What does English language dominance mean for Minetest?

Red_King_Cyclops
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What does English language dominance mean for Minetest?

by Red_King_Cyclops » Tue Jul 09, 2019 06:35

English is on a trajectory to becoming a universal language, and this is apparent in the forums as well. Minetest users are from around the world, but many of them learn English instead of depending on intllib and the language forums. Minetest itself was made in English by core developers that did not all speak English as a first language. Even C++ and lua, the programming languages used by Minetest, were created in English by Danes and Brazilians who did not speak English as a first language.

As a native English speaker, I benefit the most from English language dominance. However, I have an interest in languages and I find the general lack of need to learn a non-English language to be disappointing.

What does English language domination mean for Minetest? Is English making Minetest more or less accessible? How much has English affected Minetest's development? Should there even be a universal language?

Edit: I do not really care that much about English being a universal language, I just made this topic for people to discuss their opinions.
Last edited by Red_King_Cyclops on Tue Jul 09, 2019 14:53, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What does English language dominance mean for Minetest?

by Linuxdirk » Tue Jul 09, 2019 07:00

intllib is dead meat. It was entirely and properly replaced by the built-in translation functionality (even though paramat does not care about making "Minetest Game" translation ready).

English makes Minetest (and everything else) more accessible. It allows people from different countries to work together without having to translate from their native languages into another language they might not know.

The language-specific forums have barely any traffic. If you want feedback or support the regular forums should be used. This is not specific to Minetest.
 

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Re: What does English language dominance mean for Minetest?

by R-One » Tue Jul 09, 2019 09:01

Hello for my part I am French ... and I develop small independent games.

Like many French, I have a very bad English, so I often go through the automatic translation ...

This year and since the release of 5.0, I focused on translation and resource creation in French, I have a wiki and videos coming for the Francophone community. Why that ? because I use minetest in an educational challenge with young children who need to read in French and moreover it facilitates the enlargement of the community during the meetings or have Minetest present on our stands.

otherwise here are recommendations that I use when developing small applications :

Top 10 Languages in the world, must to have :

EN (English), ES (Spanish), PT (Portuguese), FR (French), AR (Arabic), ID (Indonesian), VI (Vietnamese), TH (Thai), TR (Turkish), DE (German)

Next Top 10 Languages, Nice to have :

IT (Italian), ZH (Chinese), RU (Russian), PL (Polish), JA (Japanese), NL (Dutch), SV (Swedish), HU (Hungarian), EL (Greek), CS (Czech)
 

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Re: What does English language dominance mean for Minetest?

by Chiantos » Tue Jul 09, 2019 10:36

Hello,

I myself use a translation tool for long sentences, and it is disappointing to see that people who speak English natively don't respect people who do not speak natively this language. When you see someone who speaks good English, who tells you that your opinion does not count because your English is bad, while you try to make yourself understood ... this is a problem. I think that in this case, they should put themselves in our place and see what it means to have to translate all our words for them ... whereas they must not make the least effort to try to to understand us. Imagine that the English are forced to speak in French ... they would understand the situation better.

It would be interesting for everyone to be equal, but do not ask that here. We see that it is generally more in a mentality of domination of others than openness to others on full of subjects. Many you will understand that according to them:

_ English dominates all other languages
_ That man must dominate the woman ...
_ That the West is better than all the others
_ That the original Minetest is better than all the forks
_That open source is always better than the rest
_ Many server admins looking only to crush their players.
_ That the religious is always right and the others always wrong ...

I'm totally out of agree with a lot of things, but I'm not here to change things, just share code and manage my project in a rational way, without emotional involvement.

This notion of domination in a rather binary logic is strong on Minetest: 0 and 1. They are not all like that, but unfortunately many are. After generally speaking English, it is the language which dominates the development in general, it is the international language.

Nothing can be done there.

