On using the polite/honorific form in translations

Hi all,
especially @spaceumko and @HeinrichJolla (https://together.jolla.com/users/9464/heinrichjolla/)

I came to the conclusion that the personal form of translation is more appealing, because it is my phone

  • which I personalized - giving feedback to me. It feels much better when the 3p.sg is used than 1p.pl.

I think this would apply to many other languages.

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Hi deloptes,

…relating to what problem or issue? and what language?

A different perspective is: on the other hand it is also my phone - a tool - and not my friend. So it should keep the tone professional.

Is there any specific issue you’re referring to?

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I am referring to Bulgarian, but it definitely applies to German, Russian, Dutch, Italian, French as well and perhaps many other languages.
The English “you” can be understood both ways, but I speak Bulgarian, German, Russian and Dutch. My wife Italian, Bulgarian, German, French.
She and I agreed that the personal form 2sg is more appropriate. 3pl sounds like in the clerks office :slight_smile:
As I was translating for Bulgarian I changed in most of the packages.
I wanted to hear your opinion.
Perhaps it makes sense to maintain one “polite” and one “familiar” translations :slight_smile:

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I don’t know Bulgarian… In German 3sg would be er/sie/es, engl. he/she/it
2pl in German would be ‘ihr’, engl. you (pl). In German this would be medieval age style. :slightly_smiling_face:
In German, ‘du’ is 2sg.
As I know, until now SFOS style was always young and not so polite, more familiar than official. My opinion: I like this.

Thanks I swapped 2 and 3 :slight_smile:

So you confirm that 2sg is perceived better, thanks

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As a native Bulgarian speaker, I prefer “polite” form. May be because of age - I’m 48 years old:-)
But there are other reasons that are not related to age and generation:

  1. Polite is not equal to formal/official.
  2. Sometimes 2sg sounds too familiar, other times it sounds commanding. For example, at the moment when answering a call in Bulgarian is “Отговорете”. If it becomes “Отговори” - it sounds like an order. It is better to use the impersonal noun “Отговор”, as Android translation.

There are others, but in the end the personal preferences of the translator are also important:-)

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I like this idea. Your phone should be formal until you invite it to be familiar.

“Thee thous them as thous thee!” as my father-in-law would say.

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I understand the answer, but your argument is not relevant because “Отговорете” can be interpreted also as an order. “Отговор” might be good choice.

I wonder if we can discuss this in the translation web site.

I was thinking about all of this and came to the conclusion the more familiar form is for me the form of choice.

If it goes into the next version, have a look and let me know, what you think.

The question is if the overhead can be managed and is also desired by Sailfish. Who can set it up? I recall there were pretty amusing localisations/translations of KDE. I am not sure if this is still the case.

BTW the translators decided to use the adverb “Набиране”, “Позвъняване”, “Отговаряне” и т.н.

My opinion is that impersonal nouns should be used where possible.
Where is on the translation web site can this be discussed?

Pootle does not have/support discussions. So the right place is the ‘Localisation’ category on this very forum.

Just a few remarks on this question:

In theory this should apply to any language:

Please try to be informal if that feels natural in your language. Avoid mentioning pronouns.

Quoted from the Official Sailfish Localisation Style Guide (pick any language)

French for example uses ‘vous’, which is more formal but that depends on the language and cultural context. Although I have used French for long and found it’s formal style natural, I’m not a native speaker so can’t really assess which style is more appropriate.

For German this discussion already happened. We follow the request from Jolla’s guide lines and use informal voice (2nd person singular).

I have an opinion about translating: As a translator, my job is to translate as close to the original source as possible while making the text sound natural in the target language. That’s actually the definition of Translation as a profession. My opinion is not so relevant for that job, but my skill.
So personally I’d stick to the informal translation as officially defined and provide a community package for a formal style if that’s requested by many.

But whatever you prefer and decide to pick: Write it down and create a dedicated style guide for Bulgarian. This way your translations stay consistent and the next generation of translators can build upon your work.

Thanks, this was good information. I will put it on the todo to read, learn and probably create a style guide, if no one has created already or will create before me.
BTW I also visited the department for translation at the local university, so the basics are clear.
As we live in a very polite world, I was trying to see if someone will be annoyed as I already updated most of the translation sources.