Mailinglist Archive: opensuse-translation (62 mails)

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Re: [opensuse-translation] Error messages translation
  • From: "Ladislav Michnovič" <ladislav.michnovic@xxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 24 Oct 2007 14:18:22 +0200
  • Message-id: <202bcdd90710240518m204fd53g353156ffdc1fa69d@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
2007/10/24, Stanciu-Lixandru Alec <stanciulixandru@xxxxxxxxx>:
On Wednesday 24 October 2007 12:57:49 you wrote:
Can you give an explaining example, please?
I have no idea how is the translation loosing meaning in your language.
And I don't understand Romanian.
Regards Ladislav
Let me try. NOTE: I will try to explain in square brackets the meaning of the
romanian words

File: /trunk/lcn/ro/po/

1. Original string (msgid): PANIC bad increment buffer %p pos %p ext %p
size %d res %p\n
Translated string (msgstr): PANICĂ [as in fear in case of emergency] creştere
[as in increase, no bad meaning here] greşită [best meaning for bad in this
case] tampon [as in a means or device used as a cushion against the shock of
fluctuations. The word has a meaning in IT in the phrase 'memory buffer' but
not as a standalone 'buffer']

2. Original string (msgid): Conflict 'a' and 'w' perms are mutually exclusive.
Translated string (msgstr): Conflict [the same meaning as in English] 'a'
şi 'w' permanente [here 'permanente' is a noun meaning something which has
stability, permanence and blows off the meaning of the translation in
Romanian] se exclud reciproc.

There are many more phrases/words which can loose the meaning when translated
in Romanian (I'm speaking only of error messages).
If you take into consideration that:
- there are no standards/rules in my country regarding the translation of IT
words/phrases (ex: for the mouse (pointing device) we
have 'maus' / 'şoricel' / 'mouse')
- most of the IT people have a good command of English language (even if there
is only the understanding part of it :D)
- those who use the computer for the daily use (e-mail, web browsing, gaming,
multimedia, office productivity) are trained the way monkeys are trained (you
want to do this then click here then here and then here and you have saved
your file, without of the slightest explanation of the meaning of their
- MS WIndows translation is something we have a good laugh about due to the
funny and misleading meaning
- we are trying (by translating) to make the openSUSE a friendly and usefull
OS for the Romanian people
then what shall we do? Leave the error messages as they are OR translate what
has meaning and leave the rest of them in English thus resulting in Romglish
(you know, like Spanglish :D) OR translate the way MS did and give people
another good laugh?
My vote is 65% for leaving the error messages in English and 35% for the
Romglish version.
What do you think?

The best way how to translate strings is to use a sentence which will
have the same meaning for the people regardless how you translate it.
I sometimes totally change the sentence and use a longer description
for some IT words which have no equivalent in Slovak. Then it is
understandable for non IT people who even don't understand English.
They start to feel comfortable if they don't see foreign words, even
if they don't understand everything because they lack a knowledge e.g.
what is memory controller.
But they think it speaks their language to them. And that's the point I think.

Well, it has one side effect. People who uses often English version
of the software and suddenly switch to native language just wonders
how the words are translated. They aren't familiar with it. This need
only time. We don't have such problems like mouse can be translated
three ways. Some funny mistakes appears sometimes. For example:
somebody translated RSS feeder like "RSS krmítko" [feeder, but only
for animals]. To preserve the meaning the better translation we use is
"čítačka RSS kanálov" [the reader of RSS channel] . The meaning is
similar but not the same.

I would advice you to make a wiki web page where anybody could write
a Romanian translation of IT English words to unite which words would
be used for. Involve as many (not only IT) people in your country as
you can.

BTW. the biggest problem for us is that some English words has more
meanings so it should be translated differently in one case than in
other. The result is sometimes you see a nonsense word in an


Regards Ladislav.
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