Happy New Multilingual Year!

If you’ve watched Neverendingo’s awesome video you will have seen how the activity on UserBase suddenly ran wild, when the Translate extension came into being.  We regularly get new translators registering on UserBase, and more recently translators for TechBase are signing up.  It’s clear that we have a dedicated core of translators, but beyond that we had no indication of other activity.  With this in mind, I set out to investigate.


So, what do we learn from that?

  • A few dedicated people have translated a considerable number of pages to a very high degree.  Bear in mind that there is no indication of how long any translator has been working.  There is at least one example of a fairly new translator that has done a great deal of work in a short time.
  • There are a surprising number of pages translated to between 31% and 79%.
  • It appears that some translators work hard on a few pages only, maybe for a particular project.
  • Sadly, there are a few people that sign up, often for one of the less well-known languages, but do little or no translating.

It should also be noted that LTR (left-to-right) languages have not been well supported in Mediawiki, although there is some progress with this, which goes some way to explain lack of pages in those languages.

And what of TechBase?

Translation on TechBase is much newer.  It’s not always relevant to translate pages, particularly if they are written for use by a small, one-language team.  It’s encouraging, though, to see regular contributions to translations.  Here are the statistics for TechBase:

So finally, I want to thank everyone for this tremendous effort, and let’s make 2013 even greater!

And don’t forget – UserBaseLogo


Written by annew in: KDE | Tags: , , ,

Not dead, only sleeping!

It’s not quite “Goodbye!”

I’ve been very quiet for the last 6 months.  I had hoped that by now things
would have got back to normal, but it isn’t so, and there is little sign that
it will do for the foreseeable future.


Storm waves batter Blackpool Promenade

Storm waves batter Blackpool Promenade – the image that feels like my life at the moment

Early in May it became apparent that my family responsibilities were
increasing, and in fact they have increased massively so that I have little
time for any of my own interests.  As a result I’ve had to make some hard
decisions.  I’ve cut down considerably on the number of mailing lists that I
follow – that alone has made quite a difference.  Reluctantly, because I feel
guilty about it, I’ve left most of the UserBase work to Claus_chr and Yurchor.

What I have managed, and what I hope to continue to do until things change, is
regular checks for spammers on all three wikis (though Yurchor often gets there
before me!).  I’ve signed up more translators – which is great to see.  What’s
really missing is new stuff – new pages, and improvements that we planned to do over this year’.  Claus_chr is left pretty well working on his own on that level, so if you have any time to spare and are willing to work in Mediawiki,
please contact him on #kde-www or use the UserBase email facility to speak to him.

I’m still hoping that gradually things will calm down.  Who knows?  I might
even manage to keep Digikam fans up to date with Dmitri Popov’s blogs.
Whatever happens, I’m not dead, only sleeping, as the saying goes.

Written by annew in: KDE | Tags: , , ,

Any Questions?

When we added Questy Capture to our wikis the amount of spam dropped dramatically, but to be efficient we need many questions, used randomly.  We do have a few, but it would help to have a few more.  Today a single spammer hit both UserBase and TechBase.  Of course a determined human spammer is hard to defeat, but bots find this method quite difficult to beat.

A simple definition of a good question –

  • the answer must be simple enough for any interested person to know AND not language or culture dependent OR
  • the question must refer to something actually on the registration page display (which can include sidebar or footer)

Send your suggestions (including answers, multiple if appropriate)  to kde-www AT kde DOT org

Written by annew in: KDE | Tags: , ,

Moving On…

In June 2011 the Translate extension came to TechBase. Since then 51 people
have registered to translate pages, and 47 pages have been translated within
the new system.

Why the emphasis on the new system?

The old system relied on contributors manually monitoring pages in their language. There was no tool to make it easy for them to know when changes were necessary, so maintaining the pages was difficult if not impossible. The key to all this is, as Niklas and Claus said at Akademy, “Don’t waste Translators’ time!”.

