Quality of Russian translation

Yesterday, I’ve pulled latest changes to discourse and found that the quality of russian translation has decreased significantly. I suppose this has to do with the introduction of translation agency.

Let me start by saying that the quality of translation before was amazing. Discourse was really the only non-Russian software I’ve ever seen to have a language that doesn’t feel like it was translated: it felt like it was written in the Russian in the first place.

Sadly, this has changed.

js.user.summary.title became “Спойлер” (literal transliteration of Spoiler). I’m sorry, what? I can’t even find a reason to make this change, this really seems like a mistake. I don’t recall what it used to be, but “Сводка” is a nice option.

js.badges.title used to be “Награды” (something close to “Awards” and “Rewards”), now it became “Значки” (literal translation of Badges). This is definitely more of a judgement call, and it seemed more appropriate when that judgment call was made by crowd of people, who actually use the software. “Значки” may be the correct literal translation, but it doesn’t convey as much information as “Награды” did. I suppose “Badges” may work for English users because of connotation that this word bears, but in Russian nowadays this word is first and foremost associated with “graphical icon”, then with something worn by politicians/government/military.

js.about.simple_title used to be “О форуме” (meaning “About this forum”) and became “Информация” (literal translation of the word “Information”). The word “Информация” on its own bears 0 meaning. The user is left to ponder “Information about what?” and doesn’t know the answer until he clicks. “О форуме” in contrast, is much more descriptive.

js.review.title used to be “Пре-модерация” (meaning “pre-moderation”) and became “Очередь проверки” (meaning “Queue for Testing/Verification/Validation/Review”) which again bears much less information because the word “проверка” has much broader meaning than “review” when we include connotation and typical use into account. If we want to translate “Review” literally, we’d have to do something like “На рассмотрении” which will be close to “Pending review”, but again, “Pre-moderation” is much richer and bears the connotation of reviewing reports.

js.posts used to be “Сообщения” and became “Записи” leading to absurd things like “запись написана” in profile summary. The question of how to translate “Posts” to Russian is a tough one – there’s no one-to-one mapping. “Сообщения” is probably closer to “Messages” while “Записи” is closer to either “Recording” (yes, can you imagine) or “Note” (more reasonable), and especially nowadays the word “Запись” is used much more often in the former meaning.

“Сообщения” (Messages) may not be ideal but it’s been used pretty much in all forums I’ve ever seen (not just Discourse ones). Facebook translates “posts” as “публикации” (“publications”) which is definitely better than “Записи” but for forums “Сообщения” looks better.

I also notice that they’re just getting started to make this change as some things are still “Сообщения” while others are already “Записи”. This is confusing.

I hope I’m not alone in this sentiment because ideally I’d like @team to reconsider whether they really need the translation agency for Russian language.

The state of “translation business” in Russia is not ideal. Crowdsourced translations may be better than those made by people with diplomas from highly respected universities.

7 Likes

Thanks for your feedback! We appreciate it.

I’d like to hear what @meglio, @likhobory and all the other Russian translators and users have to say about the current state of the Russian translations.

We will definitely discuss this issue with the translation agency and forward your feedback. I was already a little bit concerned when I noticed that the Russian translations were done outside of Crowdin. We never got a single question from the Russian translator which is a red flag to me because there are plenty of English source strings that are quite hard to translate without any context. :thinking:

Worst case is that we will roll all Russian translations back to a state before the translation agency worked on them. Please give us a couple of days to figure this out.

cc @Dax

9 Likes

:+1: :+1: :+1:

I note that I am not a professional translator and I do not speak English very well, but I have been an active user of the forum engine for several years and I am directly interested in high-quality Russian translation.

After a cursory comparison of the commits, I did not have a good impression of the new Russian translation.

If necessary, I could add my 5 cents to the list of questions for translators, but in general I agree with @hiddenseal: some terms in the new translation look very strange, without any connection with the context.

