Eltrans: How to improve the English sentences in Elive (proofreading)

If you want to help proofreading the original english messages of the applications, please read carefully how we do it, its very important to follow the correct procedure:


  • The original messages wrote on the applications are made by Thanatermesis which has not native english, in fact we used to say that is not English but Tarzanic, fortunately, it was improved over time :slight_smile:
  • These original messages are meant to be fully explanatory, but necessarily not clear and short (which is important to be), and sometimes are hard to understand
  • The original messages are the ones from all the other languages are based from, and so this means:
    • if the original message to communicate something is wrong, it will be an incorrect message in all other messages
    • the automated pre-translations will be entirely messed up
    • (much) more work for the translators


We use eltrans to improve in multiple sides these messages (we poorly call the procedure "proofreading"), by selecting the language to translate to "en" (English), the improved messages are inserted back into the source code and then all the translations are updated with these ones.

That's why it is important to have them correctly proofread before they are translated, otherwise all the work by the translators will be for nothing (messages will change to other ones)

So we get the original message in Eltrans, brainstorm its meaning and the way its communicated, we paste it in our reverse-engineered magic-trick :magick: (explained later), and start modifying it trying to make it shorter and clear, also using this magic-trick we make sure it uses the perfect grammar needed for its purpose, this also gives us (almost?) perfect pre-translations by default, which saves a lot of time to the translators.

This basically means that: Elive doesn't needs to be translated, but ONLY improved its original messages :eyepopping: :magick:


  • IMPORTANT: at this moment only a few people are allowed to do the proofreading step, we need to ensure the quality of the messages and the correct meaning of them
  • open Eltrans, set your translation language to "en"
  • ignore (close) the warning message about "fix language" (English to English notification)
  • open this tab in your browser: https://translate.google.com (in incognito mode) , set the language "from" to "auto-detect" and the target to a language you know very well (e.g. French)
  • paste the message to it, and start modifying the sentence to make it shorter and easier to understand, without redundant messages, more clever, and verify that it correctly auto-translates in the other box (this means changing the words as needed for that), for example:

Check the news in your corner tray. Right click on it to exit
was rewrote to:
Review the news in the corner gadget. Right click on it to exit

  • modify it until you see that the translated version looks perfect in your language
  • finally: copy your modified (final / reviewed) English sentence (not the translated one!) and paste it back to eltrans (or use Ctrl + b if the original message was correct)
  • press Ctrl + Enter to go to the next one
  • If you are unable to make a message correctly auto-translate, just go with the next one, another proofreader might be able to
    • this happens sometimes specially with short sentences, for example with the message "Converting files" from thunar-audio-converter, which translates to "Convert files"

Suggestion: you can use "sapling" browser plugin, it gives really good suggestions for a correct grammar... Note: it might not work on Google Translate

Development notes: When the original messages are modified, and the package is rebuilt, the source code is replaced with the new sentences, then the other translations are updated with these new messages, this means that is needed one or two builds of the package, which should be auto-detected (so let's wait 1-2 days to be auto-dected), before to do a translation to another language on this one


  • When the translation doesn't looks correct in their structure, adding a period (.) or comma (,) between the sentences can change the translation drastically and look more correct
  • When special words should not be translated like "kernel" or "root", you can try to write them in caps or camel-case, like "Kernel" and "Root"
  • Sometimes you can found very unclear messages, they are probably wrote very long time ago when my English was much worse, feel free to rephrase it entirely :slight_smile:


  • Your root partition looks full --> "Tu partición raíz se ve completa" -- "completed" is not the proper term here, so:
  • Your root partition looks filled up --> Su partición raíz se ve llena -- "llena" is a more correct word, but the translation stills wrong because of the word "looks", which has been the main problem of the entire sentence, so:
  • Your root partition is full --> Su partición raíz está llena -- This is a correct translation, so this English sentence is a good one to use
    • Note that in order to keep the original meaning of "looks", which probably its meaning is that is not very clear the size used on it, we should use seems instead of 'is'

  • "Close" (to close a gadget in the systray corner) --> "Cerca" (near), is completely incorrect, so I used instead:
  • "Close window" --> "Cerrar ventana" (correct translation, it's not exactly correct (ventana = a window you'd find on a house) but it is what the user expects to understand for this action, so it's valid

  • Strongly Rephrased example:
    • Do you want to install the privative drivers of Nvidia? We suggest to use it to have a better experience, it offers 3D acceleration and other features like a smoother desktop, it is most of the times also more stable than the free-drivers
    • "Do you want to install the proprietary graphical drivers of Nvidia? Some computers needs them, while other ones works better with the open drivers. You must try both modes to know which one is more suitable for you."

