Languages

 
 
Picture of koen roggemans
Re: Status of language translations for Moodle
Group DevelopersGroup Documentation writersGroup Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup Translators

Hi Ralph

We are sharing the same concern - some of your suggestions are happening under the hood. I can add another speculation to your list: most language pack maintainers do the work voluntary in their free time. What people spent their spare time on, can change.

First contact of new translators usually goes via email with me. In our email contact we sort out some of the problems mentioned in your post, at least problems which can be sorted out. A very often asked question is indeed which files contain the strings for the students. As you know, that can't be answered. I created a translation FAQ that addresses some of the issues on http://docs.moodle.org/23/en/Translation_FAQ

There are not that many new translations started anymore - what happens the most is people taking on an abandoned language pack, which is good of course. Occasionally someone has a locally maintained language pack to share. It's a shame people maintain a local language pack, because it is a lot easier to maintain it on http://lang.moodle.org and then it is shared in one go. Being someone who likes to share work, I don't understand peoples objections against that.

But people speaking a (minority) language have their own responsibilities: if they feel the need for a language pack, if they feel the need to cooperate and share, the platform and the people to help them are here on moodle.org. Open Source software is the only way to go for having software translated in a minority language and personally I find this really important. Those 60% of poorly maintained language packs can be a starting point or a motivation for those people to get on with it.

I'm giving your idea of contacting the admins a thought, but again, it is the responsibility and the choice of the people to share their work.

Koen

 
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Picture of Ralf Hilgenstock
Re: Status of language translations for Moodle
Group DevelopersGroup Translators

Koen

two topics we should discuss:

  • Files containing strings for students
    My idea is to create a doc that gives an overview about the standard package lang files and their content and some advices for first translation. We can sort out lots of files for them and they will get quickly (good) results.
    The structure could be: file name | content of the file | visibility for students/teachers |suggestions/tips
    Some examples
    • auth_files: only admin view
    • admin.php: translate mail text strings first
    • blocks: most are very short. Translate title/name first, concentrate on blocks that are used by default if new courses are created
    • backup: only teacher
  • Priorizing several languages and giving guarantee of translation
    Moodle is used more and more in corporate environments. The expectations for language interfaces are different there. We should think about giving a something like a guarantee that 10-20 languages are translated fully on student and teacher level.
    This should be discussed in partner area. I know that several of the non english Moodle partners are maintainers of language packs (i.e. Andrea for Italian and Ralf and Ralf for German). Perhaps we can activate more of them as maintainers.
 
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Picture of koen roggemans
Re: Status of language translations for Moodle
Group DevelopersGroup Documentation writersGroup Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup Translators

I can see your first point, but it is not an easy task: if you look at core, that's over 1600 strings (which is almost 10% of the tranlation) and it is a real mixture of admin, student and teacher strings.

We can only talk about how it is referred on http://lang.moodle.org, so no ...php referrers. They are not visible when you are working on the language portal and that is what we try to encourage, so core_admin please smile

As an example how difficult it is: you mention email strings. Please search for mail as partial match of the string identifier. The mail messages are scattered all over the language pack and they are not in core_admin at all, where you would expect them. The language string identifieres and classification is component oriented and nearly every component has a student, teacher and admin side. Please spend 10 minutes to come up with something to divide urgent from not urgent strings, based on what you find in the language pack and you'll get my point: it's hard to come up with anything better as what is in the FAQ. But it is a wiki, feel free to improve.

As for your second point, I don't see the difference in need for a good translation between corporate and say schools: I'm sure adults can cope better with an occacional English phrase then children. But the way translations are maintained at the moment, you can't have a guarantee: they are mostly maintained by volunteers, there is no funding for it and it is not polite to demand something from people who do the work for free in their free time. If partners find it important that a language pack is 100% guaranteed for their area, they can do the work themselves, like Andrea and Ralf² for German or fund the language pack maintainer to motivate him/her to stay up to date. So my +1 to discuss this in the partners area.

 
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Picture of Ralf Hilgenstock
Re: Status of language translations for Moodle
Group DevelopersGroup Translators

Hi Koen,

I've started with a list of files and some comments. The attached file includes the core files only. They have ~9600 strings. 2.800 of them are priorized with A. This includes core and core_admin files with 2.600 strings whereby 40-50 % of them are admin only.