Sometimes it seems that they used an automatic translator, in some cases even what should have been left without translation was translated, for example:

-            from_placeholder: "from@gsp-example.com"
-            to_placeholder: "to@gsp-example.com"
-            cc_placeholder: "cc@gsp-example.com"
+            from_placeholder: "от@gsp-пример.ком"
+            to_placeholder: "для@gsp-пример.ком"
+            cc_placeholder: "cc@gsp-пример.ком"

-            address_placeholder: "name@gsp-example.com"
+            address_placeholder: "имя@gsp-пример.ком"

-    logout_redirect: "Адрес страницы для перенаправления после выхода из аккаунта (например: https://example.com/logout)"
+    logout_redirect: "Адрес страницы для перенаправления после выхода из учётной записи (например: https://примерная_ссылка.ком/выход)"
6 Likes

Thats pretty worrying if true

3 Likes

Another thing I’ve noticed is that they’ve translated “Likes” to “Лайки” (direct transliteration). It used to be “Симпатии” (meaning somewhere between “Sympathy” and “Liking”).

Interestingly, in Russian, the word sympathy can have a meaning of “(an expression of) understanding and care for someone else’s suffering” (Cambridge Dictionary) like in English, but it’s almost never used in that sense colloquially and mainly has a meaning of “I like it”.

Part of the problem with the word “Like” is that it has a translation as a verb (нравиться) but not as a noun, which leads most websites to use it in transliteration. As I said, Discourse had a different choice and it actually was refreshing & pleasing, to some extent.

@likhobory @meglio I wonder if you were the people who made the decision to use “Симпатии” or if you knew why that decision was made and/or what you personally prefer.

Now that the translation is back to “лайки” it feels a bit out place, but it’s hard to argue it’s a bad thing given how prevalent the “лайки” are.

4 Likes

The term “Sympathies” was already used when I joined the translation, and I consider it quite successful, also because it is possible to do without direct borrowing from another language, but this is my personal preference, and I am sure that supporters the term “Like” will find enough counterarguments.

But this is not the biggest problem of the new translation.

Gross translation errors are much more embarrassing, for example, the translation of words used in conjunction with various numerals.

For non-Russian speaking users: the highlighted translation is not correct.

5 Likes

@gerhard I have not been active in Ukrainian/Russian translation and translation moderation since ~2 years ago, but if Discourse needs help with it, I can get active with it again.

I can confirm that the quality of translations deteriorated since then.

I have a clear understanding and a strategy/plan of how to improve, normalize, and streamline the translations. I wrote a few articles here at Meta about how to do high quality translations, and I “know the math” if I can say so:

  • building up a dictionary so that all translations follow same style
  • translating a few terms / phrases that belong to the same context at once
  • enriching the translation tool with screenshots with the context
  • fixing Russian-text-that-sounds-like-English, and avoiding translating word-by-word (that’s what many people do)
  • relying on the materials about how to translate from English to Russian writted by well known Russian professionals in Design, Writing, and Linguistics, such as Artemy Lebedev, Maksim Ilyahov (his book, his bio), etc.
  • Asking Discourse developers to add translation variations where they are missing (you can check my Activity history and find plenty of such topics asking for variations)

If I were to assess the current state of both Russian and Ukrainian translations, I’d give it 5 out of 10.

P.S. Also, it doesn’t matter what a dictionary says, because that’s not what people use in real life, and is it not how people name UI elements when they build Russian or Ukrainian websites. If you rely on dictionaries all the time, the UI ends up sounding very weird. You have to make it sound natural, not academic.

3 Likes

That’s roughly what I was implying, but you’ve said it more eloquently.

I’d be willing to contribute to the translation too.

Can discourse support 3 different endings?

  • 1 ссылка
  • 2 ссылки
  • 5 ссылок

Or “сообщение, сообщения, сообщений”?

2 Likes

@meglio
I have been using the forum engine since December 2019 and at the same time I took part in the translation on precisely because I was also not satisfied with the quality of the Russian translation available at that time.
It would be great if you could share your experience and point out specific existing inaccuracies (excluding changes made by the translation agency since October 2022) and together we could solve all translation problems much more efficiently.

