Re: [gnome-cy] Kartouche (a possible translation aid) - request for feedback

Hi Rhoslyn

Your fame precedes you - nice to hear from you.  Sorry for the long post, but 
some of your points surprised me :-)

On Saturday 22 February 2003 5:56 pm, Rhoslyn Prys wrote:
> Kevin Donnelly wrote:
> >For a few months we have been trying to carry on the good work started by
> >Elfed Lewis in translating KDE into Welsh.
> I'm still awaiting Elfed's response to the work done by myself in
> translating major parts of KDE two years ago  using standardised terms
> based on Cysill and Y Termiadur Ysgol.... Most of the work on KDE could
> have been accomplished by now...  Please give credit to those who have
> worked on this task.

Er, and I would have known this how?  Elfed and I independently decided to 
look at translating KDE around the time of the 1999 Eisteddfod, but he had 
already applied to become co-ordinator.  Although I did email Elfed quite 
often over the next 12-18 months on what position he had reached, he wasn't 
very forthcoming on what was happening, let alone who was contributing.  I 
have to say that the impression he gave me was that he had laboured through 
most of kdelibs himself - I don't know what the true historical position is, 
because I'm not telepathic, I'm afraid (although that will now be my next 
project :-).  

Thomas Diehl, the co-ordinator on KDE i18n, had in fact classified the Welsh 
translation as unmaintained, until Elfed agreed with my suggestion 6 months 
ago that I should take it over, since he was too busy to do any work on it.  
I have the emails to prove all this (honest!), and you can also check with 
Dewi, to whom some were copied, since we had earlier (2000) talked about the 
Moz translation, which, thanks to him, you (and possibly others?) is now 
virtually complete.  

I understand that you personally have done a great deal of work on various 
items, and that will be reflected on another page about existing free 
software in Welsh which is not up on the site yet (since I'm busy writing the 
manual for the downloadable version :-).  But the basic problem with KDE in 
Welsh previously was that the input system was not transparent, it involved 
faffing about with various things on your PC, and there was no feedback (as 
you note yourself).  That is now in process of being sorted.  And there is a 
need to bring a greater number of "translators" (ie interested Welsh-speakers 
or learners, even if they are not professional translators) on board, to open 
up the whole area beyond a small number of people and ensure that committed 
volunteers like yourself are not overstretched.  That is what Kartouche and 
K/100 is all about, and I think it's a good idea, and not before time. 

It's also worth remembering that the initial translation, although a major 
achievement, is not the end of the matter - translations must be kept current 
with the ceaseless improvement going on in free software, and that is 
actually a more difficult task.  Some of the current Welsh translations are 
in fact not ... 

> This sounds like a good idea, see also  Dewi Jones's MTT/L10nzilla
> translator for Mozilla/Gwe-lywiwr.
> Please note that there are other programs as well: Gtranslator and
> poEdit  - poEdit certaily opened the cy-po file.

Indeed - I'm not saying that there is anything wrong with any of the existing 
tools, but you can never have too many tools!  All of these are PC-based, and 
the main aim of Kartouche was to create a distributed (net-aware) resource.  
Apparently there has been recent discussion on the KBabel list about doing 
precisely this - Kartouche will give people there something to build on, 
criticise the shortcomings of ... whatever.  "Let a hundred flowers blossom, 
let a hundred schools of thought contend", to hijack a quote from a 
well-known person not committed to the ideals of freedom.

> I would suggest that you do not use K as letter within a term for a
> Welsh language tool, it may have been used in the middle ages but not in
> modern Welsh and will be viewed as an anglicized term and therefore
> negatively.

But it's so Kool that I have to.  I think young people especially may be more 
attracted to something that is not too "purist".  Free software, above all, 
is fun - gofynna i fy mab, sydd wedi newydd gorffen prosiect i'r Urdd yn 
defnyddio 'mond meddalwedd rhydd - mae'n ffan mawr o KGeo rwan.

>>date, as you can see, we are planning a "translation campaign" - Kyfieithu 
>>mewn Kant, or K/100 - which will not only expand the number of translators 
>>(we hope!), but will also raise awareness of GNU/Linux and KDE in Wales. 
> Excellent,  see also and where there
> are programs that have been translated and are available - Mozilla,
> Netscape, Abiword, K-meleon, Opera, Linux-Mandrake, Winamp, CDex,
> LeechGet, IZArc. OpenOffice is in the process of being translated..
>  Please give them attention...