I tried to make things happen, I gave up a long time ago ... I just prefer to share my code and not pay attention to the rest. ;)

Good Day ;)
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Re: What does English language dominance mean for Minetest?

by MineYoshi » Tue Jul 09, 2019 14:07

Chiantos wrote:It would be interesting for everyone to be equal, but do not ask that here. We see that it is generally more in a mentality of domination of others than openness to others on full of subjects. Many you will understand that according to them:

_ English dominates all other languages
_ That man must dominate the woman ...
_ That the West is better than all the others
_ That the original Minetest is better than all the forks
_That open source is always better than the rest
_ Many server admins looking only to crush their players.
_ That the religious is always right and the others always wrong ...

Please, don't get political over such crap as English being the dominant language, It's not needed. And to be fair if people who speak English fully "don't respect people who don't speak natively" it's because to be honest trying to have a discussion with someone who can't get their point across is just frustrating. Since this is a worldwide project with lots of people and "diversity", using a standard to communicate with others, as not everyone understands the 15 other languages the people here speaks, was needed: English is pretty easy to learn, more than French, and it's like a trade language in the internet.

Thanks to Minetest I decided to learn English and nowadays it's pretty useful. The English language domination for Minetest means Minetest is more accessible as I'm sure more people around the globe are being taught or at least know a bit of English besides their native tongue around the world, as English is pretty easy. If other language like Spanish or Russian dominated here I'm sure this project wouldn't be the same as Spanish and Russian are languages harder to learn than English. Minetest is perfect in English!
 

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Re: What does English language dominance mean for Minetest?

by runs » Wed Jul 10, 2019 01:29

This thread has pointless discussions that lead nowhere. Open source philosophy implies to carry the software to other languages in order to being more accesible and universal.

Minetest talking only in English is absurd and an insult to the rest of humanity. IMO, of course.
 

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Re: What does English language dominance mean for Minetest?

by rubenwardy » Wed Jul 10, 2019 03:21

Linuxdirk wrote:
runs wrote:MTG should be multilanguage.

paramat is uninterested. There is a second pull request to address it, but no-one seems to really care.


I wasn't aware of this PR, it must have been when I unsubscribed for exams. This is certainly a needed change!
 

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Re: What does English language dominance mean for Minetest?

by Gael de Sailly » Wed Jul 10, 2019 07:43

runs wrote:Minetest talking only in English is absurd and an insult to the rest of humanity. IMO, of course.
Chiantos wrote:It would be interesting for everyone to be equal, but do not ask that here. We see that it is generally more in a mentality of domination of others than openness to others on full of subjects. Many you will understand that according to them:

_ English dominates all other languages
[hiding off-topic and unrelated things...]


It's not my point. Even if, as a French boy too, I don't really appreciate the domination of English, I must admit that there is a need for things to be standardized. Imagine if 10 main languages were equally represented on Minetest forums. It would be an absolute pain to follow and participate to the discussions.

On another hand, other languages should still have their place in some contexts, I mean servers and specialized forum sections. These forum sections are underused, I think they should be highlighted better on the forum main page.
Servers should accept foreign languages whenever possible. The main problem being that if the admin and moderators don't speak the language, moderation is not possible. But I still think that many admins are unnecessarily rigid on these rules.
Servers that are specialized to one language are a good thing, but they shouldn't be the only option for a non-English-speaker. They should be able to play on "standard" servers.
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Re: What does English language dominance mean for Minetest?

by runs » Wed Jul 10, 2019 10:16

Minetest talking only in English is absurd and an insult to the rest of humanity. IMO, of course.


I meant Minetest Engine and Minetest Game, the forums are OK, cos it has a lot of language related subforums. :-)

I'm a spanish guy, that can understand english language with no problems, but there is a lot of people out there that cannot. So MTG, the 'oficial' game, should be available in several languages. And with support for the new translation system.

If not, the access to Minetest will be limited to english natives and a few more people, disappointing the open source spirit. This is a little communitty, so try to expand it futhermore.
 

