Avoiding Problems by Avoiding Decisions

Heiko Evermann Heiko.Evermann at gmx.de
Thu May 13 20:36:05 BST 2004

Dear George,
>    The purpose of the KDE project is to create software, not practice
> politics 
> or take sides in arguments. 
Unfortunately it is You who wants to force KDE to take sides. 

>    First, I am wondering what the (Macedonian || F.Y.R.O.M) i18n team
> feels 
> would be the correct representation of their country in English.
I think I know what they will come up with, but I assume that you won't like
it. The conflict over the name of Macedonia is a problem between Greece and
Macedonia/FYROM. Frankly I do not want to be involved in that.
But I think it is a good idea to ask them about the English entry.

> The 
> KDE i18n team will have to come up with its own policy, and I must advise 
> that this has to be done with care.  I think that each i18n team should
> have 
> the freedom to name their own country as appropriate in their country, but
> they should accept and translate the rest of the list -verbatim-.  KDE is
> not 
> a public forum for politics.
You are right that KDE is not a forum for politics. You are wrong about
accepting county names verbatim. We have a lot of country names in German
that we have been using for centuries and we will continue to write
Frankreich instead of France (just to have an example), because that is our
name for that country. In my opinion the translation of a country name is
strictly up to the language team in question and is nobody else's business.
Therefore you can name Macedonia/FYROM anyway you wish in the greek language
module. You might even succeed in getting KDE to accept some standard or the
other in the English version. But for German (or at least for Low Saxon
where I am actively involved in translating) we will just use the name that
everybody does. You might for example go to www.tagesschau.de (German
television (first channel) news program) and search for "Mazedonien". This
is the name almost everyone uses in Germany (TV and print media alike. The
question "which country is abbreviated FYROM" was recently asked in a 1
million Euro TV quiz show in Germany, I think it was one of the more
advanced questions, worth about 64.000 Euros. This just to show that we are
simply not interested in your name dispute and we just use the name that we
always used.

Fortunately, KDE can be translated into many languages and therefore in the
greek language module you are free to translate (and transcribe into greek
script) any name that you find appropriate for your northern neighbour.

>    Hopefully this won't drag out into one of those monumental debates.  
You started the debate, now you have to live with it.
> I spent some time researching this and I think it's the most neutral (and 
> perhaps accurate) approach we can take.
As the name can only be Macedonia or FYROM, there is no neutral approach.
The one that causes least problems would be to give every translation team
the opportunity to make up their mind according to the customs of that
country. And for English my opinion is to let the macedonian team decide or
give both.

BTW: we even translated UK as Groot Britannien ("great britain") in Low
Saxon, and I think High German did something similar, because that is how we
call the UK here. So far they have not complained. And this is the way we
speak even on TV and in newspapers.

Kind regards,

Heiko Evermann
(Low Saxon translation team)

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