Yes indeed - see above.  But I think this also underlines what I said about 
the need to get some publicity or central awareness about what HAS been done 
to date, especially if we want to try moving free software into schools or 
the public sector.  It may be that the translation "summit" that was earlier 
mooted on this list would be useful in terms of planning not just 
translations, but also a publicity programme.  Central to this, of course, is 
the need to make things as simple as possible for people who are not using 
PCs every day, and don't want to go too much into the innards of things.  
Dewi and I have also talked about remastering Knoppix to include all the 
existing Welsh stuff on it, to give an easy-to-use "taster" for people - any 
views?  You might also want to look at, which we 
have just launched (next meeting 10 March, if you're interested) - this might 
be a useful way of ensnaring more people as actual users, who can then spread 
the word.

>>My wife (who is a first-language 
>>Welsh-speaker) thinks the response will be minuscule, but I (as an Irishman) 
>>live in hope ...
> No doubt she is right, unfortunately.

But see "Ouch" ff. below ....

> > KDE version - the planned translation campaign would start with those
> > (around 4,200 strings out of the total of about 57,800),
> I've translated much of those already...

Then those will be up there, along with the ones I added myself before I 
concluded that there must be a better way.

> Please correct the mistranslations and miss-spelling on this page...

Ouch!  Now that's not nice :-(  Please see bottom of Kyfieithu's front-page - 
Welsh version only.  Would you rather there wasn't a Welsh page at all?  I'm  
just part of that group of Welsh-speakers by choice rather than birth who 
like to support Welsh, but who (in common with a lot of ordinary 
first-language Welsh speakers, I might add) think they don't speak it well 
enough.  However, I don't believe Welsh is or should be the preserve of a 
small (and decreasing) number of "keepers of the flame".  Incidentally, I did 
have a first-language Welsh-speaker look at this initial draft, and it was 
OK'ed (so her Welsh obviously isn't up to much either!).  Before the final 
launch I hope to have a professional Welsh translator look at it as well.  
Perhaps they will mistranslate too ... :-(

> The trick here is to use standardised and well known terms - it's not
> really a democratic process.

We are talking about free software here, aren't we?  How can you seek to 
involve more people in translating and using free software if there isn't an 
element of openness involved?  You can't complain about no-one doing any 
translating in the one breath, and then criticise anything done towards that 
in the other, without seeming at best inconsistent and at worst elitist.  
There may a balance to be struck between involving people whose Welsh is not 
perfect and having a certain standard of academic Welsh in the final product 
- we almost certainly differ on where to place that balance in the short 
term, but both aspects are not mutually exclusive.  I believe (based on 
earlier experiences in the voluntary sector here) that we need to broaden the 
appeal and *then* deepen the quality - you would probably place the emphasis 
the other way around.

> I wish you well with the production of the software I'm sure it will be
> useful for the production of translation of .po files for the Welsh
> language and hopefully many languages across the world.

:-) Thank you - the KDE Latin team (yes, it does exist!) is certainly very 

> What gets me upset is talk and no action, and KDE has been a classic
> example of this. Creating a useful tool will not create a translation of
> KDE... Most of the terms for translating software into Welsh are already
> available in Cysgair and Y Termiadur Ysgol, others (the minority) are
> available from the Gwelywiwr site, or as .po files from the Linux
> Mandrake web site. Translation tools are available Kbabel, Gtranslator
> and poEdit and open source software producers are more than pleased to
> add another language to their programs. My request to people is, please
> _get on with i_t and stop messing about. If you prefer messing, please
> allow others to see that there is work to be done - the Welsh language
> cannot wait...

Well, be reasonable, mate ... KDE in Welsh now has a site, a translation tool, 
and a planned publicity campaign, along with a target date.  That's better 
than it had a couple of months ago :-).  I have never used Cysgair because I 
don't use Windows since 2 years ago, and your copy of Y Termiadur must be 
better than mine: as a linguist in an earlier life, I give it 6/10 - we can 
discuss the reasons for that off-list, if you like.

You're certainly right that tools are available - all I'm trying to do is to 
provide one that is slightly easier to use for the average man in the street, 
and it's average Dais we need if we are to spread the word about free 
software.  I don't grok your last sentence - surely it'll have to wait if we 
don't broaden the pool of translators /:-(  Anyway - where would free 
software be now if people hadn't been messing about all this time?

There's an old story about the English traveller who went to Dublin a good 
number of years ago, and saw a group of able-bodied workmen trying to pull 
down a pillar.  However, each man had a rope of his own around the pillar, 
and was hauling on it for all his worth, sometimes in direct opposition to a 
fellow on the other side.  The traveller said to the foreman, "Wouldn't it 
make more sense to attach one rope to the pillar, and get all your men to 
haul on it?"  The reply was, "Ah, sir, now where would you find 8 Irishmen 
who can pull together?"

We are all on the same team, really.

Best wishes


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