I expect that most strings visible for students will be in mod_* files now.

I will try to complete this list during next days. Several files will be summarized if they are for different types of features (i.e. auth, enrole, filter, qbehaviour)

Finally I think there will be  5.000-6.000 strings with priority A only.  Do you think this could be helpfull for translators.

 
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Picture of koen roggemans
Re: Status of language translations for Moodle
Group DevelopersGroup Documentation writersGroup Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup Translators
Hi Ralph, I like the idea. It made me come up with the following (to discuss with David): How about an extra searchable field in AMOS per string to rate the use of a string (something like a/b/c for how urgent a translation is or student/admin/teacher use, ...). The data gathering for this could be done by the translators - rating the strings as they go along translating to help translators doing the work later. New language packs could do a search on a/b/c or student/teacher/admin rated strings to make their language pack quicker usable.
 
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Picture of Ralf Hilgenstock
Re: Status of language translations for Moodle
Group DevelopersGroup Translators
This sounds interesting. By daily use of AMOS we know that the search process in AMOS really needs some time and I'm in fear that additional DB requests will create more workload. I will finish the Excel file as a first step. This could be done in a few hours and we have a first overview information that can be added to the docs.
 
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Picture of German Valero
Re: Status of language translations for Moodle
Group Documentation writersGroup Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup Translators

Hi Koen,

I recently became a language maintainer for mexican spanish. I think my case illustrates one point: Moodle administrators will locally translate Moodle because they need to have a better interface for their teachers and students. We needed some strings more than others and those strings were the ones we translated first.

What I think Moodle administrators need is an easy way to have their many locally crafted translation  .PHP files uploaded into AMOS for their language. Uploading .PHP files on a one-by-one mode is very time-consuming and boring, but as of now it seems to be the only way to go. Maybe someone can devise a way to upload a ZIP file with many .PHP files at once and have AMOS do the hard work. If such a method were devised, Moodle could advertise an easy way of contributing to the growth of many languages that currently seem abandoned. Having uploaded many language strings, the pack maintainer would only have to review/accept/discard the strings within the files, but reviewing is way faster than having to type them.

I think that many Universities, schools and businesses in non-English-speaking countries have already locally translated the language strings they needed most. We only need to have those local files uploaded into AMOS. Maybe if the local language customization screen in all Moodle 2.x servers (Site_administration/language block) had a button for "gather all your local language strings into one/several ZIP file(s)" and instructions on "how to mail those large/huge files to the Moodle language HQ and improve your language pack worldwide" this will help with increasing language translation coverage.

In the case of the spanish child languages, argentinan spanish has 7 changes (made in 2007) from international spanish; maybe we can delete it. Spain-spanish appears as having 54 changes (made in 2009) from international spanish. Maybe we can include those 54 changes in the international spanish (which is basically a Spain-spanish). But maybe Benito Arias (the spanish language maintainer) should have a saying in this. If we delete those two sub-languages nobody really works-on, stats will improve and hardly anybody will notice their absence.

BTW There is also the small topic of typos within Moodle core. It seems there are a few more than we thought and maybe we need a better system for dealing with them without overstressing David or You.

 
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Picture of Itamar Tzadok
Re: Status of language translations for Moodle
Group DevelopersGroup Documentation writersGroup Particularly helpful Moodlers

This is just one example of the general lack of proper (effective and efficient) support for contributed work even in components that are more established than the fairly new AMOS (the management of contributed plugins is a long standing problem for contributors and maintainers). smile

 
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Picture of koen roggemans
Re: Status of language translations for Moodle
Group DevelopersGroup Documentation writersGroup Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup Translators
I think lots of efforts are made over the last few years that improves the support of contributed work for Moodle. There is the documentation wiki and forums, making contributing knowledge and distributing it easy. There is indeed the language portal, which makes contributing strings for everyone easy and updating and installing language packs for admins a one button approach. There is the new plugins database, which takes contributions in lots of forms (zip, git, ...), supports versioning, update notifications and for 2.4 one click updates apparently too (MDL-35238) It's a work in progress and resources are limited. Help is always welcome smile
 
