Getting translation strings right/es

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Esta página contiene algunas notas básicas acerca de como traducir cadenas de forma correcta desde el principio, desde el punto de vista de los escritores originales (e.g. muy a menudo programadores).

"Para hacer lo correcto" en este contexto, significa que las cadenas de traducción se han preparado apropiadamente para una traducción lo más aproximada posible, y que la versión original se ha adaptado a los requerimientos básicos para su uso.

Aunque se trata de que sea lo más neutral posible al lenguaje, hay de hecho una ligera tendencia al inglés en particular. Sentiros libres para extender o descartalas a lo que no sea aplicable a vuestra situación (¿y puede que también las añadais a esta página?).


General

Para evitar problemas, simplemente asegúrate de que las cadenas originales están correctas en primer lugar - hay algunas razones para hacer esto:

  • Las cadenas originalmente se utilizan habitualmente como traducciones por defecto, creando una mala impresión al usuario final que suele utilizar las cadenas por defecto.
  • Incluso peor, esto hace el trabajo del traductor innecesariamente duro: tendrá más problemas al trasladar la información original a otro lenguaje.Simplemente recuerda el principio "Basura de entrada, Basura de salida" que se aplica aquí perfectamente.


Asegúrate de que las cadenas en tu lenguaje original están impecables, claras y consistentes

Given the above, please find some tips when writing messages/strings for user consumption.

Trata de asegurarte de que tu ortografía sea correcta - utiliza un diccionario si no estás seguro.

Utiliza frases comprensibles y bien conocidas para la situación que se quiere describir, de una manera consistente. Si no tienes la seguridad de que sea la interpretación correcta , prueba a poner otros programas en la misma situación y examina sus respuestas. La literatura y ficheros de ayuda son además frecuentemente un buen recurso para acertar con frases o términos especiales, o incidencias de estilo.

Prueba a ser consistente también a la hora de escoger las frases. Por ejemplo las preguntas:

Delete the file?
Erase the file?
Remove the file?
Wipe the file?
Zap the file?

tienen todas un significado similar, pero cuando se utilizan de manera intercambiable, los lectores pueden empezar a probar e inventar un (no existente) significado cada distinta terminología.

Los traductores son especiamente muy propensos a cometer este error, dado que a menudo desconocen el contexto exacto de un mensaje en particular (e.g. información sobre el mensaje original) y pueden interpretar variaciones de palabras como indicación de diferencias importantes y estará tentado de utilizar traducciones poco comunes y por tanto malas traducciones.

Un montón de software de traducción (e.g Virtaal) te puede ayudar de dos maneras:

  • Tiene una memoria de traducción que te permite recordar todas las cadenas (strings) ya traducidas y ayudarte a traducir términos consistentemente.
  • Te muestra como se encuentran traducidas las cadenas en otros softwares de código abierto, ofreciéndote las formas más frecuentemente utilizadas.


Especially for error messages to the user: try to describe the problem itself in appropriate words. This is never the state of the program which led to the error message. This is only useful for the person debugging the program, but not for the user. Users will either simply shrug their shoulders and ignore it in the best case, or choose another program in the worst case because without a proper problem description the user will not be able to fix the problem and continue his work - all that only because the program was not able to give a proper problem description.

Give (easily) understandable descriptions. Do not try to impress your audience with foreign or very technical words only for telling that the current work has not yet been saved if not really necessary.

Especially try to avoid multiple negations within a single sentence in your wordings, they are nearly always harder to read than their non-negated counterparts. An example could be

This component can not be dropped on non-TControls.

which, in its non-negated form

This component can only be dropped on TControls.

is certainly easier to read and understand.

Technical issues

In this section a short overview of technical issues, basically an overview of existing possibilites are given. These include the resourcestring construct, GNU gettext() and the format() function.

Resourcestrings, and GNU gettext

Free Pascal has some built-in language constructs for providing a way of handling constant strings. There is a special section of a unit called "resourcestring" which was specifically introduced for this reason. See the appropriate section of the FPC manual (prog.pdf, pg. 89ff or here) for the details.

GNU gettext is a special set of utilities to provide translations for your programs, see the FPC manual once more (prog.pdf, pg. 91ff or here).

Note-icon.png

Note: GNU gettext has a conceptual flaw which does not allow mapping of a single original string to multiple translated strings, be aware of that.

ResourceStrings in the IDE

  • Lazarus has a tool to easily create resourcestrings from string constants. See Make ResourceString
  • For each resourcestring section FPC creates a .rst file, but there are no editor for these files. Lazarus can automatically create .po files of the .rst files. There are a lot of tools to edit .po files (e.g. kbabel).

To enable creating the .po files for a package do the following:

 * Create a sub directory 'languages' (or 'locale', or whatever)
 * Open the package. Then Options -> IDE Integration -> Directory of .po files set to languages

The next time you compile the package, the IDE will create the .po files.