Two months ago I gave warning that we would start to move things on after the
end of June. Now it’s time to ask your help in getting a leaner and meaner
TechBase, one where the information presented is correct to date, and easy to
maintain in as many languages as possible. To start the process, all the old language bars have been removed from their pages, but are, for now, available lined from http://techbase.kde.org/OldLinks

Don’t Panic!
No pages have been deleted – you can still access them

All old translated pages are still available, using the old-style address, i.e. …/Welcome_to_KDE_TechBase_(lang.code). I need you to tell me whether those pages are current and correct. This is how I propose we proceed:

  1. Identify pages which should be archived – projects now discontinued,including KDE 3 projects, whose pages are not actively used now, but should bekept for historical reasons. These will not be deleted – they will still be available by searching. They will simply have the name Archive:OldFilename.
  2. Identify pages which are so out of date and misleading, where it would be easier to delete and start afresh. If a re-write is needed, please indicate ifyou are willing to help in that.
  3. Identify pages which are good and should be translated, but do not yet have any new-style translation bar or “Translate this page” link. With such a list we can prepare those pages for translation.

To help organise this, I have created two new pages – Pages for Deletion and Pages for Translation.

With your help we can make Techbase a better place for new contributors to visit.

What happens to the old Language Bars?

Using the OldLinks pages, we can monitor how far we have got in updating the translations. Once a page’s i18n bar shows nothing but redlinks, it can be removed. It has no further purpose.

For the rest, with existing translations, any pages that are seen to have a newer translation can be deleted as obsolete. Where no newer translations currently exist, feedback on whether someone is willing to fix the translation, or even on whether the old translation is close to the current English page, would be very helpful.

Eventually we will decide that we can do no more with those old pages, and they will be deleted. This will not happen before the end of August, to give all contributors time to make decisions.

Now it’s over to you.  Let’s make TechBase the great resource it really can be.

Written by annew in: KDE | Tags: , ,

Speaking in Tongues – Part III

Still not found your niche? Here are some more possibilities.

You have translated everything available and maintenance doesn’t take much time –

Consider helping to translate the applications part of the KDE SC, or their documentation. Check on http://l10n.kde.org/teams-list.php to see if there is a translation team for your language already. Go to the team page and you will find out how to reach them. If there are any problems getting in contact with them, or if there is no team, you can always mail the central translation mailing list at kde-i18n-doc@kde.org.

You think that sounds daunting – there must be something more you can do? –

How about proof-reading translations to your own language? Sometimes a
complex sentence, on translation, doesn’t sound quite natural, or maybe it just
isn’t quite clear. Could you discuss it with the translator, helping to get a
clearer version? This is useful on the wikis, in the documentation and the messages and labels displayed in the applications.

If you are involved in translation at any level you probably know of other
tasks that users could help with. Why not add comments about those tasks? We
may have a reader that perfectly matches your need.


Written by annew in: KDE | Tags: , ,

Speaking in Tongues – Part II

In Part I I said I would tell you how you can make a difference to the way your language is represented in UserBase, without it becoming an unsustainable time-sink.  Part II looks in more detail to help you find the right slot for your contribution.

The only thing we ask is that you use natural language.  Please do not simply paste in Google Translate output.  For all that it’s very helpful when you have to read a language you don’t understand, it cannot give output that will sound natural to your readers.  Similarly, if you see an English idiom that simply doesn’t make sense when translated literally, choose some expression that represents the same idea.

So – how can you contribute?

You have very little time but might manage a few minutes tomorrow –

There is the perfect task for you.  Take a look at http://userbase.kde.org/Translation_Help_Needed and follow the link to your language.  To help get consistency we need translations for category names. Check your language list and fill in any gaps.  This doesn’t take long, but is immensely important.  However small or large the time you can spare, please take this step first.

You don’t have much time, but sometimes find yourself waiting for a download or a compile to complete –

When those times occur, take a look at http://userbase.kde.org/Special:LanguageStats/your_language_code to find pages that need some love.  It’s easy to see whether a page needs full translation or whether there has been a small change to a page that needs updating.  Click on such a pagename, and you’ll see the messages that need your attention.

Sometimes it is an untranslatable name, such as “Plasma”, in which case you simply write in the name and it will be accepted as the translation.