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Picture of Itamar Tzadok
Re: Status of language translations for Moodle
Group DevelopersGroup Documentation writersGroup Particularly helpful Moodlers
I know a lot of effort is made since I make extensive use of the support tools for my contributed work. But a lot of effort doesn't necessarily mean that the effort is always on target or that the target always leads to effective results. Small changes may make a huge difference as shown daily by many contributions. And I suggest that the support tools for contributed work may be improved immensely by some small changes and a little effort along side the big ones which take a lot of effort. smile
 
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Picture of koen roggemans
Re: Status of language translations for Moodle
Group DevelopersGroup Documentation writersGroup Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup Translators
The en typo problems will be addressed soon: http://tracker.moodle.org/browse/MDLSITE-1363. The upload files issue is reported and waiting for time to fix it: http://tracker.moodle.org/browse/MDLSITE-1539. As for the deletion of language packs: they are once created because somebody found it necessary - they might be in use. I can't judge how necessary even those 7 changes for Argentinian are. It's about cultural differences and that is a very sensitive matter. I don't like to interfere with those things to improve stats smile
 
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Picture of German Valero
Re: Status of language translations for Moodle
Group Documentation writersGroup Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup Translators

Hi Koen,

I downloaded the Argentinian Spanish language pack and it consists merely of language settings, which happen to be the same settings as in the international Spanish language pack. Therefore, I think it is redundant, superfluous, and does not contribute to the welfare of Moodle users in Argentina, but rather crates a false image of national language support and also lowers the stats.

 

I wrote to Benito Arias, the international Spanish language pack maintainer and he commented that there are no active Argentinian translators for Moodle nowadays.

I really think we can safely remove the Argentinian Spanish language pack.

As for the Spanish language from Spain, I also downloaded the language pack and all strings seem to be included (as equal strings) in the international Spanish language pack.

Benito Arias commented that years ago the consensus (agreement) was reached to have one common language for all spanish speakers worldwide (one international-Spanish-language to rule them all), and the local Spanish from Spain language (and the Argentinian and the old Mexican children languages) stalled and ceased to grow.

The only real difference for Spanish languages worldwide nowadays seems to be the renewed mexican branch (my mother tongue), which now sports a 100% translated strings rate smile.

Therefore, I also think that we can safely remove the Spanish from Spain child language, as most users from Spain have contributed to, and are using, the international spanish language pack.

...And, we will improve the stats smile.

 
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Picture of koen roggemans
Re: Status of language translations for Moodle
Group DevelopersGroup Documentation writersGroup Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup Translators

I wish I knew for sure no one had Spanish Spain or Spanish Argentina as default language for the site. What happens with the automatic update if a langpack isn't there anymore? Looking at the Argentina langpack, it contains the locale setting for Argentina, which is e.g. necessary if you run Moodle on a server with the Argentina locale installed. It will at least make sure the dates are translated. The es language pack has the Spain locale configured.

Another observation is that es_es and es_ar are not in AMOS, only on the download page. No idea anymore how that comes, can't find anything about it in my records.

I don't think the stats are there as a race - it gives an idea to people who want to use Moodle in a certain language what to expect. Keeping the 25% of Ralphs calculation in mind, I think it looks rather good smile. Hopefully the stats encourage people to help the language pack maintainers or help people to appreciate the work done on a language pack. With 4000 strings you could have e.g. Mahara completely translated, for Moodle it looks like you barely started.

 
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Picture of German Valero
Re: Status of language translations for Moodle
Group Documentation writersGroup Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup Translators

Hi,

I have a different suggestion for improving the language translations coverage:

When a user has modified locally the language strings and is about to save the changes to the local language pack, and they see the following message:

"You are about to save modifications to your local language pack. This will export the customised strings from the translator into you Moodle data directory and Moodle will start using the modified strings. Press 'Continue' to proceed with saving."

MAYBE we could add some text along the lines of:

"If you have improved/extended/completed the strings of a language other than English, we kindly suggest that you contact your language pack maintainer (email available at ...) and tell him/her about contribuiting to the growth and improvement of Moodle in your language. The instructions for obtaining and sending the modified language strings ZIP file are available in ..."

and/or "If you think you have found and corrected a typo in the original English language sentences, please Email ... at ..."

