default link for untranslated books

Ruediger Landmann r.landmann at
Wed May 26 20:41:55 UTC 2010

On 05/27/2010 03:27 AM, Eric "Sparks" Christensen wrote:
> The easy way to do this is to publish all documents in all languages.
> That way the guide would be available in English no matter if the text
> was translated or not.
> Of course this would mean partial translations would be published which,
> in my opinion, are better than no translation.

Actually, we can do it slightly smarter than that; Publican has an 
option for exactly this use-case: the "ignored_translations" parameter 
in the publican.cfg file.

For example, if "ignored_translations" in the Installation Guide was set 
for Italian and Spanish, then when you built the book for those 
languages, it would ignore any PO files available and just build the 
book using the English strings. For very incomplete translations, I 
think this is better than a book mostly in English with a paragraph 
here-and-there in a translated language, but translation teams might 
have other ideas?

I can see two downsides though:

1. It seems wasteful to have multiple copies of exactly the same content 
stored on the server. It will also make maintaining the site much more 
difficult if the site image (web.git) grows to something like 40 times 
its current size. (although this will no longer be a problem when we 
move to a fully automated publishing system shortly)

2. At the moment, when you see a book in a language menu, you know that 
it is translated. The situation is not so bad for widely translated 
languages, but for less widely translated languages, users will click on 
links and most will be in English; they might not even discover that 
*any* books have been translated into their language, so the hard work 
of the translation team gets lost in a sea of English.

In case translators have not realised, the menus are now all 
automatically generated, so it's not possible for us to manually add 
links any more. I will ask the Publican developer today whether some 
kind of "cross linking" is possible. Even if this becomes possible, it 
would solve problem 1 but not problem 2.

I wonder if a better solution would be for me to add a prominent notice 
to the "Welcome" page to tell visitors "to see a full list of all 
documentation, change the language to English"?


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