I have been looking at the translation of Ubuntu 16.04 as project management case study and I was really curious about the number of languages which would be 'fully translated' for this release. They have jumped from over 40 (prior to the release) to 100 now (according to http://www.ubuntu.com/desktop).

The completion status given by launchpad (https://translations.launchpad.net/ubuntu/xenial/+translations) however, doesn't have a single language at 100%. What is the criteria a language needs to meet to be 'fully translated'? And can anyone give an account of the sudden jump from over 40 to 100?

Any information on this would be greatly appreciated!



I can only answer authoritatively with respect to the Ubuntu Official documentation on help.ubuntu.com, however for Ubuntu desktop, the same stuff is also in the yelp based help package.

The Ubuntu Serverguide is published in about 64 languages, however only French Italian and Russian seem to somewhat keep up. It is published in all languages regardless of the percentage complete on the translations status, meaning some languages are basically just U.S. English. There were very late changes to the serverguide this cycle, and so translations are behind. We published what we had yesterday anyhow. We are still struggling to get subject matter expert input for several chapters which are obsolete, Samba for example. There will need to be point releases. The PDF version of the serverguide is only published in US English.

Since the serverguide is NOT a released package we not bound by any SRU (Stable release Update) rules. Also, it has been our observation, over a number of years now, at least with respect to the serverguide, that translators work on it when they feel so inclined and not to any deadline. Therefore I always offer to just to an update publish whenever asked to, rather on some fixed timeline. We have never been asked.

The desktop help documents are also published as a package and as part of the language pack, and therefore must adhere to the release schedule and SRU rules. It is published in about 66 languages, regardless of the translations percent complete. Basically, a snapshot of translations is taken at the release schedule deadline, but work can continue thereafter towards a point release. Late changes to the naming of "Ubuntu Software" from "Software" which had just changed from "Ubuntu Software Center" missed all deadlines and will have to be an SRU update, probably about the 16.04.1 date.

By the way, that link you gave for the translations status, does not include the serverguide, something that has annoyed me for years now.

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  • If I understand it correctly, ubuntu.com/desktop is about Ubuntu desktop only. There is no claim about translation coverage at ubuntu.com/server . – Gunnar Hjalmarsson Apr 22 '16 at 18:19
  • @GunnarHjalmarsson: fair comment. I just assumed the question was about the overall translation project, and the link was just one reference, of the many possible. – Doug Smythies Apr 22 '16 at 20:45
  • The OP may want to clarify. As mentioned in my answer and the bug report, I consider the number to be incorrect for the desktop (and even more incorrect if it would actually refer to the whole Ubuntu project including server and flavors). – Gunnar Hjalmarsson Apr 22 '16 at 23:20
  • Thank you, this has been really insightful. Basically I have been trying to roughly evaluate the success of using a time-based release schedule for the translations. I am interested in the whole of the Ubuntu project but the desktop cought my eye in particular because of the claimed drastic increase in language availability. I wanted to find data that supports the claims made about translation, but other than information on Launchpad I don't know where to look. – Iggy Apr 23 '16 at 8:55
  • @Iggy: It's a little tricky to get the whole picture. One way to get a better understanding is to get involved in one of the best working translation teams. – Gunnar Hjalmarsson Apr 23 '16 at 14:16

I'm afraid I can't explain the number; IMO it's not correct, so I just filed a bug report.

Personally I would define "fully translated" for the desktop as a translation coverage which gives a user experience essentially in the native language for 'normal' desktop use. The translation status page includes a lot of irrelevant packages/strings for such desktop use, e.g. specific to the server, Ubuntu flavors, or error messages for various 'expert' command line tools.

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  • Thank you. I take it that other than the translation status page there is no other information which clarifies the status of the translations? Also does the information @doug smythies mentioned about the Ubuntu help documents apply to the desktop - that is, a snapshot is taken of translations regardless of their completion on the deadline? But there must be some kind of completion criteria which makes a translation fit for release so to speak? – Iggy Apr 23 '16 at 9:05
  • I think there is may be some sort of completion % criteria for some of the packages, but I don't really know. You can drill down into the translations status roll up to gain further insight into individual languages or packages. – Doug Smythies Apr 23 '16 at 13:55
  • @Iggy: As regards the latter: Yes, as Doug said there are completion criteria for deciding if a language pack should be released or not. (I can't describe them, though.) For web publishing of the docs we don't currently apply such criteria. Also, there are other tools but the translation status page you linked to. One example is this page for Ubuntu Touch specific translations. However, I think this topic tend to be too wide to fit as an Ask Ubuntu question. – Gunnar Hjalmarsson Apr 23 '16 at 14:06

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