Note-icon.png

Note: The .rst files must belong to package units. Otherwise the IDE ignores foreign .rst files.

The same works for projects. The directory is set in Project -> Project Options -> IDE Integration -> Directory of .po files.

  • To create a German translation: copy the unit1.po file to unit1.de.po. Then use a text editor or a .po Editor to translate all strings.
  • The IDE will automatically load .po files for installed packages, if they exists. For example see lazarus/components/projecttemplates/languages/.
  • ToDo: Implement and document updating the translated .po files when new resourcestrings are added.
  • ToDo: Implement and document collecting all .po files of statically linked packages.

ResourceStrings in your Application

You can load the .po files at initialization to translate the resourcestrings. Add this to your .lpr file:

...
uses
  ...
  Translations, LCLProc;
 
procedure TranslateLCL;
var
  PODirectory, Lang, FallbackLang: String;
begin
  PODirectory:='/path/to/lazarus/lcl/languages/';
  Lang:='';
  FallbackLang:='';
  LCLGetLanguageIDs(Lang,FallbackLang); // in unit LCLProc
  Translations.TranslateUnitResourceStrings('LCLStrConsts',
                      PODirectory+'lclstrconsts.%s.po',Lang,FallbackLang);
  // ... add here a TranslateUnitResourceStrings call for every po file ...
end;
 
begin
  TranslateLCL;
  Application.Initialize;
  Application.CreateForm(TForm1, Form1);
  Application.Run;
end.
Note-icon.png

Note: for Mac OS X: The supported language IDs should be added into the application bundle property list to CFBundleLocalizations key, see lazarus.app/Contents/Info.plist for example.

The format() function

To not only allow completely static strings in translations, you can use the format() method of the sysutils unit. It is able to replace placeholders within a given text by their actual value given as secondary parameter in a set.

Por ejemplo:

format('Mañana %0:s  %1:s el sol. ', ['Domingo', 'brillará']);

retornara

Mañana Domingo brillará el sol

In this case the %0:s is a placeholder para el primer argumento (index 0) in the set of actual values (Sunshine), and likewise %1:s. For an exact definition of the allowed placeholders and their syntax see the FPC reference manual.

Some guidelines for the usage of the format() function

  • Try to use indexed placeholders in the original strings, even if they are optional. When used, they allow the translator to move the arguments easily within the sentence allowing him more natural expressions (and actually sometimes moving sentence parts is required to create proper sentences in that language).
  • Never compose a sentence out of more than one string. Always use the format() method from the sysutils unit to construct the correct string using placeholders during runtime. Translators will usually not be able to reconstruct the whole sentence, therefore not able to give a good translation; only consider that there are often hundreds of such strings within a single translation database...
  • Do not format using whitespaces. Simply move your label to the appropriate position in the first place. There may be problems with font changes, and seemingly superfluous spaces will be in danger of being trimmed by the translator.
Note-icon.png

Note: Since format() does not interpret escaped control characters (e.g. like C's "\n", "\t", etc) and GNU gettext for any reason being the translation system of choice (and the tools based on it not being able to interpret non-escaped control characters), it is required to programmatically insert linebreaks.In the current lazarus version, "\n" and "\t" in translated strings are replaced by newline and tab.

Convirtiendo la traducción al código de caracteres correcto

Por ejemplo: convirtiendo un fichero de ISO-8859-1 a UTF-8:

 iconv --from-code=ISO-8859-1 --to-code=UTF-8 oldfile.po > nuevofichero.po

No olvidarse de cambiar la línea:

 "Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1\n"

por

 "Content-Type: text/plain; charset=UTF8\n"

English related

This section contains notes which particularly apply when using English as the base language for translations.

  • Make sure to reserve enough space where the text is output: English is a language in which texts are almost always shorter (in characters) than their respective translations, so plan ahead by reserving enough space. Experience shows that very short strings of a few characters length often almost double in size; this difference decreases as the strings get longer.
  • Avoid abbreviations in English; in addition to the fact that this shortens the already short strings even more, there are severe problems with e.g. languages that use ideographic characters where these abbreviations simply do not exist at all.
  • Since this is often an issue: In English punctuation marks (full stop, comma, ...) are part of the previous words, or form some sort of words themselves if there is no previous word (in case of an enumeration). Especially after a semicolon there should always be a trailing space.
There was an error ! Please check file settings , compiler settings,... to fix this issue.

has horrible punctuation and therefore simply looks bad and is harder to read than usual. Consider that common line break algorithms break the line on whitespaces, possibly resulting in a single stop at the beginning of a line...

There was an error! Please check file settings, compiler settings, ... to fix this issue.

would probably be okay only considering punctuation.

See also