hannie
> I agree too as translator (Galician). Manual only for LTS is sufficient, and gives a window time for capitalize the effort.
> Antón
> ===============
> Am 05.11.2010 11:46, schrieb Chris Woollard: 
>> In addition to the LTS manual, it might be worth doing a New Features guide every release that just contains changes since the LTS. Obviously this would be a lot shorter than a full manual release, so should be easier to do. Maybe just containing an updated installation chapter and a chapter about other new features. Considering that with 11.04 the default interface is changing to unity, it might be useful. 
>> Let me know what you think? 
> great idea! We just should consider to have a new manual for major differences to previous released versions. If "nothing important" changed, we don't need a new manual.
> Jonas
> =============
> Op 05-11-10 22:53, Michael Kotsarinis schreef:
>> On Friday, November 5th there was a meeting in IRC (#ubuntu-manual). It was decided to start a new thread regarding manual's translations.
>> Some of the issues are:
>>  - When to release translations relatively to original's release
> It looks as if translators are in favour of one version a year (or every 2 years), while authors prefer a new version ever 6 months. I think Jonas's suggestion of making a New Features guide is a good one, that is between two LTS versions.
>>  - Can translators work at the same time the original is written and if yes how should we setup a kind of "freeze" for finished chapters
> As soon as a chapter is finished it can be put on LP for translators to start translating it. Even if there are still some minor changes coming, the major part of the text can be translated on time.
>>  - How can authors help translators.
> My experience as a translator and editor of the the Dutch translation is that I always get good and immediate help on #ubuntu-manual and via the list (thank you, Kevin and Ryan). Apart from this there is a lot of information on the internet:
> http://ubuntu-manual.org/getinvolved/authors#install-tl2009
> http://pad.ubuntu-uk.org/translationtodo
> https://wiki.ubuntu.com/ubuntu-manual/StyleGuide
> [PDF]Ubuntu Manual Style Guide PDF/Adobe Acrobat KEVIN GODBY. UBUNTU MANUAL STYLE GUIDE ..... To compile a translation, run: make ubuntu-manual-<lang>.pdf where. <lang> is the language code (see the po/ ...
> files.ubuntu-manual.org/style-guide.pdf
>> Feel free to comment, add or raise new issues relative to manual's translations.
> I hope my comment is not too lengthy.
> Regards,
> Hannie Dumoleyn
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