Query about 'Do Not Translate' terms

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saivinoba
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Query about 'Do Not Translate' terms

Post by saivinoba »

Hi, I'm trying to translate LM projects to Kannada language. I have a query regarding strings that are asked not to be translated.
Translating content which shouldn’t be translated

If something is in English on the screen, refer to it in English as well.

For instance, the boot menu for Linux Mint says Start Linux Mint, no matter what language the user uses. So it should be refered to as Start Linux Mint in any documentation, whether that documentation is in English or not.
I understand some of the words probably will be used as branding or standard words, similar to Apple, Samsung etc and therefore should not be translated. It will look silly if some were to translate Apple (the company name) to their language which would definitely refer to the fruit. My question is, are we not supposed to even write these names in our alphabet/font when you say do not translate? E.g., Warpinator looks like ವಾರ್ಪಿನೇಟರ್ (not sure you will be able to read it) when written in Kannada. It is not translated just written in the Kannada font. Same for Linux Mint, it would read as ಲಿನಕ್ಸ್ ಮಿಂಟ್. Kannada speakers reading it would still refer to warpinator or Linux Mint and can identify the brand.

I checked Russian and Japanese translations and indeed they kept English/Latin font. So, probably the instruction just means that, don't translate as in, don't even write in ones language. In this case somebody who does not know how to read the English alphabet (OK, there may not be many, but still) how would they know what they are referring to? These words are not like icons/smileys which we have become accustomed to.

In Ubuntu or MATE projects where I'm trying to contribute translations I came across some strings like :icon: for desktop files, which should not be translated otherwise system will not recognise the icon-set. But the ones I translated so far in LM do not seem to fall into this category.

So, what is your advise (or official interpretation of what I quoted above :))? Are we OK to write these words in our font or they just have to be kept in English?

Thanks in advance.
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Pjotr
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Re: Query about 'Do Not Translate' terms

Post by Pjotr »

I'm also a translator, although for a language that has the same Latin font as English (namely Dutch). So I don't have your problem. But if Dutch would have its own alphabet, I certainly would use the Dutch alphabet for untranslated names like Linux Mint and Warpinator.

I sometimes encounter Greek words and Russian words in Dutch books and articles. Although both Greek and Russian have their own alphabet, those words are almost always written in Latin font in those Dutch books and articles. So it's even usual to let your own alphabet prevail. :)
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saivinoba
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Re: Query about 'Do Not Translate' terms

Post by saivinoba »

@Pjotr, thank you very much. Agree with you. So, unless somebody would say otherwise explaining why these words have to be kept in English letters, I will continue to use my language's font to write such strings (they sound same, so users immediately identify) for my translations. This of course does not apply to other instructions such as not to translate variable names, to respect quotes etc, which I will adhere to.

I have few more questions. This is regarding abbreviations.
  • How do you write abbreviations, using only English letters or native language's letters (would sound same). E.g., HTTP, WiFi, VPN
  • When an abbreviation has vowels it usually pronounced as if a word e.g., SIM. How do you write them when translating, as letters (SIM) or word (sim)? Couple of well known examples are GNU, GNOME. Again concern is for non-latin font translations.
P.S.: There is (was?) a discussion about too much translation. I would like to discuss (ask questions) about that topic. Should I just post there or create new post and link to it? It is a very old post but the topic is very much relevant and the thread is not marked as closed.
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Pjotr
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Re: Query about 'Do Not Translate' terms

Post by Pjotr »

saivinoba wrote:
Wed Sep 09, 2020 12:03 am
I have few more questions. This is regarding abbreviations.
  • How do you write abbreviations, using only English letters or native language's letters (would sound same). E.g., HTTP, WiFi, VPN
  • When an abbreviation has vowels it usually pronounced as if a word e.g., SIM. How do you write them when translating, as letters (SIM) or word (sim)? Couple of well known examples are GNU, GNOME. Again concern is for non-latin font translations.
I would simply always use the font of my language. No exceptions. But I usually follow the uppercase / lowercase of the original.
saivinoba wrote:
Wed Sep 09, 2020 12:03 am
P.S.: There is (was?) a discussion about too much translation. I would like to discuss (ask questions) about that topic. Should I just post there or create new post and link to it? It is a very old post but the topic is very much relevant and the thread is not marked as closed.
Important question. Most languages in the world suffer from what I sometimes call "the English disease". I love my own language and therefore I try to counter unnecessary English incursions in my language a bit. I want to help to keep my language healthy.

So I sometimes introduce Dutch translations for English words that have become usual in Dutch, or I revive older Dutch words that have somewhat fallen into disuse because of invaded English words.

Of course I have to be careful with that: I don't want to annoy people with too radical "new" translations. But over the years I've learned that when I make small steps, people ordinarily get used to it rather quickly. Something else I've learned: don't give in too easily when you're being criticized for "translating too much".

I think that as translators we not only have the responsibility to make good translations, but also to help keeping our languages alive and well....
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