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From Michael.Schro...@telekurs.com
Subject Antwort: Re: German documentation as a book
Date Mon, 06 May 2002 15:05:17 GMT

Hi Kess,


> Imho it's needless to translate twice.

maybe this depends upon what should be the exact result of the
translation.

Do "we" want to have some exact version maintainable by the ASF,
i. e. XML format and 100% content identical to the English ver-
sion, or do we talk about "some book version" where the trans-
lator might add own remarks, footnotes, interpretations etc.?

And: If the translator finds some points that might be ambiguous
(at least for a non-native English speaker) and has to decide
how to translate,
a) should corresponding issues rather be resolved on this
   mailing list or by invididual decision of the translator
   and
b) would the translator be allowed to suggest changes of the
   English wording as to make the specific point more clear?
I have had a lot of these wording questions and change sug-
gestions while translating the FDSE GUI - if you translate a
document you look much more thoroughly at the meaning of each
single word than if you just know how the whole thing works.
And in this case, the closer the project is situated to the
ASF, the better.
One example for this might be at the start of
     http://httpd.apache.org/docs-2.0/install.html
where I read "For other platforms, see the platform documentation."
I wouldn't translate this to German word by word, because I am
sure this is not what the original author meant. The "platform
documentation" surely isn't the documentation _about_ this
platform (i. e. some description how Microsoft _Windows_ works),
but the documentation about how _Apache_ is meant to be used on
this platform. So I would translate to the German equivalent of
"platform-specific part of the documentation" - and then suggest
changing this in the English version as well, to keep both as
close as possible.
So if I would translate the Apache docs it might require some
busy 'partner' for (accepting and) committing such minor modi-
fications in the original version as well.
(By the way - the link on the word "platform" currently leads
to http://httpd.apache.org/docs-2.0/platform/ which isn't a document
but just a dynamic directory browsing page for 7 files, of which
"header.html" and "footer.html" may not really be intended to
be visible at all ... and by the way, Apache has this great
FancyIndexing feature of parsing HTML documents on the fly, so
that in this case at least the content of the <title> tag could
be used as description field of these documents, if no file
"index.html" was meant to be there ... and one might try to hide
the header and footer file using the IndexIgnore directive ...
if accessing the documentation tree already requires mod_negotiate
to be switched on - instead of selecting a target language during
the installation process and then only install this language's
documentation - it might require mod_autoindex as well.)

One more thing: Should the complete version be written in some
unique style of language usage, or would it be legal to consider
it as a set of articles from individual translators?
If I look at your current translations at apache.kess-net.de,
I would use the German language rather differently - such things
like using active instead of passive mode, rearranging the parts
of the sentences, use of hyphens ... your current version is
still word-by-word translation and far from being "fluent german".
You don't just write "using Apache under Windows" in German, you
would translate to something like "Usage of Apache under windows".
And you don't just write "the AcceptPathInfo directive" in German,
you would translate to "the directive <code>AcceptPathInfo</code>".

I understand your translation process is using several stages,
but mine would work differently, so your temporary results won't
show me what it finally should look like.
And I suggest there should be some check list of "do's" and
"don'ts" for the whole translation process - one of which should
be whether to translate as many words as possible, or rather
keep some technical notions in English (and maybe add a footnote
here and there).
Currently you are keeping very much in English, like "compiling"
- "Compilieren" (which you write with English-"c" in one place
and with German-"K" in another place) and "un-tar" -> "ent-taren",
where I would rather tend to circumscribe the meaning in German
("Übersetzen" and "auspacken" seem common German technical notions
to me - at least in this context, although "übersetzen" would also
mean "translate" in English, but "Übersetzer" is the standard term
for "compiler" in German Computer Science).
And I _would_ translate things like "core functions" (maybe to
"zentrale Funktionen" oder "Kernfunktionen"), which you didn't
do yet.
If I would do some translation it would look very different to
the one you currently have there.

On the other hand, I would try to keep technical notions in
English if they are words known to German readers of the target
group - I surely wouldn't try to translate "browser" and "server"
and the like.
Maybe the ASF themselves could supply this part of the "trans-
lation style guide" as which technical terms should rather not
be translated? This might be independent from the target lan-
guage (and thus be a discussion topic on this list for non-German
readers as well - maybe the translators to other languages might
post something about how close to the original text they wrote
their "national versions", and some list of terms _they_ didn't
translate?).

> Addicted to the date they want to publish I might not able to do
> the whole translation. But I'm already working on it and won't stop.
> So I suggest, that ASF and MITP take the running translation into
> consideration.

And to do so, I would like to ask whether both projects indeed
do have the same "task specification" and would produce results
compatible to it. What requirements should a translation of a
Apache documentation meet, if there were a trade-off between
fluent readability and exact words translation?

And whoever is doing the translation should produce a result as
close as possible to the final version.
I wouldn't like to have any technical writer to rearrange whole
sentences for more fluent reading and inadvertently destroying
some part of the logical structure of the text because of lack
of understanding what it is about. I would leave nothing but
spelling and grammar check to a person not using Apache itself.

> In my opinion option 2 (or 1) would be the best for ASF. And it
> will be possible. I could require another german native speaker
> for translation, too. We two plus ?? people from this list should
> be able to make the work.

I am not yet familiar with Apache 2 at all, but might still try
to volunteer documents of the parts I believe to have some ex-
perience (like Server Authentication, or Content Negotiation,
or Server Side Includes, or mod_autoindex), and also could do
some proof reading.
But I would like to have answers first for some questions, such
as who decides about the style of translation and how unique
should the whole work look like at the end.
Currently our two translation styles would look very incompatible
to me, and I might not be a real help to you in this stage of
the process, as neither translating nor proof reading would yet
have a real target for now.

So please take the time and publish some small part of your
translation in some _final_ version - only then I would be able
to decide if I could work in some "compatible mode".

And maybe write some document about how you believe cooperation
in the translation process is possible - how to submit stuff to
you, how to ask for documents to be translated next (you don't
want the work being done twice, so I would need to "reserve"
some document for translation, but you also need to revoke this
reservation if I am not delivering content in time and all that).
I believe you are about to produce a complete translation and
_then_ submit it to the ASF - in which case the task of coordi-
nating the work would be up to you, not the ASF.
So please tell me the rules of your game ... don't just ask for
help and offer some black box to put it into.

And please take the time to comment out all those links on your
main page http://apache.kess-net.de/ that don't lead to any trans-
lated version yet. This would take some minutes only, but after
that your starting page would show the current state of the
translation process at first sight. (Currently it contains links
to 35 documents, of which 32 are just not existing and 3 are in
about the same "first pass" stage they were two months ago.)
Or alternatively, put the normal Apache documentation tree there,
and configure your Apache to do Content Negotiation for the lan-
guage - and then use your own background color for your transla-
ted version, so that one can easily find out what is yours.
Maybe even use several background colors to indicate several
stages of translation (this might be done by some CSS class of
the <body> tag, and maybe even go into the XML data structure
of the complete Apache documentation as some "quality" field,
to indicate "outdated" and "need improvement" documents and to
generate the HTML code accordingly).
It is only a work of minutes, but it might improve the value of
the site a lot. Currently I see nothing but three documents in
some early translation stage.
Use your page to build up your reputation - not to undermine it.

CU,
     Michael
(http://www.schroepl.net/projekte/mod_gzip/)



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