Translation project: Debian in Dutch
Translating Debian into Dutch
Translating requires teamwork and Debian counts a lot of active translation teams, all dedicated to making Debian available in the language of their local communities. In order to support the efforts of those localisation teams, Debian has built a central localisation infrastructure.
The aim of the Dutch localisation team is to make sure that there is also a Dutch version of the Debian operating system and its documentation.
If you are willing to help with translating Debian into Dutch, we will welcome you wholeheartedly into our team. We hope that the information on this page is sufficiently clear and detailed to get you started translating effectively.
The Debian Dutch localisation team
Contributing to the translation of Debian is 100% a volunteer effort. This leads to each member of the team spending as much or as little time on translations as he/she sees fit. So, as a translation volunteer, you don't have any performance obligation.
However, we do expect you to abide by the rules of the Debian code of conduct and to behave and communicate in a constructive way.
All communication among team members takes place on the Dutch localisation mailing list. This mailing list is the single central coordination system. Therefore, as a team member, it is highly recommended to subscribe to it. All traffic on the list is public and gets archived. Debian has a profound conviction that this open way of proceeding can only be beneficial to a high quality level of work.
With regard to spelling, vocabulary and grammar we follow the directives, guidelines and recommendations of the Nederlandse Taalunie (Dutch Language Union). This body is the official authority for these matters and is authoritative for all the Dutch-speaking countries and territories on the globe. By taking this position we reaffirm that our translations are aimed at anyone who is a member of that Dutch-speaking community in the world. Therefore we try to avoid local dialect as much as possible. We simply lack the necessary people to manage several locally-based translation variants. This is clearly demonstrated through the small amount of completed translations realised by such efforts in the past, as can be seen on https://www.debian.org/international/l10n/po/nl_BE and on https://www.debian.org/international/l10n/po/nl_NL.
Over time a limited lexicon has been put together. It aims at reaching a certain level of uniformity in translations. We suggest that you take a look at it regularly while translating. This lexicon can probably be extended further, and it may even be that some of the translation suggestions in it may be of a suboptimal quality. Suggestions for extensions and improvements are welcomed. But of course they have to be discussed thoroughly on the mailing list. The ultimate aim should always be to combine correctness with intelligibility. When it comes to the translation of technical terminology this can sometimes prove to be a very tough deliberation.
What can be translated?
- The web site
There is a high likelihood that the Debian web site will fulfil the role of being one of the first and most important sources of information for people that start using Debian or are considering doing so. It would therefore be good to eventually have translated into Dutch as much as possible of the information it contains. Information on the translation of the Debian website is available (although still not in Dutch). Everyone can help with the translation of web pages, but uploading them to the server, so that they become a part of the Debian website, can only be accomplished by a Debian developer. The mailing list is the place to discuss this and make arrangements for this.
- The Debian installer
This is the first program new users have to deal with, as it gives them information during the process of installing Debian on their system and guides them through it. Therefore Debian makes a special effort to have this piece of software translated into as many languages as possible. Information on the translation of the Debian installer is available (although still not in Dutch).
- Configuration information and questions (po-debconf strings)
Some programs need user input in order to set their configuration correctly. Already during the installation process users will have been asked some questions of this kind. Packages offer their configuration questions and accompanying clarifications, if any, from a separate file that can be translated into Dutch. Information on the translation of these so called debconf templates is available (although still not in Dutch).
- Package descriptions
Using their favourite package management program, users can control what software is installed on their systems or look for additional software that suits a particular purpose. The short description of each available package that is shown by the package management program can make it easier for users to make the right choices. These package descriptions are also subject to translations. General information on that topic is available (although still not in Dutch).
Out of concern for keeping the coordination and follow-up of translations concentrated in a single location, the Debian Dutch localisation team has agreed on making use of the email interface of the DDTP project (to the exclusion of the web interface) and on submitting draft translations to the mailing list for review.
In practice this includes the following steps:
- Requesting a package description (for translation) with the email interface:
This can be done by sending an email to
firstname.lastname@example.org the subject
GET package name nl.UTF-8. No other content is needed, so the body of the message can be left empty. Hence the description of that package that is to be translated will be sent over to you.
- Writing a draft translation and sending it to the mailing list for review.
- Submitting the translated package description to the email interface:
This step has to be taken after the review process comes to an end. Again this is accomplished via an email to
email@example.com. This message does not need a subject or content. It only needs the translated package description as an attachment. The DDTP email interface is expecting to receive that attachment base64-encoded. Because this is the standard behaviour for attachments in most email clients (MUAs), you don't have to worry about the encoding yourself.
- Requesting a package description (for translation) with the email interface:
- Debian documentation
There is an ongoing effort within Debian to provide for additional and better documentation for the benefit of users and developers alike. Usually it is available both as a package and on the Debian website. More information is to be found at "The Debian Documentation Project" page (already translated to Dutch). However, a lot of the documentation itself is for the moment not yet available in Dutch.
