New Year, New advertising campaign?

Paul W. Frields stickster at
Tue Feb 22 19:24:49 UTC 2011

On Tue, Feb 22, 2011 at 11:45:42AM -0300, Igor Pires Soares wrote:
> Em Seg, 2011-02-21 às 12:41 +0800, Misha Shnurapet escreveu:
> > 21.02.2011, 09:28, "María Leandro" <tatica at>;:
> > 
> > >  Now, What made me focus on this ones? They are worldwide known. Being a non_en speaker (you can know by my terrible english) We should be thinking in an _easy, short and consistent between languages_ slogan that defines Fedora.
> > 
> > I like that "consistent between languages" thing. As a member of L10N team and Russian translation team coordinator I remember the hard times we've had trying to translate the four foundations into Russian [1]. The result came as either words starting with F but with a slightly different meaning making the translation pointless or words not starting with an F at all (because of the absence of a close equivalent with F) [2]. We then decided to leave it in the original. As a result, there is no Fedora slogan for the Russian community.
> > 
> > A slogan may consist of words that sound similar across different languages, such as those with Latin or Greek origin. Many of them are used on a regular basis in English while being understandable in sound by foreigners without a translation. For instance, the following are very similar to Spanish, French and Russian equivalents in sound or transliteration:
> Interesting that you mentioned this. It's something I have been thinking
> since the 4F's were created. The 4F's aren't 4F's in Portuguese as well.
> I do think the concept of the four foundations is great, but when
> translated to other languages it loses its shape. That reflects not only
> on the impact of the message we are trying to pass but also on the
> creation of promotional material.
> You made a good point here and this is something that definitely should
> be taken into consideration for our marketing tasks. We can tell from
> Ambassadors and Smolt statistics that most part of our users and
> contributors are from parts of the world where English isn't that main
> language. Keeping that in mind is crucial for transmitting a consistent
> message around the world.

That the foundations start with "F" in English is really not important
at all in my mind.  In fact, that's one of several reasons we have
never referred to them as "4 F's".  Another reason is that we knew
when we came up with the four foundations that they wouldn't translate
exactly with the alliteration.

(Did you know "4F" has a negative connotation in the US?  That's
another reason why we don't use that term.  It was the rating someone
would get from the military draft board (when the draft was in use)
when they had an impairment of some kind that meant they were
ill-suited for military service.)

The alliteration of the initial "F" for each idea may make them all
easy to remember in the language where they were devised, but that's
all.  The *ideas* behind the foundations are what's really important.
I'd rather see consistency in those ideas than for translators to put
a lot of work into making the alliteration work in another language.

Building a brand is a long, hard process that requires consistent
effort for years behind the same core ideas.  Thanks in part to the
strong graphical ideas the Design team has built around the
foundations, they are increasingly well known.  I think Fedora should
be building consistent messaging around these ideas in every language,
with an equality of ideas, and not so much emphasis on the "F".  We
want strong language matches for the ideas themselves.

Paul W. Frields                      
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