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: , , ,

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: , , ,

Today, Tomorrow and Beyond…. – Part 1

This week I was asked whether it was possible to draw statistics on the status of translations of UserBase pages.  In fact it’s very easy to see the status of languages on specific pages.  The language bar shows, beside each language name, a small box, indicating roughly the status.  Hover over it and you will see what percentage of “strings” or “messages” have been translated into that language.  This, though, was not what the speaker was looking for.  If there is any way of getting a status report for every page in every language, I haven’t found it.  When you consider how big that would be, it probably isn’t even sensible to look for it.  Meanwhile, though, I do have some interesting stats for you.  All the stats were gathered on the 28th July.

First we have the four most active languages over the past month:

Of course those four are not the only ones with a good score of contribution.  Here is the Roll of Honour:


The Roll of Honor

You’d think that the languages with the highest number of translated strings might have a large team – and you couldn’t be more wrong.  Team size has little correlation with output, as the next table shows:

Number in Translation Team

Of course, a more realistic measure of activity is to look at how recently the work was done:

Days since the last edit of a language

Worryingly, though, look at the reverse of that:

Have we lost these translators?

So – Where are we Now?

While there is always room for more, I’m happy that we are steadily increasing our translations on UserBase.  On Techbase, the system is still very new, and before it can be as useful as we would like there needs to be some concensus as to which pages can usefully be translated.  I suspect that a glance at the footer, where the “last edited” date is visible, would give some clear hints for some pages, yet there are others where what was written five years ago is still valid and needs no change.  Clearly, then, only the people who know a particular project or process can make that decision.

We have made considerable effort to get a useful system.  For instance, the markup described in our help pages has grown out of long discussions with Blueck and Yurchor, and at times other translators too.

  • The system happily allows translators to work with the off-line tools that are familiar, if that is the wish.
  • We have a HowTo for ensuring that your pages are capable of being created in Docbook format at http://userbase.kde.org/How_To_Convert_a_UserBase_Manual_to_Docbook
  • We are close to having a customisable “Create a Book” where the user can select the pages that are helpful to his own interests and create a .pdf format booklet.

The Next Step?

Read Part 2!

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

Congratulations, Translatewiki

As many of you know, Translatewiki is a Mediawiki extension, used by UserBase.  Today’s newsletter announces its 6th birthday!

We are 6 years young!

Translatewiki.net was started as a small addition to a test wiki of NiklasLaxström. First the project became known as Betawiki until it matured andbecame translatewiki.net. We are grateful that our project is hosted forfree and given room to grow by netcup.de <http://netcup.de> . The platformnow supports localisation for 20 free and open source projects with almost1,000 message groups, has 2,500 translators in over 200 languages. Its usershave made over 3 million edits and contributed close to 2 milliontranslations for Free and Open Source Software products. According to thes23 statistics, translatewiki.net is one of the largest independentMediaWiki installations around.

Impressive indeed!  What’s more, ??Niklas Laxström gives freely of his help and advice.  Many of you will know him as Nikerabbit, on IRC, and others will remember Niklas and Siebrand Mazeland from Akademy 2010.

Congratulations to the Translatewiki team – keep up the good work 🙂   See you at the WebWorld sprint, Niklas.


Written by annew in: KDE | Tags: , ,

Do you know someone who reads and writes Arabic?

”’?? ??? ????? ?? ??? ???? ?? ?????? ??????”’

”’?? ?????? ??????? ????? ??? ???????? ?? ???”’
”’??????? ?????? ????? ?? ???? ???? ??? ???? ???????”’
”’?? ???? ?????? ???? ??? ??? ???????”’
”’TheRiLi – ????? ?????? ??????”’
”’???? ?????? ?????”’

If your browser doesn’t display the Arabic, or you simply don’t read Arabic, Google tells me that this says:
‘Are you a translator or do you understand the other languages”’

”’Provide Content for the Arabs and take in the races that”’
”’Arabic content increase in the richness of your language of love and peace”’
”’Be gentleman and in the evening and provided us with these pages”’
”’TheRiLi – Arab Society for Linux”’
”’Will be back later”’

Early in 2009 someone translated some pages of UserBase into Arabic. Unfortunately (s)he did so as an unregistered user (which we no longer allow) and so we have no way of contacting him (the main reason for disallowing the practice). To my untutored eye, much of what is there is probably still valid, but there are updates and corrections needed. I’m reluctant to lose this work, which could easily be copied and pasted into the new Translate system, but it really needs someone capable of spotting the things that are no longer quite right and correcting them.

If you know someone who may be willing to help it could either be directly translating into UserBase (and I will provide links to the old pages) or by telling me to delete paragraph “da-di-dah” and substitute “da-di-dah-di-dah”. There are always ways and means – we just need a little skilled help Smile

Written by annew in: Uncategorized | Tags: , ,

How easily can you read UserBase?

If you speak Ukranian or Danish, excellently.  If you speak Chinese or Italian, quite a lot of pages.  Brazilian Portuguese, German and Spanish are beginning to make real progress.  If none of those are your language, there are very few pages translated.  To see how your language is faring, go to the Language Statistics page and enter your ISO_639-2 code

We now have 79 members registered to translate on UserBase, though only a fraction of that number is working regularly on translations.  For the top group, though, the figures are staggering.  In the last week for instance:

  • Yurchor has touched 788 pages, making 1455 changes
  • MarcusGama has touched 768 pages, with 1416 changes
  • Claus_chr has touched 764 pages with 1454 pages!

