Re: TODO icons and labels

Subject: Re: TODO icons and labels
From: Paul Rohr (
Date: Mon Mar 12 2001 - 13:21:35 CST

At 03:54 PM 3/11/01 -0800, Kevin Vajk wrote:
>If bugging translators is the goal, I have another suggestion.
>At startup time, if the translation is not 100% complete, pop
>up a window which says "This translation is not complete; some
>menu items may be in English". Having to click OK to this
>every time abiword starts should be sufficiently motivating,
>but it won't prevent regular users from getting their work done.
>But maybe this would be too annoying, I don't know.

As the original instigator of the "annoy translators" meme and code, I
should jump in here.

There's clearly a distinction between icons and text, and the prior code
(the quick TODO hacks) didn't do a good job of acknowledging that.

In over 90% of cases, the en-US icon we choose *will* be appropriate for
users in most or all other locales. Always hiding the right choice behind a
TODO icon is rude. I apologize, and am quite relieved that Joaquín has
added the necessary code to do the Right Thing. Thanks.

Strings are somewhat different, insofar as the en-US choice is almost always
wrong. The real question is what's the best way to bring specific instances
of this to the attention of *anyone* who could fix the translation. Sure we
have a nice script on the website, but if that hasn't done the job, I'd be
just as happy if user #43524 of the xx-YY version would know to step up and
supply the fix.

Hiding information behind a naked TODO is pretty rude here too, so we ought
to be able to do better. The reason I've disliked a totally transparent
en-US fallback for strings is that it doesn't make clear that we *know* it's
broken, and would prefer to have a fix.

Which alternative do people feel strikes the right balance?

1. silently fall back to en-US
PROS: doesn't annoy
CONS: doesn't annoy, looks broken

2. localized warning dialog on launch
PROS: annoys once
CONS: very annoying, not localized

3. adding an explicit prefix to fallback strings
For example, you might run across a menu item that said "(en-US) Document"
or "(translate) Document" instead of the localized "Documento" or whatever.

PROS: localized annoyance
CONS: looks ugly, too

4. something else

I still like the idea of a self-correcting process, where *one* fr-FR user
will be sufficiently annoyed to supply the missing translation, but we don't
piss off everyone else too much to achieve that result.


PS: I'm ashamed to admit that I'm not terribly sympathetic when folks with
CVS access complain about gaps in the translations they use, instead of just
fixing them. That's totally en-US-centric of me, isn't it?

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