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Re: What does English language dominance mean for Minetest?

by Yvanhoe » Mon Jul 22, 2019 16:11

French here. Learned English two decades ago while I was learning programming. Having a "lingua franca" among programmers is a treasure that should be cherished. I absolutely think that in every instances where a language has to be chosen (code, code comment, a first language for a mod, a reference doc) it has to be English. Geopolitics is irrelevant, I would say the same thing if the accepted language was Chinese or Russian.

In game however, I can't play with some of my friends (I live in Japan) as they can't type in their language in the chat. They feel excluded. I can live without accentuated letters, but they need at least the kana alphabets to communicate.

Now, I know it is hard. I have already made 3D applications with text input and Asian languages are a challenge if their input is not already part of the framework.

I am preparing an educational workshop for Japanese kids using Minetest. They will be in the same room, so chat is not necessary and I'll get around signs by making them read-only and preparing textures manually for them.

Still, it would be good if more things were translated, if the default font had support for Japanese that would be a good start (I tried pasting Japanese unicode in the chat window and it fails). I would love if it could interface well with IME but I know it is hard. Please consider it if you can.
 

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Re: What does English language dominance mean for Minetest?

by Linuxdirk » Mon Jul 22, 2019 17:15

Yvanhoe wrote:In game however, I can't play with some of my friends (I live in Japan) as they can't type in their language in the chat. They feel excluded. I can live without accentuated letters, but they need at least the kana alphabets to communicate.

Yes, absolutely. Front-end and back-end are two different things. The front-end of course should support all languages and input methods (something Minetest and/or Irrlicht miserably fails on).
 

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Re: What does English language dominance mean for Minetest?

by sofar » Mon Jul 22, 2019 17:31

Red_King_Cyclops wrote:What does English language dominance mean for Minetest?


To me, it means that non-english speakers are going to have to code the support for translations, input methods, etc.

Forget about people like me who have, despite being non-native english speakers, spent 20+ years in computer technology already. We learned English because we had to write code. I knew BASIC before I could pass basic conversational English. I could program in 3-4 computer languages before I ever set foot in an English-speaking country.

I just don't have the motivation to even attempt to try to localize Minetest or help figure out how to solve these problems. Even if I did I wouldn't know where to start - my native language is a Germanic one that doesn't use any accents or require any special input methods, either. I'm perfectly happy playing MT in english, coding in English, etc..

TL:DR; what it means is that people who are committed to playing minetest in their own language are the best people to attack this problem. Not only are they committed to delivering a working solution, they have the best chance to properly test it and be critical of their own work, and work with others that are similarly motivated.
 

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Re: What does English language dominance mean for Minetest?

by ShadMOrdre » Mon Jul 22, 2019 21:49

What I'd like to see, because I'd really like to read BrunoMine's code, is a way to translate the code into alternative languages. I do not mean the keywords of the computer language, but the variable and function names that we mod coders choose to use within our mods.

I'm a native English speaker, and don't speak either Portuguese or Esperanto, which seems to be one of the languages Bruno codes in. This is not a complaint, his code is good and works, and because the arguement is true in the reverse, for all non-native English speakers, who are also trying to read mod code written in English. And again, not the lua or MT keywords, but variable and function names.

In game translations can be easily accommodated using both the builtin engine translations, as well as, a modified version of intllib that allows players to add missing translations for server owners to use for updates. This would be somewhat helpful.

Tools that make programming easier are always useful.

Requesting that modders and coders in general add support for those translations into one's code, even if in a comment, can go a LONG way to helping solve this issue.
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Re: What does English language dominance mean for Minetest?

by Yvanhoe » Tue Jul 23, 2019 04:20

sofar wrote:TL:DR; what it means is that people who are committed to playing minetest in their own language are the best people to attack this problem. Not only are they committed to delivering a working solution, they have the best chance to properly test it and be critical of their own work, and work with others that are similarly motivated.


Totally agreed. It has been enough of a pain installing IME in Ubuntu and Windows and I don't see imposing that to a dev, especially if they have to make it work for all the asian languages as well.