Not everyone can manage so much time and speed, but that doesn’t stop some people.  These people have also been very active

  • Qiii2006 made 402 changes
  • Caig made 425
  • Sordon made 123 and
  • Nilli made 132.

while others have made fewer but equally valued contributions. This is the translation activity for the last 21 days:
Active Translators, 21 days

Maybe you have an hour or two with nothing pressing to do?  You can easily get started.  There’s plenty of help available in our Tasks and Tools page.

By now we have completed the transfer of most existing translated pages to the new system, but there are a few glitches.  Where we don’t have a registered translator for a language, the only options are to lose the translation or to copy and paste it into the new sections.  For some languages that’s a feasible option – you only need to know enough to recognise whether a paragraph is matching the English one in content, but what if the language is a non-latin-character one?  I met one such this week.  One page has only a single translation in the old system, but that translation is Arabic.  I know by the structure that it matches most of what’s on the English page, but I’m sure that some bits are missing.  I really need help from someone who can sort that out for me.  It’s not a long page and I’d guess that someone with the right skills could do the whole thing in less than half an hour.

Other skills are needed too – php, css, database-query to name a few.  We have people with all these skills, but too small a team puts too much pressure on a few people.  What is really needed is a group for each task, maybe three or four, so that no-one is being pressured when he has other things to do.  If you can help, please come to Freenode’s #kde-www and talk to us.  You’ll get a warm welcome, I guaranteeSmile

Written by annew in: KDE | Tags: , ,

Fast-moving progress with Page Translation

There has been a remarkably fast take-up of the new system, as shown by this graph:

Inevitably we have met a few glitches.  The developers have already fixed a few problems for us, but some of the problems need an awareness when preparing pages for translation.  For the moment we would ask you to read http://userbase.kde.org/Translation_Workflow regularly, to see if new points have been added, and to follow the discussions of other issues on the associated Discussion page.

Soon we will distill the feedback into a Best Practices page, similar to our guidance on PageLayout.  With rapid feedback from translators and the extension developers this should be available in just a few days.

To get a translator account, please email me with your UserBase username, and mention the language(s) you will be using.

Written by annew in: Uncategorized | Tags: , ,

Supporting Users

I haven’t talked about UserBase for a while, but it’s still actively growing.  We now have 749 pages of content, not counting discussion pages.  I suspect that a lot of the recent growth is down to the efforts of Claus_chr, Qiii2006 and Yurchor, who have all been busily translating and they’ve recently been joined by Alisha and Caig.

The other good news is that we have had more than 1.33 million views of UserBase pages – something to be proud of.  We now have 500 registered users, but nowhere near that number actively contributing.  However, I’ve decided that from time to time I’ll publish the list of top 10 contributors.  So here is the first edition:

Over the last 7 days –
Score      Pages      Changes    Username
49           46            48               Claus chr
34           26            41               Alisha
30           23             37              Qiii2006
25           19             27              Yurchor
14           10            14               Annew
13             1            38               Hans
10             8              9               Caig
09             5              9               Membrive
07             4             6               The madman
01             1             1               ThorstenStaerk
01             1             1                Gdebure

Yes, I know that’s eleven, but it wouldn’t be fair to separate the last two.  An Overall Top Ten contribution list would contain mostly the same names.  You can see from the list above that it wouldn’t take much to get you into the week’s top ten.  Let’s see if the list is noticeably different next time I write.

Unfortunately, there are still a number of applications for which we have little or no information.  Let’s see whether, during October, we can complete the list of entries for the Applications/Internet section.  We need pages for Choqok, Blogilo, KRDC, Krfb, KVpnc, and Kdebluetooth.  If you are not confident with mediawiki markup and want help, you can find me (annew) on IRC most days.

Last month I was asked to jointly moderate the Office & Productivity forum, which of course has led to me spending more time in the forums than I had done previously.  I’ve never been a forum-lover, but I’m impressed with this forum.  It does seem much more pleasant and helpful than forums I’ve visited in the past.  I’ve been giving user support on mailing lists for several years, and for the first time I’m seriously thinking of leaving them.  After a year where I’ve watched general manners and behaviour deteriorate to downright rudeness it has, thankfully, quietened down.  That’s the good news.  The bad news is that almost every distro-related list seems to be full of bike-shedding now.  There are few questions where I can help, and I wonder if I can justify the time given, for so little result.

One last thing – this week I have converted the desktops of two non-tech users to KDE 4.2.  They both use Mandriva, so I hope to get them on 4.3 next month, when Mandriva 2010 comes out.  One of the users is still on holiday, so I’ll have to wait for reaction there.  The other user just carried on using the same few apps as always, and apart from a small panic about where to find the shutdown button (his first look at kickoff, and didn’t immediately see that it was tabbed), had no reaction at all.  The other user is a little more demanding, so likely to have more questions.  The next couple of weeks should be interesting.

Written by annew in: KDE | Tags: ,

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