Re: Improving things for translators

On Thu, 2008-03-13 at 14:26 +0100, Vincent Untz wrote:
> Le jeudi 13 mars 2008, à 13:56 +0100, Kenneth Nielsen a écrit :
> > > One last item is that more and more teams are now able to translate the
> > > documentation, but it's very hard since it's not frozen and can change
> > > at the very last minute. Claude suggested on IRC that we add a new
> > > documentation freeze for translators: the freeze would start the
> > > week-end before the .0 release. This way the documentation can still be
> > > updated during the last week before the release and translators have a
> > > few days to update the translations. I think it'd make sense to lift the
> > > freeze after the .0 release (so documentation can still be updated
> > > between .0 and .1) and enforce it again the week-end before the .1
> > > release, and so on.
> > >
> > > Any comment about this proposal?
> > >
> > > Vincent
> > >
> > Sound great. Maybe a bit more than one week would be nice. If we make it
> > two weeks then we split the UI-string freeze period in two. Essentially
> > giving developers 2 weeks (to update documentation) and translators 2 week
> > to update them. Would that be acceptable to developers ?
> > Regards Kenneth Nielsen
> It won't work: the documentation is not written by developers, but by
> the documentation team. And they need more time to update all the
> documentation in GNOME. If we want to freeze the documentation, it can
> only be for a very short time at the end of the cycle.

Indeed.  Documentation writing doesn't really heat up
until after the feature freeze, which is roughly half
way through our release cycle.  That leaves the team
three months to update all the documentation.  Factor
in these facts:

1) Our documentation is out of date, sometimes by as
much as a few years.  We're still trying to clear the
backlog, so to speak, which makes for an even heavier
workload.  If we ever caught up, we'd be in a better
position to make future updates in a timely manner.

2) The desktop release contains 86 documents.  Some
of them are smallish, but some of them are huge.  We
add new modules with every release.

3) We have almost no active writers at the moment.
Virtually all updates are those that Ubuntu sends
upstream.  I'm way too busy being a hacker to be
a writer.

My long-standing policy on documentation freezes is
that it's something we want to do at some point, but
we're not in a position to do it right now.  We need
every last second we can get to do documentation.

What I would prefer to do, at least initially, is to
implement voluntary freezes on documentation.  With
Pulse (cue dramatic music) we could extract various
bits of metadata about status, reviews, and readiness
for translation from our documents.  Then translators
could look at Pulse to see which documents are worth
devoting time to, and which are going to change out
from underneath them.  Whenever we finish a document
(cue laughter), we'd mark it as such, and translators
would know.

Having fully translated documentation is of no use if
what was translated was crap to begin with.  Garbage
in, garbage out.


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