You have a little more time, but it’s not unlimited, and you worry that it could become so.

Adopt a project – a page or set of pages on a subject that interests you, and help keep those pages up to date.  The sidebar link “Start Translating” will show you the status of different projects

Language Statistics in UserBase

Finding the pages that need love

You love your language and want to see it well represented.  You also like working with teams.

We can tell you how to find others that have registered to work with your language.  Why not join with them in a team, share ideas with them, and make your language stats rock 🙂

The language cloud

Visualising languages represented

You are already translating and your language does not already have a language team

Consider taking up the role of team leader for your language. It doesn’t require special skills, just the resolve to keep a eye on things regularly and the desire to make your language team successful.

Once again, the link to see the status of your language –


Happy translating – see you there!

Written by annew in: KDE | Tags: , ,

Speaking in Tongues – Part I

Thanks to the translation system installed on our wikis, we are making considerable progress in ensuring that information and help is available in many languages.  We now have 223 users registered to translate, in 48 languages! In a few cases we have active translators that are willing to be Team Leaders for their language, being named as contact for new translators and also for questions about translating to that language.  They do a magnificent job, often having a dedicated page on which specific advice to their team can be given.

As you can see, new translation occurs almost every day.

Translators in June 2012

No. of Translators active during June 2012

Sadly, half of the 47 languages have very little actually translated.  To see how your language is faring, take a look at http://userbase.kde.org/Special:SupportedLanguages

Of course you’d like to help, and of course you have very little time, so how can you help?  There are many ways, according to how your available time occurs.  Whether you can spare 5 minutes now, or 30 minutes regularly, you can make a difference!  Part II tells you how.

Written by annew in: KDE | Tags: , ,

The Frustrations of Joe-User

Imagine that you are Joe-User.  You like an application but can see a lack that
should be easy to sort out.  What do you do about it?Man scratching head

In this case I was looking at Tellico and wanted to create a new report template.  The obvious place to start is the Manual – yes?  Yes, indeed, there is a good deal of information about field types etc. – so I’ll print out that chapter.  No I won’t – you can’t print out from the Manual.

I’m told that PDFs exist in KDE Help Center, so I go there.  I can’t see Tellico listed, so I put it into the search box – and get the Manual.  Back to square 1.

I’m told that if I click on the package in the left pane I can request the PDF which would allow me to print the chapter – I’d never have found that.  Wait – which package? Every package has to be listed until you find the right one, and
Tellico is in the last one. Have you given up yet?

Someone goes to a good deal of trouble to make PDFs of the manuals – and we
hide them where users can’t find them.  This is simply not good enough.  If
there is no easy way to do it in KDE Help Center, there is something, infintely
more accessible, that can be done.  Every application has its Manual in the
Help menu.  Why can’t we have a link to the PDF there as well?

Written by annew in: KDE | Tags:

Working the wikis at Desktop Summit

UserBase Logo  



What are your issues with our wikis?

What drives you mad?

What would float your boat?

Whatever the issues, come and talk to me at Desktop Summit.  I’ll be on IRC, #kde-www as much as I can be, and I’ll happily join you in a face-to-face brainstorming session for solving your wiki problems.  See you in Berlin!






Written by annew in: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , ,

Today, Tomorrow and Beyond…. – Part 2

So in Part 1 we looked at where we are now, but what of the future?

That’s where we need your help. What can we do to improve the system to meet your needs? Comments here are welcome, but I suspect that we need a greater discussion.

In the first place I’d really like to meet some people from the docbook team and some from the i18n team, together with anyone else who is interested in progressing their own projects in this way. I would suggest that we book some BoF time and space in Berlin, and have our face-to-face meeting, and it would be possible to follow that up with an IRC session so that those who can’t be in Berlin can hear about our discussions and add their input.

So, here’s the question – Are you willing to help us get things rocking? Let me know, and we’ll look for a session time.

By the way – if you are interested in exploring UserBase’s stats further, you can find the full set in a sortable table at http://userbase.kde.org/User:Annew/LangStats

Written by annew in: Uncategorized | Tags: , , ,

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