Ubuntu Translations Interviews: Aron Xu (Simplified Chinese Team)


Ubuntu is brought to users in their own language by a large community of volunteer translators, who tirelessly work on localizing every part of the operating system on every release.

In this series of interviews we’ll get to know who they are, about their language and how they work.

This week we’re introducing you to Aron Xu, the Simplified Chinese translation team coordinator.

Could you tell us a bit about you and the language you help translate Ubuntu into?

My name is Aron Xu, a high school student, and it will be my senior year from Sept, 2010. Now I am working as the leader of Ubuntu Simplified Chinese translators, committer on GNOME/KDE, and translator on the TP (translationproject.org) to help translate Ubuntu and other free software to Simplified Chinese (zh_CN), and being a member of the Ubuntu Translations Coordinators team to help on general problems in the Ubuntu translation community.

How and when did you become an Ubuntu translator?

My first contributed string was submitted via Launchpad in July, 2008. Soon I was accepted as an official member of Ubuntu Simplified Chinese Translators team. In Sept, 2008, I started my work on GNOME translations as a translator.

What other projects do you help with inside the community?

Apart from helping translating Ubuntu (upstream projects like GNOME/KDE/Debian and Ubuntu specific things) and coordinating work between teams, I am also helping with some separate projects like Pidgin, Enlightenment, etc.

Do you belong to an Ubuntu LoCo team? If so, which one?

Of course yes, I belong to Ubuntu China LoCo team, and work as a core member on event organization and infrastructure administration.

How can people who want to help with translating Ubuntu and all the various pieces and parts into your language get started?

We have quite a few documents about how to start translating various kinds of free software and what the requirements on quality are. People who want to start working can simply find the documents on our LoCo Wiki and contact the correct team to get more help if needed.

What’s the desktop experience for Ubuntu users in your language? Is Ubuntu in your language popular among native speakers?

User experience in Simplified Chinese is quite good now, but there are still some unresolved issues in font, input method and encoding fields. We are working with developers who are related and trying to get rid of them in the near future.

Ubuntu is still not so popular in China, but the amount of users is increasing rapidly. Most people had learned about Windows during their education at school; we need to work harder to promote Ubuntu to let them know it and fall in love with it.

Where does your team need help?

Although Ubuntu is not so popular compared with Windows in China, the number of users is still very large. We have 245190 registered users on our LoCo forum and I believe there are much more users in reality. One of the most important problems getting on the way of more people switching to Ubuntu is that they would like to have a fully localized environment with the Live CD or at the very moment that installation has completed, so our team wants to have full Simplified Chinese language packs and usable input method shipped with the official CD in future releases.

We know that Ubuntu has the ability to install language support during/after the installation, but new users always get confused when they boot the system with the Live CD and complete the installation without active Internet connection. In the Lucid release cycle, we had tried to get the language packs into Live CD in daily builds, but they were finally removed because of disk space arguments without any notification sent to us, which disappointed so much Chinese users. We need somebody to tell us how can we get our language packs into the CD without final removal. Ubuntu will have a considerable number of new users in this simple way, why not regard Chinese language packs as other ones already in the CD that are preferred not to be removed because of disk space?

Do you know of any projects or organizations where Ubuntu is used in your language?

There are several commercial groups has started to use Ubuntu with commercial Canonical support subscription. Some middle schools have make Ubuntu as their essential part of computer class, such as Chengdu Foreign Language School.

What do you feel is the most rewarding part of translating Ubuntu?

It is simple to explain, I feel really happy when I see people running software that I’ve worked on.

Is there anything else about your team or translation efforts that I haven’t asked you about that you would like to talk about?

Ubuntu Simplified Chinese Translators is a big team formed by over 80 members, and the number of contributors is over 300 as recorded in the Ubuntu China Translations Contributors team in Launchpad. We don’t have the problem of lacking contributors, but such a big amount of people caused some difficulties in team management. I’d like to say it’s better to have more translators upstream like GNOME/KDE to work on the body part of translations, and only keep a suitable number of translators to work on Ubuntu specified strings in Launchpad. So, we are having a Restricted team policy to keep the team from growing out of control, then send new contributors to upstream and add them to Ubuntu China Translations Contributors team to have a clear membership in rewarding of their contribution.

As a member of Ubuntu Translations Coordinators team, I found there are problems on the position definition of Ubuntu Translators during my routine work. It is a topic that is worth discussing and maybe some changes could be made by teams in the Ubuntu translation community.

Become an Ubuntu Translator

Do you speak languages? Join the our translation community and make Ubuntu accessible to everyone in their own language. You can:

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