There are, however, three things that are on the infrastructure level that I think the core devs can do to greatly help the rest of us:

- Make sure unicode works. That it is correctly encoded, that non-ASCII characters do not crash the engine or are removed, that they are transmitted/stored/serialized/deserialized correctly. Especially, try to copy-paste some characters that are more than one-byte long, like "日本語お話しません" and that it does not get garbled somewhere. Getting unicode tofu is ok. Getting some weird accentuated latin letters means something wrong happened (an ISO- encoding is used somewhere as default where it should be utf-8).

- Make sure the font system allows to add fallback fonts for glyphs that are not present. We can't ask Minetest to package fonts for all languages in existence (well, it is possible, but weights 20 MB) but to at least provide a mechanism to extend the default font, possibly by allowing to dive into the system fonts.

- When choosing a framework/game engine, make "support for international input" an item in the list of Good Things To Have. On the project where we chose Qt for the UI, it made everything so much easier in that respect.
 

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Re: What does English language dominance mean for Minetest?

by ShadMOrdre » Tue Jul 23, 2019 05:45

We can't ask Minetest to package fonts for all languages in existence (well, it is possible, but weights 20 MB) but to at least provide a mechanism


They don't have to be packaged in, but can certainly be an optional download, referenced in the main menu, and prominently pointed to from the minetest.net page. Then these can also be packaged as files for the various distros, and so should be.

The core devs might be willing to add this, if someone can code it, package, and is willing to maintain it.

And as Sofar wrote, best be those who can provide the most accurate translations, the native speakers of those languages.

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Re: What does English language dominance mean for Minetest?

by Linuxdirk » Tue Jul 23, 2019 07:56

sofar wrote:TL:DR; what it means is that people who are committed to playing minetest in their own language are the best people to attack this problem. Not only are they committed to delivering a working solution, they have the best chance to properly test it and be critical of their own work, and work with others that are similarly motivated.

While the translations are all there for Minetest, Minetest Game, and some mods (a lot of translations are complete) Minetest and Minetest Game lack the features to be fully translated (or features are missing). Translators are not necessarily developers so there is nothing one who is interested in translating Minetest can do if they're not developers and some of the developers are uninterested in this.
 

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Re: What does English language dominance mean for Minetest?

by runs » Tue Jul 23, 2019 19:57

Minetest Game should apopt the new official translation system. So I, joint with others, could do the translation.
 

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Re: What does English language dominance mean for Minetest?

by Yvanhoe » Thu Aug 08, 2019 02:37

rubenwardy wrote:
Linuxdirk wrote:
runs wrote:MTG should be multilanguage.

paramat is uninterested. There is a second pull request to address it, but no-one seems to really care.


I wasn't aware of this PR, it must have been when I unsubscribed for exams. This is certainly a needed change!


Has there been a progress on that front? I am starting the localization of a mod in Japanese right now. It would help if default could be used.
 

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Re: What does English language dominance mean for Minetest?

by Festus1965 » Thu Aug 08, 2019 11:23

sure, that stops MT from spread and promote better,
as I translated alone into Thai near 80% and still not there to use,
so I cant develop it here in Thailand for kids even schools,
and stopped playing it also as of some other reasons.
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Re: What does English language dominance mean for Minetest?

by Hume2 » Thu Aug 08, 2019 11:29

runs wrote:MTG should be multilanguage.

Blame Irrlicht.

I'd like that too but keyboard handling in any stable Irrlicht release is just pain. Not to mention that there was no stable release of Irrlicht for three years and last stable release which added a feature is five years old.
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Re: What does English language dominance mean for Minetest?

by Wuzzy » Fri Aug 09, 2019 13:20

Well, it's true. English is very important for Minetest, but this will become less important as more and more translations get created. Well, at least for Minetest itself. Minetest is a (mostly) translatable program, after all.

But translation support is not complete yet.

I think the biggest problem that MT is currently facing with regards to translation is shitty Unicode support. This is the most important hurdle to overcome, as it just makes certain translations impossible to use.