What would the other translators think about this ?

 
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Picture of David Mudrák
Re: Status of language translations for Moodle
Group DevelopersGroup Documentation writersGroup Moodle HQGroup Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup Translators
+1
 
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Picture of Joseph Rézeau
Re: Status of language translations for Moodle
Group DevelopersGroup Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup TestersGroup Translators

@German,

Yes, that's a good idea. However I expect most "local modifications" are just that, modifications made to suit local needs, not corrections of typos or translation of missing strings.

Joseph

 
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Picture of koen roggemans
Re: Status of language translations for Moodle
Group DevelopersGroup Documentation writersGroup Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup Translators

I share your thought Jozeph: the purpose of local modifications is local modifications (for local non-standard stuff), not improvement of the language pack. 

"If you want to improve/extende/complete the strings of a language other than English, this is NOT the place to do that. This interface is for modifications to your local situation only. We kindly suggest that you contact your language pack maintainer (email available at ...) and tell him/her about contribuiting to the growth and improvement of Moodle in your language and suggest the changes on http://lang.moodle.org.

 
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Picture of German Valero
Re: Status of language translations for Moodle
Group Documentation writersGroup Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup Translators
Koen and Jozeph ("the purpose of local modifications is local modifications (for local non-standard stuff), not improvement of the language pack. "), While that IS the purpose of the local modifications; in some cases, such as mine, local modifications was the only way to easily add the missing translations for international spanish, as the language pack maintainers seemed to be busy disagreeing among themselves in the spanish language forum and I did not agree with too many of the official translations which were evidently of common usage in Spain, but not in México. THUS, I began to translate locally for MY school server only. When my fellow countrymen knew that I had a more appropiate Moodle 2 local language version, they requested the files and a description on how to put them in their servers. I did so and it proved to be very cumbersome. This is how the mexican spanish pack began. Finally, I contacted Koen when I had a substancial number of PHP language files to merit a Mexican Spanish child language, which soon grew to an independent language file. And, making local translations in a PC can be way faster than working in AMOS via a slow intermittent internet connection (I am a poor teacher in a poor country). Plus I have the added benefit that I can check how the translation performs in real life in a local server in the PC and make minor adjustments and correct typos blazing fast. When the local translation is deemed finished, I can upload really fast the PHP file in the AMOS stage for both commiting it into my language pack and submiting it for the international spanish pack maintainers. This is how I have been translating most of the optional plugins and I think it is faster than working directly in AMOS (as the language pack can take up to 3 hours to update before I can download it from moodle.org to a test server and see/realize my mistakes, correct them, commit again and repeat the cycle). I also would suggest trying this strategy to the other translators working on optional plugins who have access to a real or local server. I do not think I am the only one who has used the local language editor for real translation purposes, and inserting text in an already existing string in Moodle core should be very easy and fast. Plus, sending an Email with an attached ZIP file to one address visible in one Moodle.org page would be way easier and faster than contacting the official language maintainer, getting approved as a contribuiting translator and learning to use AMOS. MAYBE we should think more about the countries/languages which have less than 100% translated strings and think less about how we work/should work once a language pack is fully translated. Specially now that the strings commonly seen by students and teachers have been identified and listed by priority by Ralf (https://moodle.org/mod/forum/discuss.php?d=214169). PS: I apologize in advance for any/all politically incorrect remark(s) I (might) have made above.
 
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Picture of Vanyo Georgiev
Re: Status of language translations for Moodle
 

I immediately took that idea and added such a text in Bulgarian translation of [confirmcheckin,tool_customlang] string.

 
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Picture of koen roggemans
Re: Status of language translations for Moodle
Group DevelopersGroup Documentation writersGroup Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup Translators

Stats on the es_es and es_ar language pack: Downloads in last 60 days

es_es 2.3: 4,482

es_ar 2.3: 808

To compare: Dutch 2.3: 817, French 2.3: 3642, Mexican 2.3: 3639

So I think the stats descide here: no, we are not going to delete those langage packs. Someone to help improving them (if necessary) is welcome smile.

 
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