The disadvantege of language packs in Ubuntu

I’ve encounterd a bug in launchpad about adding a new gnucash translation to the Hebrew language pack. Nothing out of the ordinary excepts that for every upstream translation update you should file a bug to update the language pack.

A new Hebrew tranlation was released in version 2.2.6 as part of the upstream release. In Debian the new translation appeared with the sources, but in Ubuntu, the translation is lost since it’s not in Rosetta.

As I see it, such translations are falling between the chairs, since upstream won’t check the distribution for each translations, and the users don’t check upstream’s changelog for translation changes (and only major translation changes appear on the changelog).

Another issue, the the need for Ubuntu to duplicate translation into Rosseta, although they come only from upstream (like in this case). I seems to me as a waste of time, and something that only creates problems. After such an import you can easy find an old transation ships in parallel to newer sources. What happens if many strings changes in the source ? You get many strings in English…

8 Comments

Filed under Debian GNU/Linux, i18n & l10n, QA stuff, Ubuntu

8 responses to “The disadvantege of language packs in Ubuntu

  1. foo

    This has been known about for years, sad to see Ubuntu still hasn’t fixed their translations model.

  2. This will be a key component of how TDebs will be handled in Debian, precisely to avoid this kind of problem by retaining the link between TDebs and upstream changes. Whatever methods the i18n team devise to update translations, updates must and will be available to maintainers to fold into the Debian package at the next upstream release. The important thing is that translations can be updated without requiring a new maintainer upload which has knock-on consequences for binary transitions, testing migrations, release cycles etc. Once Lenny is released, the code to support these aims will be gradually added for Squeeze and TDebs mandatory for Squeeze + 1.
    http://wiki.debian.org/i18n/TranslationDebsDebconfMeeting

  3. Rosetta has many many disadvantages, such as the very poor quality of many translations, the inconsistencies between the GUIs and the manuals, since Rosetta doesn’t handle the manuals, therefore some users translate buttons or menu actions differently from upstream, but they don’t translate nor change the manual, so the user experience turns poor.

  4. Alexander Toresson

    I’m the main author of the upstream swedish translation of Xfce. I’ve been slightly bitten by this too: often people change or improve translations in Rosetta and then never get the changes upstream.
    I’ve actually created myself an account (or well, I actually got an account in launchpad automatically, and had to authenticate myself as the owner of it) in launchpad so I can export translations from there — but the process is horrible.
    From what I remember, you request the translations for a module to be exported to a .po file, then you get a mail sent to you containing a link to it, or some equally bizarre procedure.
    I guess this would be the wrong forum, but automatic submitting of translations to upstream could be an idea.

  5. Mark

    As i commented in the bug you mentioned, it’s just a misunderstanding.

    There’s nothing wrong with using language packs, the problem is the ubuntu makes them:
    *many translation on Rosetta are not updated very often and just stay outdated for a long time (might be forever) even if the upstream was updated
    *crap like this: https://lists.ubuntu.com/archives/ubuntu-translators/2008-September/001677.html
    *some translations files are located in the wrong(!) language packs (firefox for example)
    *there are way too many language packs

  6. Mark – Firefox known to be a problem on Ubuntu, and as far as I know for some languages (Hebrew at least) you’ll end up with English Firefox even if you are using another locale. When people come and ask me how to make their Firefox in Hebrew, the best solution I see is to use the language pack provided by Mozilla, and not the language files packaged by Ubuntu. Very stupid, indeed, and I hope people will get better experience in the upcoming Ubuntu release this month.

  7. Pingback: Why ubuntu sucks in keeping the distribution in good shape? « Free Software, the Universe and Everything

  8. Plus ubuntu rosetta translations are not copy left protected

    AFAIU for all strings you add or import to rosetta you need to release them from the upstream the license.

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