In this example I found a lot of differences by using different words like "free drivers" (gratis drivers) or "proprietary" / "closed drivers", but the new message is much better, notice the use of "open drivers" in the example

As you can see in the previous example, even if the message was changed entirely in its contents (what is communicating), the new one is a lot better, with better words, grammar and structure, the automatic translation to Spanish is with this one perfect (which means: we don't even need translators or wait for them, if the original messages in English are well written, also the default translation will look correct until somebody reviews it on the other languages), at the same time, the English message is also much better. In short, all the original messages when developing the applications should use this technique, which is what I do since the last years :slight_smile:

Small demo of proofreading:

1 Like

I like that. :dance:

BTW count me in for Dutch translations as well. While it's my mother tongue I never have used it on computers, so somtimes I get lost.
Frankly I always put English installs on all the computers my kids had. They hated it in primary school but now that they're in university, they're quite proficient with them. :idea:

I switched to system in english too some time ago, its better for multiple things (including when you share a screenshot or result code lol)

I suggest you to first try with a small one (usb-bootable-elive or eltrans), translating it first to english (I mean, verifying the correctness of the english sentences first), and then you can translate it to Dutch with the new sentences (important: I must run a build of the package first so that the dutch messages will be updated)

No problem except, like I said my computing Dutch isn't perfect....but then whose is. :dizzy_face:

Lets put up a translation forum so the current forum doesn't get too cluttered. :smiley14:

well, that is what this section (#get-involved:communication) is meant for :slight_smile:


Most of the messages (from elive own packages basically) can be improved directly from eltrans, other needs to be done manually, like the recent suggestions by @triantares

@triantares: yeah, these boot entries looks much better now :slight_smile: :woman_shrugging:



I'll send you later an e-mail to activate eltrans for me....

@maxinou @Rebel450 (@triantares ?)

im a bit lost about the actual status of these accounts :slight_smile:

so let's start again, for those who want to help improving the translations, from the first step:

  • run eltrans and follow the steps, it will tell you how to create the account
  • if you don't have answer from me in 24h, update this thread saying it

I already was working into Eltrans earlier, did you change a thing (account) ?

@Rebel450 nope, if works for you everything is fine :slight_smile: except for the dev.elivecd.org website which doesn't works anymore due to stupid "ubuntu upgrades" in the shared hosting (damn)

@maxinou to reply your post "Task manager and organizer collaborative tool (ASANA)" about Eltrans topic from here, mmh, there's a public email shown in the website? there should not be any one (if so, tell me which one)... you should only have a contact form for this :thinking:


On 3.7.8 x64, when clicking on Eltrans, I only got an authentication window asking in loop for password....


Eltrans asked to me to send you an e-mail

I did it 5 minutes ago

Not, after 4-5 times you'll get a windows that says to e-mail @Thanatermesis, I think anytime that you authenticate you modify a different file into system, there must be 5-6 config files for Eltrans, I think

No, there are nor e-mail address into website nor a contact form.... I sent you one message from my Gmail to your GMail

I just tried it and it should explain you before that message how to get the account


Just trying: when clicking on Eltrans, I got direct asking for identification to run /usr/bin/env as su...
After 3 "cancel" I got an error window to validate (same if clicking "validate" instead of "cancel") & even with no action, it goes alone to the next window "Elive translator account" to enter translator user name, to cancel/validate & if "cancel", it tells nevertheless "Thanks to collaborate in Elive translations" with an "validate" button...


Off course: 3.7.8 x64, installed on eeepc 1015pn...

eltrans needs sudo to install the required packages. Admittedly the popup might be a bit clearer. :wink:


'Got no problem with root/sudo, but here, it's asking in loop for ident' 'n result nothing.........


A few times for different commands ..... does not deserve a prize for elegance but it's not a loop.
Perseverance my friend, perseverance. :rofl2:

Frankly, I agree that eltrans is an unnecessary unpleasant experience.....almost as if "help" is not appreciated.
Something @Thanatermesis has to look at if he wants translators. :roll_eyes:

1 Like

In the past, the way to make translations was modifying the .pot files manually and sending them over SVN

This means, know yourself how to use .pot editors, have knowledge of terminal, and of course of a control-revision system called SVN

One day, an old user of elive said "I don't give a heck to programming or commands, I don't want to learn these things, I just -want- to translate"

So 'eltrans' tool has been born.. in order to have a GUI entirely guided and with multiple automations and controls so that everybody would be able to make translations, without any knowledge required

if im not wrong with that message, its asking your the eltrans username/password (not your system user)