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

Kevin Donnelly wrote:

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

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 interested!

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


gnome-cy mailing list
gnome-cy pengwyn linux org uk


Thanks for your response, I understand that you are the lead person for Welsh KDE and I wish you all the best, it's great to see development within Welsh language software.

It may be useful for me to state my viewpoint on the work that I have done so far:

1. To provide a range of software in Welsh that Welsh speakers could chose to use. 2. To make the software available from the original site if possible so as to add to the international recognition of Welsh as a vibrant and modern language. 3. To provide information on these piecse of software so that people know about them and where to find them.
4. To make the software available now!

Although I am a supporter of open source software, most of the software I've translated runs in Windows. I make no appologies for this, the possibility of having software in Welsh is in it's infancy and most people are wedded to Windows. My primary aim is to show that it is possible to have software programs in Welsh, to begin the process of bringing the desktop in offices and homes into the Welsh language arena. Moving Welsh speakers on to opensource comes next.

I recognise that people may not wish to use Windows and I respect their decision, but at present the main tools for this process are only available in Windows. As a result, Linux Mandrake has been translated to Welsh using poEdit in Windows, Cysill and Y Tremiadur as well as Cysgair for spell checking and typos. I feel comfortable with this system and it works for me... The attached file gives you some idea, with this setup. I can translate c. 700 lines in an evening to a beta stage which includes translation, terminology check and spell check and typos. This does not mean they are perfect I'm an expert in miss-translation and review, and especially typos - it's all developmental stuff... for instance...

Opera v. Gwe-lywiwr

Opera was translated originally by Coleg y Drindod on a EU grant, when the grant ended so did the work. The translation was based on the shorter version of the verb - gwelwyd, caewyd, rhedir etc. Gwe-lywiwr which was translated before I took over Opera uses the longer forms wedi cael ei weld, wedi cael ei gau, etc. The feedback I've recieved so far indicates that users prefer the longer form of the verb -' I prefer Gwe-lywiwr because it's friendlier' is a common statement, even though it's more difficult to get the longer forms into the space allocated for the string.

The tone of the translation I've generally used is technical/informal and many of the terms are based on working with native speakers in Gwynedd Mon and Conwy over a 18 year period as a social worker and listening how they use particular words. Builders plumbers and electricians have been a particular useful source of terms eg. instalation - gosod save - cadw etc. The trouble is that people have a thousand reasons not to use Welsh as a medium and we need to develop an effective means of communicating wirth them - you will be aware of the Welsh translation of the New Testament by William Salesbury which preceded the translation by William Morgan in 1588. The translation was barely understandable by the Welsh people at the time while William Morgan's translation is renown for having stood the test of time. Translation is not an elitist task but we have to be aware that poor or difficult to understand communication can put people off for ever from using Welsh language software. Translating computer concepts can be difficult at the best of times and it's important to make them more understandable in Welsh than in the original. I try to do that...

Strategic aims...

I believe that a joint strategy would be useful to develop an understanding of what people are doing and to consider future possibilities.

1. Efective communication amongst contibutors on aspirations, developments and setbacks. 2. Development of a bilingual Linux 'distribution' - soon ther will be a Welsh version of OpenOffice available (by the Eisteddfod?) as well as updated versions of Gwe-lywiwr and added to Nautilus amongst others, it would really be great to be able tempt the Assembly, Health, Education, Local Authorities away from Windows. This could be a version of Koppix or DemoLinux or a locally created distribution (sorry, Alan). I'm sure we have the expertise...and it would come better from within Wales. 3. Broadband cover - I was recently invited to join the e-fro project to provide wireless broadband cover for Bethesda. Fortunately my 'fame' is well confined and it was useful to be part of this interesting development. The group is looking at the alternatives at the moment but there may be lessons to be learned for the provision of wireless broadband across Wales via satellite.

As you say were all part of the same team...


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