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.

As there was opposition in using the 2.sg., I review the translations and revert back to 2.pl. where applicable.
As discussed in the translation interface we prefer using the adverb, where possible.

I’m fine with the informal “jij” in Dutch. Maybe it’s because I’m relatively young, but I’ve never been addressed with the formal “u” and I personally only used to people I don’t know who are at least a generation older than me or in very formal settings. But I wouldn’t mind that much if the polite form was used in the translation either.

As long as the tone of the language tries to be somewhat in the direction of “I’m helping you to getting things done together”, but doesn’t go to the direction of “Hi, I’m your phone and your best friend. We can do anything together!” and trying it’s best to “appeal” to the youth, it’s fine for me. An example of the last could be if the string describing backups was something in the direction of “Create a back-up to protect you personal data, like your documents, your music and your precious cat pictures”. That annoys the heck out of me.

I can’t tell about how the southern neighbours, the Flemish, feel about that, since from what I’ve noticed they seem to care a bit more about the honorific form than us, the Dutch, but I could be easily mistaken.

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That’s correct, we certainly align more with our southern neighbours in that regard. Then again, Flemish itself doesn’t even have any polite pronouns, everyone is just ‘ge’ (or, of course, ‘gij’ when stressed), ‘u’ is just the object form. As it used to be in Dutch many centuries ago…

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I think I got what I was asking for.
I went through the translations and fixed using the polite form. Apperently it looks like it is still preferred over the informal.

I fixed also many typos, missing commas and inconsistencies.

I hope now everybody will be happy