- Application software (po strings)
A lot of developers are themselves taking care of the coordination of the translation of the software they write, or leave it with an initiative for the translation of free software, such as The Translation Project or other similar initiatives. In such cases the upstream sources that are used by Debian package maintainers already come with translations included. Nevertheless the Dutch translation of application software is far from being completed. And for some specific pieces of software ("native" packages) Debian has to be seen as in fact the main or only upstream developer, so that no external body takes care of its translation. In the case of translations made by a Debian localisation team for a piece of non-native application software, it is a good habit to submit the translation not only to the Debian package maintainer but also to the upstream developer.
- Man pages
Man pages describe in a standardised way how to use a command at the command line. Also their translation often is taken care of outside of Debian.
In order to support the effort of Debian localisation teams, a tracking system has been set up. Its main page and the numerous subsidiary pages provide detailed information on the progress of the internationalisation of Debian. Thanks to this the distinct localisation teams are presented with an overview of the ongoing activities within their team, of the already finished translations and of the areas that still need the attention of a translator.
To make this support possible, information has to be actively collected by the tracking system, which listens at several locations within Debian, including the localisation team mailing lists.
For the tracking system to be able to understand what is going on in the field of Debian localisation, a complete set of pseudo-URLs has been developed. It boils down to a standardised format for the subject field of email massages that are sent to the mailing lists, so that it conveys information on the element or file for which translation is under way and the stage of the translation process it has reached.
A pseudo-URL consists of the following components:
Of course, email massages with a subject field that has not been formatted this way can also be used and sent to the mailing list, but they won't be understood and tracked by the localisation tracking system. Messages like this are mostly used for discussing general matters not directly related to the translation of a specific file.
Below we shortly discuss the various components of a pseudo-URL.
- The status of a translation or the stage a translation of a specific element has reached.
- This describes the kind of element or file for which a translation is being prepared. The localisation tracking system knows the following types: po-debconf, debian-installer, po, po4a, man and wml (webwml is obsolete and instead wml should be used now).
- The name of the package the translated file belongs to. If it is a web page, then www.debian.org has to be used as the name of the package.
- The name of the translated document or file. If a man page is translated, this file name will also contain its section, and for a web page the path to that page is part of its name. That way any possible confusion with another document or another file of the same package is excluded.
Here you may find some examples of pseudo-URLs. We will ignore the status element for now:
- [status] po-debconf://package-name/nl.po
- [status] po://package-name/path-in-the-source/nl.po
- [status] wml://www.debian.org/web-page-address
The status element of a pseudo-URL always has to be put within square brackets. The following status indicators are likely to improve cooperation and facilitate tracking and follow-up by the localisation tracking system:
- (Intent To Translate) With this status element a translator indicates that he/she will take care of the translation of the specified element.
- (Request For Review) The attachment to this message is a draft translation and the translator invites other translation team members to review it.
- (Intent To Review) This status element indicates that a translator is preparing a review of the specified draft translation.
- (Last Chance/Call For Comments) In this stage the discussion on a draft translation has been completed and the comments have been incorporated in the translation. An updated draft translation is attached so that everyone has a chance to take a final look at it and read it over once again. If a Request For Review gets no reaction, this often implies approval of the translation; in such a case a LCFC can be sent to make sure that the previous mail (the one with a RFR status indicator) did not unintentionally pass unnoticed.
- (Bug Tracking System) This informs the mailing list and the tracking system that the translation has been sent to the maintainer via a bug report which was assigned the given number by the bug tracking system. The package maintainer closes this bug report on uploading a new version of the package with the translation included. This event will be noticed and taken into account by the localisation tracking system.
- This status element signals that the translation has been completed and committed. It is used in those cases where the translation has not been committed via a bug report. This happens for example when a web page or a package description has been translated.
The above stages of a translation cycle can further a structured cooperation among the Debian Dutch localisation team members. Nonetheless applying them rigidly to the extent that they are experienced as being a bureaucratic rigmarole and a hindrance for a real cooperation is by no means a good idea. On the contrary, they only are meant to support cooperation by making it more effective and efficient.
If you would like to start translating, you are advised to use one of the tools that are explicitly conceived to ease the accomplishment of such a task. You can choose from a wide range of tools, among others:
- for the translation of pot-files:
- gettext-el - Emacs po-mode for editing gettext .po files.
- poedit - A commonly used editor for gettext catalogs (.po files).
- virtaal - A graphical localisation editor.
- lokalize - A po file editor, based on the KDE desktop libraries.
- gtranslator - A po file editor, based on the GNOME desktop libraries.
- omegat - An editor, written in Java, suitable for the translation of documents with a variety of file formats.
- for the translation of wml-files:
- Most editors support syntax highlighting, horizontal and/or vertical window splitting, line numbering etc, and in most cases this suffices to feel comfortable while translating web pages.
- xmlcopyeditor - An editor supporting multiple markup languages and able to open a preview in a browser window of the page being translated.