Andrew Whitworth wknight8111 at
Thu Dec 16 16:33:49 UTC 2010

On Thu, Dec 16, 2010 at 10:41 AM, Nick Wellnhofer <wellnhofer at> wrote:
> One thing we should be aware of is that translations need to be updated.
> Imagine we had README translations before the switch to git. That would have
> made all the translated READMEs outdated at once and I guess it would have
> taken quite some time to update them. So there should be a way to mark
> translations as outdated.

Very true, We always run the risk that translations get out-of-date.
This is why I think it's important to include a disclaimer directly in
README that the translations may be old and inaccurate, especially
when we make big changes like the Git/SVN migration.

However, inaccurate translations aren't the worst things in the world.
Worse, to my mind, is saying that being a proficient reader of English
is a requirement for using Parrot. A person who speaks no language but
Polish, for instance, should be able to get our software and figure
out the basics of building and running it. There are going to be some
hardships here, but I would much rather provide *something* to help
point a new user in the right direction as opposed to providing
*nothing* for them. Any user who is interested in using Parrot should
be given a fighting chance.

If a non-english speaker is following a poorly translated README and
gets stuck, I guess it's tough cookies. There is a language barrier
and we did the best we could. These are people who would have a zero
percent chance of working with Parrot. With a translated README, even
a poorly translated one, that chance is not zero.

> Personally, I think translations are a waste of time because it's simply too
> hard to write good translations and keep them updated. We'd better spend
> that time elsewhere. There has been some discussion about the quality of the
> translated READMEs already. No offense to the GCI participants, of course. I
> wouldn't have written better translations when I was that age. I can only
> speak for the German version but as it stands now I'd even consider it
> off-putting for German language users. I can offer to fix that although I'd
> rather spend my time on other things.

I won't be spending any of my time writing, reading, reviewing, or
updating translations. I don't ask anybody else to do it either
(besides asking people to review GCI submissions, which is a 1-time
thing and is for the benefit of students). If you don't want to work
on translations, don't. Your considerable talents would be much better
utilized, from a Parrot perspective, deep in the code anyway.

We do have some developers who do want to work on translations.
Developers who are interested in "soft" work like translations might
be enticed to join the project as well if we had a better
infrastructure for it. There are some people who might only
participate for documentation and translation tasks.

In short, having translations of things like README doesn't cost
anything for people who don't want to be involved with it, doesn't
cause us to lose developers, might actually attract new developers,
and will certainly attract people whose only interest is in
translation. I don't want to do it, you don't want to do it, but some
people do. Best thing we can do is set up a system so that these
people can get involved but do so in a way that they don't interfere
with code development. Leave it up to the translators to keep things
up to date and make sure everything is accurate.

--Andrew Whitworth

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