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: , , ,

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: , ,

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: , , ,

Coming to a wiki near you!

UserBase Logo

A week ago Translate came to Techbase.  Since then we have been busy adding pages to help you get started, complete with a bunch of sidebar links. At the moment there are just 23 pages ready for translation.  How many more pages get translated is really up to you.

Why would you care?

TechBase gets some 65,000 unique visitors each month (UserBase gets ~100,000) – and yes, they are genuine visitors.  65,000 visitors don’t drop in just to pass the time – they come in for information, and you can safely bet that a large proportion are not native English speakers.  Yes, the TechBase content is different from that on UserBase, in that much of it is written entirely for contributors to specific projects, but I’d guess that even within projects there are people with a variety of languages – and you can’t guess which language your next volunteer contributor will speak.

What is most needed?

It’s difficult for me to say, but I’d suggest that some areas that should be considered early are

  • How to build packages to use within your distro
  • How to build a development environment

After that, projects could check their own project pages, updating where necessary.  Bear in mind, all the time, that those pages could be an invitation to new developers.  Are they accurate?  Are they attractive?  Many of you are happy writing Mediawiki code.  If you are not, ask for markup help, but get the bones of the matter down in any readable form.  When you are happy that your pages are ready for translation, let us know, either on kde-www@kde.org or on #kde-www.

At the moment TechBase falls short of the quality we would want newcomers to see.  Let’s do something about it.  Let’s make it a goal to get a body of registered translators before Desktop Summit.  If a BoF at DS would help, say so and we’ll do it.

Which pages would be your priority?

Written by annew in: Uncategorized | Tags: , ,

Translation Teams for UserBase

I promised to nag you about UserBase, and here we are, already in April, and I haven’t said a word. Yet.

New content on UserBase is still slow to arrive, but we’ll talk about that another day. Today I’m looking at the position on translations.

If you haven’t looked lately, you will be surprised to hear that our landing page, Welcome_to_KDE_UserBase, is already translated into 30 languages. Sadly, I can’t say the same about any other page. Still, it’s not all gloom – there is some nice news too. Following the suggestion of a member of our localisation team, we have begun the creation of Translation Teams. This is in the very early stages, but the idea is that Team Leaders will keep an eye on any work done in their language, and provide any guidelines that are language-specific, so that a standard can be maintained. So far we have nine volunteers (some, army-style volunteered, I’ll admit 🙂 ) and although their teams are very small at the moment, we hope to make more people active in this field. 131 people have registered to do some translation, so there is plenty of room for growth in output.

We now have 392 pages within the translation system. Let’s see how some of the languages are faring. These statistics reflect the number of pages that are wholly or partly translated to the language.

Top of the league are Ukrainian and Danish, with all 392 pages translated. Yurchor and Claus_chr have been working hard for us since we first launched the system, and deserve a medal each. After that, there are:

    Italian 297
    Spanish 255
    Chinese (China) 183
    Taiwanese 155
    German 144
    French 117
    Russian 108
    Catalan 92
    Brazilian Portuguese 86
    Dutch 64
    Romanian 59
    Turkish 40
    Japanese 32
    Indonesian 31
    Polish 28
    Rusyn 21
    Portuguese 20
    Swedish 18
    Galician 17
    Czech 15
    Finnish 14
    Simplified Chinese 8
    Korean 3
    Bosnian 3
    Esperanto 2
    Hungarian 1
    Slovak 1

Surprised at some of these numbers? I was.  Pleasingly, I’m seeing good growth in Italian, Spanish, Chinese and Taiwanese (one man doing both language variants) and Catalan, but some of the other languages are surprisingly slow.

As always, if you have questions about helping, join us on IRC, #kde-www, or simply leave a message for me on my UserBase Talk page.

Written by annew in: KDE | Tags: , ,

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