Ardour Translations - Bad Idea?
One of my Linux systems has Czech locale, which means Ardour runs with Czech translation as well. It is very hard to use for me - although Czech is my first language, the menu entries and GUI signs barely make sense for me.
Don't get me wrong please, I don't disrespect anyone's work - the translator is probably not the one to blame. I would't be able to do it much better. The problem is that most of the terms is standardized and commonly known in English anyway, and trying to translate them leads to a lot of confusion (sometimes funny, nevertheless annoying).
Given a group of Czech sound engineers and musicians would discuss some audio related topic - they wouldn't talk about "zvukový stroj", but "audio engin". They'd try to deal with "latency" instead of "prodleva", and I've never heard anyone mention "směšovač", since everybody knows what "mixer" (or "mixák") means. And so on. Yes, if I tried hard, I could find couple of genuine Czech words still used in the industry among local pros, but quite marginally, and all of them have commonly known and fully understandable English equivalents.
Which brings me to the thought:
Isn't the idea of localizing a DAW software just mistaken?
The more I think about it, the more I tend to think so.
I don't really know the situation in other languages, but i bet it is similar. When you buy a piece of audio equipment made in Germany, France, Spain or Japan, it'll typically have standard English signs on it - for good reason. It is industry standard, so it just makes the life a bit easier this way, for the manufacturers and users alike.
I don't really see any practical pluses of translations (apart of questionable promo effect of marketing Ardour as a fully localized DAW). I assume that close to 100% of potential Ardour users either have some knowledge of English or enough skills/possibilities to solve this problem (dictionaries, online translators, help of friends etc.) - a person without these resource would hardly setup a Linux computer, understand Ardour web enough to handle its download policy, learn how Jack works, instal Ardour etc. And long-term wise, even for a person with zero English knowledge, it is still better to invest some effort, look up those words and learn them, than get used to a set of obscure non-standard terms that nobody else would understand!
Dropping the translations would also erase some related problems like packaging issues or scrambled GUI because of unexpected line lengths.
Translations cost considerable effort lot of people. What a waste of manpower, especially in open-source project like this, where manpower is such a precious commodity! Wouldn't it be better to direct translators' effort to something that would actually make things easier for everybody, like testing or documentation?
Managing the translations also requires some time and attention from the devs side, which could be dedicated to something more useful instead.
Please do not take this too seriously. I know this may sound a little lofty and really, no offense intended. I admit that my opinion is still not rock solid on this, it's just an idea open for discussion. So please let me know what you think or try to correct me if I'm wrong.