Of course, 3 special keys are used for this purpose (one, few and other) and it all worked fine.

Unfortunately, in the updated translation the values of these keys were translated incorrectly, which led to sad results.

3 Likes

Quick update: The translation agency is trying to fix the translations. Let’s see how that goes. Please keep an eye on the translations and continue to give feedback over the next weeks.

4 Likes

It seems like they fixed some egregious errors with endings for numerals.

Imgur

Imgur

Also, they switched back to Награды for Badges (but it still says Значки in admin panel)

still not fixed

They switched back to About this forum, which is nice.

However, they kept their new names for posts and likes. I’d still argue “Записи” is a bit controversial for Posts, but likes is a moot point. Although if they are ready to use “лайк” for likes, i.e. they don’t seem to be concerned about purity of the language, then I find less reasons why they’d keep this change

All in all, there’s some positive movement. @gerhard do you see value in asking them to provide short argumentation for why they decided to translate Posts as “Записи” and then sharing it publicly here? Not necessarily to argue against it, at least to know why a deliberate change was made.

3 Likes

They are still working on reviewing the translations, so it’s possible that more changes will come in the upcoming weeks.

@dax Can we forward that request?

3 Likes

Were you able to ascertain how these issues crept in to begin with? Was it via automation, or just human error?

1 Like

No, and in the end it doesn’t really matter. We were promised that all Russian translations will be reviewed, we are getting lots of questions from them and things seem to be improving. Let’s give them a bit more time.

3 Likes

Sure, forwarded :+1:

2 Likes

I’m not sure if the agency introduced this or not since I didn’t have to deal with silencing users before, but right now, the Silence action is translated as “Заблокировать” (literally – Block/Ban), while Suspend is translated as “Заморозить” (literally – Freeze).

Personally, I’d expect the “Заморозить” to be less severe than “Заблокировать” and would imagine “Заморозить” corresponds to Silence, not Suspend. “Заморозить” definitely has a temporary connotation, while “Заблокировать” is almost always used in social media to mean “Ban” or something permanent.

I also ran a vote among users of my forum asking them to match words “Заморозить” and “Заблокировать” to “Unable to post but can watch” and “Unable to log in”. By an 18-to-1 vote people chose that, intuitively, “Заморозить” should correspond to Silence, not Suspend.

This is actually pretty annoying as I’ve accidentally suspended a user when acting upon a flag when my intention was to silence them.

P.S. js.user.summary.title is still “Спойлер” (Spoiler) for whatever reason…

3 Likes

I absolutely agree with the complaints above. The Russian translation has become terrible!

2 Likes

This also seems confusing to me. But this translation was introduced a long time ago, not by the agency.

It’s hard to tell for sure now, but it seems it played out this way because in the past, “silencing” was actually called “blocking” in Discourse (so at that time there were two options: suspending and blocking):

So at that time “block” was translated directly as “Заблокировать” which is reasonable. Then the English term was changed to “silencing”, but the translation wasn’t (which is not the problem by itself, but unfortunately if consider it together with “suspending” this all became confusing).

We’ll ask the agency to have a close look at this problem.

We hear you here. I, personally also think that the previous translation “Сообщения” was better, we’re discussing this with the agency.

I also agree here. “Спойлер” doesn’t really work. The old translation “Сводка” was good, we’re going to fix it.

In general, we’re working with the agency on fixing problems. As you can see, they already fixed many problems reported here.

In the meantime, I’d like to ask anyone who’s interested in this, if you see other translations that look weird, please don’t hesitate to report them here.

3 Likes

Just navigated through our forum a bit and I can confirm that the translations are still lacking quality. Hopefully the agency is still in the middle of translating/reviewing.

1 Like

Just a few things to highlight:

wrong ending for Unread

Last line in “Similar Topics” block is not translated at all (the screen is with the Russian interface)

Pause notifications is not translated
image

And now another topic for a holy war…

First of all, the sentence looks bizarre. For one thing, I’d argue with the choice of preposition “на канале” instead of more commongly used (and apparently recommended) “в канале”.

4 Likes