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Re: [ #559929] philosophy/

From: Yavor Doganov via RT
Subject: Re: [ #559929] philosophy/
Date: Tue, 30 Mar 2010 15:47:52 -0400

[ CC-ing bug-gnun as a reminder to myself ]

>     When the grace period is over, the .LANG.html is automatically
>     regenerated, replacing the old translated messages with the
>     English text from the original.  This is the effect you're
>     observing.
> This seems like a bad outcome; it means people have no translation
> rather than an old one.

I admit that this is bad, and I can explain the reasons why we took
this decision a few years ago.  It looked right at that time, but the
assumption that all active teams will remain active was way too
presumptuous and evidently, a mistake.

At the time we started rethinking the translation process, the
appearance of the site was changing rather rapidly.  Translators were
extremely frustrated because it was very hard to identify the changes
of the article's genuine text among the intensive markup diffs.

Because there was no confidence that the new design will be "final"
(webmasters were changing the layout all the time), people were
reluctant to update anything, so it was a rot-rot situation, even with
a bunch of active translators available.

Additionally, when Sun released Java under a free license, we had an
avalanche of requests to update java-trap and related translations to
match reality, but obviusly we could not make changes for languages
that we do not speak and do not have a maintainer for.  (Likewise for
the release of GPLv3, which was a big event involving minor changes in
many areas of the site.)

So, it felt like a good approach to automatically rebuild
translations, replacing outdated text.  Given that it only affected
active teams (i.e. those who took the effort to migrate to GNUN), and
there's an easy way to identify which articles needed work, we were
confident that it would not be too difficult to keep up and replace
inactive team leaders if needed.  The latter part is what turned out
to be the major problem...

It is significantly easier to update translations now, and will be
even easier with next gnun release, but we still need active team
leaders to evaluate and commit translators' work (and do all the work
themselves if there are no other volunteers).


(As a side note: other internationalized sites work in a similar way,
so this is not exactly "our invention".)

> Why not leave the .LANG.html file unchanged?

Translators (and webmasters, and readers) want consistency within the
site, so it is a good thing that the translation is regenerated when
the original changes (an important notice is injected, or for indices
like philosophy/philosophy.html a link to a new article is added,

For an active team, this works nicely -- the old translation is
preserved for a month, which is more than sufficient to update it even
if the change is a major rewrite of the original article.

> It is very rare that the old text is really wrong.

True, but we are flooded with requests to update it when it happens.

> The ideal thing to do is keep the old .LANG.html and add a note at
> the top saying that it's out of date and needs updating.  That would
> be a little more work than just leaving the old .LANG.html file
> unchanged.

We'll probably end up doing this (at least for ordinary articles), and
I hope I can manage to do it soon (soon == with the next release).
We'll need to discuss it on trans-cooord-discuss with the other
translators, though, it may turn out that there's even a better

We don't have to wait to convert enough articles and change the server
setup to do this.  What makes me uneasy is that such a change in the
behavior would result in less incentive for translators to update
their translations.  We'll see.

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