My parents found it strange that I spend considerable time in the night doing "some Linux thing", so the other day I explained to them what Free software is and we talked about copyright and licensing. I was very happy that they were able to appreciate it. I also gave a Debian Installer demo.
While there are a bunch of Indian languages supported in the Debian Installer, తెలుగు (Telugu) isn't one of them. They noticed it and motivated me to work on te_IN translation for d-i and promised to help me. So the three of us have been discussing translation strings. I have been committing changes slowly and intend to complete this activity in a few months.
Lack of interest in translation meant that I never gave much thought to it but I see that translating software is rather difficult and it is an activity that would benefit a lot from two or three people doing it together. I found a glossary at swecha.org but there are a bunch of problems
- Computing terminology is context sensitive and one word doesn't fit all uses.
- A lot of words in the glossary are rather contrived.
- Most words can be understood only by the elite of the Telugu speaking world.
I am using these simple guidelines for translation:
- Use language that is used in the newspapers today. Most people who can read would be used to this and understand it best. e.g password would be రహస్యపదం rather than సంకేతపదము.
- Do not invent words. If a certain computing term or a word doesn't have an equivalent colloquial Telugu word, use the English word written in Telugu script. Include the English word in paranthesis next to it. e.g. Registering modules... would be మాడ్యూల్స్ (modules) నమోదు చేయబడుతున్నాయి...
- If a translated Telugu word sounds complex or ambiguous in the translation context, include the corresponding English word in Telugu as well as English in parentheses next to it. e.g Partitioning scheme: would be విభజన (పార్టీషనింగ్ [partitioning]) ప్రణాలిక:
A few resources that I have been using:
- lekhini - a browser based tool for transliteration based on RTS.
- en2te and uchicago.edu's Charles Philip Brown Telugu to English dictionaries.
- J. P. L. Gwynn's Telugu to English dictionary hosted by uchicago.edu
I will have to find a good quality comprehensive Telugu general knowledge book or an official A.P. govt. document to translate ISO 3166 codes etc. The Manorama yearbook would've been great, unfortunately Telugu is not one of the few languages it is published in. I will also bring my copy of Sankaranarayan's dictionary from my next month Hyderabad visit.
If you have suggestions on any of these (pointers to guidelines, resources that are DFSG free and I could copy from etc.) that would make doing this easy for me, please do let me know.
Naidu does good one-off Telugu string translations in Launchpad (so does praveenkumarg, btw), and Naidu has promised to do some of the work as well as review. If all goes well, I will try and create a debian-10n-telugu sometime in the future.