Re: Translations, GNOME and KDE

sön 2004-01-04 klockan 18.52 skrev Luis Villa:
> > > 2-Reduce the pos to only UI visable strings, no normal user will take a
> > > look at Debug strings and so speak with coders about which strings to
> > > include on the pos and which not...
> > 
> > Possibly controversial, but not something I'll get into. ;-)
> FWIW, I don't think this should be controversial at all. Coders who
> don't know English are already in a deep hole, and debug string in a
> foreign language reported to english-speaking hackers or (worse) into
> bugzilla are of virtually no use. If it goes to console, it should never
> be marked for translation (IMHO.)

I think this is controversial¹, because in my experience, people always
have different opinions on what a "debug message" really is. Some
developers consider a "debug message" to be a message that is just there
for debugging purposes and would be incomprehensible to any other
technical person that wouldn't have looked at the code in question,
while some other developers consider "debug messages" to be any message
of more technical nature that they believe "mom and pop" type of users
wouldn't understand. These cases may be very different, and it's very
unfortunate to lump them all together in the "debug message" category,
at least for deciding whether to translate them or not.

As fictive examples of the first category we could have "Entered
do_funcy_stuff () loop..." or "Division by zero when calculating
sector_size variable". Messages like this are clearly debuggy to their
nature, and are most likely useful to noone but the very developers
themselves. As such, they shouldn't be marked for translation.

As examples of the second category we could have "Couldn't read the
media -- make sure the appropriate kernel modules are loaded", "The
device couldn't be mounted writable because of a NFS permission issue",
"Call to cdrecord returned with an error", or "apm wasn't found".
You can probably think of better examples -- my point is that messages
of technical nature, spit out on the console, are not always usable only
for the developers when debugging, but may sometimes help other
technically minded people to resolve an issue themselves.
As such, these messages *should* be marked for translation, since in
many places in the world being technical and skilled with administering
computers, and having the best grades possible in technical English,
isn't necessarily the same -- or rather, to be honest, it's often very
far from being the same².

In fact, I myself believe the success of Windows on workplaces all over
the world to be in fact partly due to Microsoft translating all error
messages everywhere (assuming it's a Microsoft supported language of
course). Microsoft has realised that a key to getting software into
businesses is low training costs and thus cheap personnel. That makes
translation for everything a must, including stuff intended for admins
and tech people, since people highly skilled in technical English often
isn't easy to find, let alone at a low cost. Cheap personnel is to be
taken from the general population, and if English skills of the general
population leaves something to be desired, there's not much to do about
it other than choosing software adopted to it, both in the user sense
and in the admin sense, and all other senses possible aswell.

If maintainers are worried about getting useless bug reports, then they
can use error codes, and still have the descriptive piece of the debug
message be translated. And yes, I'm advocating the usability for users
and admins over the convenience for developers, but that's just the way
I am. ;-)


¹ This is one of the main things I wanted to clarify in the future on
² I'll be the first one to testify that.

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