Today I’m preparing to release version 3.13.0 of ICS Calendar Pro, which will be incorporating a handful of changes from ICS Calendar 9.5.0 and beyond, including the new
A big part of adding features to ICS Calendar Pro is making sure they’re accounted for in the Calendar Builder, and that means translating blocks of text into all of the languages ICS Calendar supports.
Like most people in the United States, I’m unfortunately no great polyglot, although I did study French in high school and Russian in college. As a result of that and my general undergraduate education, I have some ability to make sense of various European languages — when they have a fair number of English cognates — and I can read the Cyrillic alphabet, so I can at least transliterate that text, but I really can’t make any sense of other alphabets, which in particular poses a challenge for my efforts to translate the plugin to Greek, Korean, Chinese and Japanese (the only other alphabets currently supported), and it also offers me little help in making sense of European languages that are not as closely related to English, such as Finnish and Hungarian.
Needless to say, being a (very) small business, ICS Calendar currently relies heavily on machine translation to make all of this possible. (Plus generous assistance from users who speak the languages I am attempting to support!)
And, let’s just say, machine translation still often struggles — a lot — to deal with the nuances of language, especially when things get colloquial.
I have generally tried to avoid being too colloquial in naming features of ICS Calendar, but the new
stickymonths feature is definitely an exception there. I probably wouldn’t have chosen the term “sticky” for this, but I figured if
display: sticky; is acceptable CSS, then it’s probably OK for me to use as well.
As I worked my way through the translations for this update, I had to just trust the machine translations I got for most languages, but when I got to French, I realized immediately that all was not well, when the suggested translation for the phrase “Sticky Months” was “Les mois difficile.” Well, that certainly is one translation of the phrase, but it’s not what I intended. (I mean “sticky” in the way that Post-It Notes are generically referred to as “stickies,” not “difficult.”)
Using a few other tools, I was able to determine that a better, (though possibly still not ideal) translation would be “Mois collant.” So that’s what I’m going with. For now.
This episode definitely reinforces to me both the importance of getting translations right, and how… um… difficile that can be when relying on computers to do all the work.
So, please, if I have utterly botched the translation of any phrases into your language, accept my sincere apologies. And if you are so inclined, help me to continue to improve the plugin’s translated phrases by making suggestions for improvement. Merci beaucoup!