Then, there's that while translation support for Minetest has been improved in the past, there are still various places which are untranslatable:

- All of builtin, including chat command descriptions
- Game settings (settingtypes.txt)
- Game/mod/texture pack metadata

Another problem is rendering texts on textures. It's a missing feature. We only have mods for this now, but none of them support Unicode. Rendering texts on textures can only be solved in the engine.

But I like to stress that mods and games CAN be translated right now. It's now up to the game and mod makers to code in the translation support.

I have done so for most of my own mods and MineClone 2 already and it just works like a charm. Just a reminder that all mods and games can be translated RIGHT NOW. You just have to start.
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Re: What does English language dominance mean for Minetest?

by Yvanhoe » Fri Aug 09, 2019 13:46

Wuzzy wrote:I think the biggest problem that MT is currently facing with regards to translation is shitty Unicode support. This is the most important hurdle to overcome, as it just makes certain translations impossible to use.
Word. That one I suspect is possible to solve with a bit of bug hunting in the missing encoding/decoding steps.

However, there is also the much bigger hassle of making it possible to use the input methods used in Japanese and (I think) Chinese: you basically type the word phonetically and an autocomplete window appears for you to select the appropriate character. Each OS has their own interface and I guess that Irrlicht does not abstract that.

Then, there's that while translation support for Minetest has been improved in the past, there are still various places which are untranslatable:

Wuzzy wrote:- All of builtin, including chat command descriptions
- Game settings (settingtypes.txt)
- Game/mod/texture pack metadata

Honestly, as a non-english speaker, these are things I do not mind not being translated. It is good that there is an international reference in those. On the other hand, one can translate:
- Chat command help messages
- UI that allows to change the settings (It is already done I think)
- Description strings.

Wuzzy wrote:Another problem is rendering texts on textures. It's a missing feature. We only have mods for this now, but none of them support Unicode. Rendering texts on textures can only be solved in the engine.
Having explored that recently, with help from MNH48, I realized that it is not totally, technically, true.

I currently have signs that render in Japanese on textures in game and show Japanese text on the HUD (if 'ja' is selected as the language). BUT I can't input the text of the signs from the UI. I have to write utf-8 strings in a script to set their text. For this I used display_modpack's font tools. I am in a rush to finish a set of mods for a workshop next monday, but hopefully some time next week I will push some results. Luckily I can do the workshop with read-only signs.


Wuzzy wrote:But I like to stress that mods and games CAN be translated right now. It's now up to the game and mod makers to code in the translation support.
Yep! And if someone wants to start do translations for the minetest game, there is already a PR that started adding support: https://github.com/minetest/minetest_ga ... 68/commits
 

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Re: What does English language dominance mean for Minetest?

by Linuxdirk » Fri Aug 09, 2019 14:34

Wuzzy wrote:I think the biggest problem that MT is currently facing with regards to translation is shitty Unicode support. This is the most important hurdle to overcome, as it just makes certain translations impossible to use.

As far as I know this is only partly Minetest’s fault but an Irrlicht issue. Irrlicht isn’t even capable of properly detecting any keyboard layouts that are not basically some variant of QWERTY/QWERTZ. But since Irrlicht is basically dead this is unlikely to change. All that can be done is working around the inabilities of Irrlicht. But we’ll likely never see full Unicode support or even IME.

Wuzzy wrote:Another problem is rendering texts on textures. It's a missing feature.

Textures are only loaded once and then textures are static, so all text on textures is done by mods and those can use the existing translation functionality up to some extend. Text on signs and other stuff is done by entities. It should be possible to have multi-language signs for example, though. But without larger changes (or replacement) on how signs in MTG currently work this won’t happen.

Wuzzy wrote:Just a reminder that all mods and games can be translated RIGHT NOW. You just have to start.

Nowadays authors should not create new mods that are not translation-ready and older mods should be made translation-ready without exceptions.
 

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