1.4.  Level 1

1.4.1.  Contents

Level 1 consists of all core Debian Installer packages, i.e. all packages with translatable material in the Debian Installer development tree.

Most parts of the translatable material is spread over core Debian Installer packages. The package development is handled in the main Debian Installer Subversion (SVN) repository.

Some material (country names and keyboard maps names) are handled in non core Debian Installer packages. This material will be part of the level 2 of translations.

Level 1 is the key for a language being fully integrated in Debian Installer. A language will be activated by Debian Installer i18n coordinators only when the first two sublevels are completely translated.

1.4.2.  Sublevels

In the past, all Debian Installer level 1 strings were gathered into a single master file. While that was easy to manage, it had the inconvenience of grouping very important and often used strings with very obscure strings that are relevant for some architectures only, or some special (and rarely used) features.

In order for translators to better prioritize their work, this master file has been split into five sublevel files:

  • Sublevel 1: strings used for default installs on common architectures

  • Sublevel 2: general strings not used during default installs. Includes error messages and dialogs

  • Sublevel 3: expert strings (some low priority features such as RAID, encrypted partitions, etc.)

  • Sublevel 4: specific to less-popular arches (powerpc, mips, sparc) or used in experimental features

  • Sublevel 5: same for high-end (hppa, ia64, s390, s390x) and hobby (m68k) arches and old stuff (partconf, +partitioner, that are replaced by partman for a while)

1.4.3.  Files location and access methods

Translators should remember that using SVN is strongly encouraged as this is the only way for them to commit their own translations.

To begin the translation work for sublevel 1, translators should copy the packages/po/sublevel1/template.pot to <language>.po (where <language> is the ISO-639 code of the language, see Appendix F, Languages codes) and complete this file. The same stands for other sublevels.

1.4.4.  Updating/Adding translations

Translation updates should be done by direct commits to the Debian Installer SVN repository (see Appendix B, Some basic notions about SVN for details about SVN use). In case this is absolutely impossible, these updates can be sent as bug reports against the debian-installer package (see Appendix D, Reporting bugs against Debian packages for details).

1.4.5.  Prioritizing work

Translators should read Section 1.3, “ Prioritizing work ” to choose the best priority order for their work on sublevels.

1.4.6.  Specific recommendations

The Debian Installer core file uses hundreds of strings which represent the content of the screens which are or may be shown to Debian Installer users during the installation process.

Several of these strings are commented with indications or hints for translators.

1.4.6.1.  Limited length strings

Several strings are limited in length. This means they should not exceed 65 characters for single-width character languages and 32 characters for double-width character languages such as CJK (Chinese/Japanese/Korean) and similar languages.

This constraint may be checked by the scripts/l10n/choices-check.pl script from the Debian Installer development tree:

scripts/l10n/choices-check.pl < packages/po/<language>.po

This script will output the offending line(s) number(s) as well as the number of characters in this/these line(s).

1.4.6.2.  Choose language menu entry

This entry is the language selection screen entry for each language. Translators can translate it but they should keep Choose language in English as an alternative so that users mistakenly choosing a language can still find the appropriate entry to change it back to their own language.

1.4.6.3.  Main menu entries

Most Debian Installer packages have a main menu entry, which is the text that appears in the Debian Installer main menu to allow users to select the corresponding action.

The length of this main menu entry is limited to 58 columns, i.e. 58 characters for single-width languages and only 29 characters for double-width languages. These main menu entries all have a comment with Main menu item in the PO and POT files.

1.4.6.4.  Variable names

Many places in Debian Installer use variables (e.g. ${LOCALE} is currently not supported in Debian). The variable names should not be translated and be kept inside braces prepended by the dollar sign in the translation.

This constraint is checked by the spell checking scripts, which report these errors separately (see Chapter 7, Translations spellchecking for details about the spell checking scripts).

Advanced translation software such as lokalize are able to visually display such errors and warn about them before saving files.

1.4.6.5.  Choices entries

Several entries in PO files are unsplit choices lists such as:

#. Type: select
#. Choices
#: ../netcfg-common.templates:124
msgid "Infrastructure (Managed) network, Ad-hoc network (Peer to peer)"
msgstr ""

For these translations, translators should take care of separating all choices with a normal comma sign, even if commas are not used in their language. Only standard commas should be used and not special commas such as those used by the Arabic language.

Commas should not be used inside individual choices unless they are properly escaped with a backslash (\) character:

For instance, the following is incorrect:

#. Type: select
#. Choices
#: ../netcfg-common.templates:124
msgid "Infrastructure (Managed) network, Ad-hoc network (Peer to peer)"
msgstr "Infrastructure network, also called Managed, Ad-hoc network, or peer to peer"

While this is correct:

#. Type: select
#. Choices
#: ../netcfg-common.templates:124
msgid "Infrastructure (Managed) network, Ad-hoc network (Peer to peer)"
msgstr "Infrastructure network\, also called Managed, Ad-hoc network\, or peer to peer"

Such errors are detected by the spellchecker scripts (see Chapter 7, Translations spellchecking).

1.4.6.6.  Default mirror country

A special string from the choose-mirror package is intended to setup the default Debian archive mirror country, depending on the language. Translators should put there the ISO-3166 code of the country to be used as default, most often their own country name, or the country their language is spoken in. For instance, the Brazilian Portuguese translator will use BR as translation there, as this is the ISO-3166 code for Brazil.

Such errors are detected by the spellchecker scripts (see Chapter 7, Translations spellchecking).

1.4.6.7.  Partman entries

A few entries in the partman are limited to 8 symbols only. Translators must be VERY careful about not exceeding this value, otherwise, the display in the partman screens will be badly broken.