Re: Translators needed?

Vincente Aggrippino vaggrippino at
Fri Feb 2 23:00:36 CET 2007

I'm coming into this conversation late, as I just joined the mailing
list, but I think I can offer a more general perspective on

My wife, and many of her colleagues, are not native English speakers.
They are all highly educated (PhD) and, among the entire group, speak
several languages including English, Malay, Mandarin, Kadazan,
Tagalog, Japanese, Arabic, Spanish, French, German, Hindi, Tamil, and
Russian.  As you might have guessed, my wife is a linguist at a major

My enthusiasm towards Open Source Software has at least piqued their
curiosity and I've brought up the idea of translation.  Some of them
would be willing to consider doing voluntary translation for products
that would benefit less-advantaged kids.  The context for my
discussion was, but would easily apply to other

The point I'm getting at is that I don't think there are many
professional translators, but there are many people with the same
qualifications.  They just didn't choose to become translators.

On 2/2/07, Marnix Klooster <marnix.klooster at> wrote:
> Op 31-01-07 15:22, Robert Michel schreef:
> > Salve Engin!
> >
> > On Wed, 31 Jan 2007, Engin Erenturk wrote:
> >
> >> In my opinion the translations must be done professionally for such a product like this. Instead of volunteers who are not professionals, volunteers who are professionals and volunteer who can provide a professional translation must localize this product. I localized RSSOwl into Turkish, and I gathered 3 of my friends and discussed every one of the phrases translated. But in the end it is not like a professional translation. It's very important to give the same meaning of the sentence in the localized language instead of pure translation. Sometimes it is very hard to do such a thing. The best example is the Microsoft products, even I don't support or like them, they did great job in localization... They got a big book of meanings of words/phrases which are used in Microsoft products, books etc. If someone wants to do a translation for the books etc. they gave this didctionary to them to use it as reference dictionary... As I said if there are volunteers who are
> >>  professionsals and who can localize it with professionals must be found... I'll try to get in touch with a professional translator who is experienced in technical translations if there is a need for Turkish localization.
> >
> > I would like to disagre. Open translation has the big
> > advantage that people could give feedback about the
> > translations - many opensource projects include the
> > wikipedia are working without the support of professional
> > translators.
> >
> > Getting in touch with professional translators would help
> > in some rar cases of doubts/dispute. IMHO more important
> > is that the people who translate does know what the software
> > device do at that moment.
> Hi Rob,
> First, as Engin already wrote in another response I think, "open" and
> "professional" are not opposites.  His suggestion is, if I understood
> him correctly, to find volunteers who are already software translators
> professionally.
> Also, yes you are correct that "many opensource projects [...] are
> working without the support of professional translators."
> And it shows.
> I absolutely do not intend any disrespect with that-- I'm really very
> grateful to the people (volunteers mostly) who make OpenOffice, GNOME,
> Evolution, Thunderbird, Firefox, etc. etc. available in Dutch on my home
> Linux box, so that also my wife can use the system comfortably.
> However, there definitely are many problems: inconsistencies between
> applications, inconsistencies with Microsoft software (yes,
> unfortunately this is important), different views of translators (most
> keep the English "website", some translate it to the horrendous
> neologism "webplek"), missing translations because the translation could
> not keep up with new releases of the application, etc.
> Such problems are minor, in the sense that they usually do not block
> understanding of what is going on, what should I do next, etc.  But they
> make the experience less polished and more botched.  And for a device
> that we want in lots of non-developer hands, we need polish.
> Translation is a thing that Microsoft does really well, as far as I've
> seen.  In my opinion, the officially-blessed-by-OpenMoko software feed
> also should aim for a high level of translation quality, consistency,
> and completeness.
> So again, professional volunteers are welcome :-)
> Groetjes,
>   <><
> Marnix
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