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Germany’s next Suspend Modes

March 16, 2016


The German translation team changed the names of the suspend states so brace for impact.

The Who

Two months ago, Nils decided to change the current state of the world … of German-speaking KDE users. It all started with an innocent question he asked himself. “Why do the sleep states in KDE have different names than the ones in other desktop environments?” … or in German: „Muss das so?“

So he went on a journey to fight the status quo by subscribing to the mailing list of our small but cosy translation team and instantly started reasoning about a better world. He talked about how the rest of the world had come to some kind of agreement and we just didn’t notice. (BTW: reminds me of the metric system that some people did not feel the need of adopting ;)

The What

So, what was the current state, then?
There are Suspend to RAM (S3) and Suspend to Disk (S4) in KDE. Some operating systems also support a dual suspend mode where the state is restored from RAM as long as the battery survived the sleep period and otherwise the state is restored from disk. But it’s not part of KDE, so it is of no concern here.

So, let’s have a look at the differnt contenders in English and (German).

S3 S4
Windows Stand By (Standbymodus) Hibernate (Ruhezustand)
OS X Sleep (Ruhezustand) Hibernate (Ruhezustand)
GNOME Suspend (Bereitschaft) Hibernate (Ruhezustand)
KDE Suspend (Ruhezustand) Hibernate (Tiefschlaf)

As you can see, everybody agreed to a consistent naming scheme. Well, not really. And furthermore this table elides the fact that even in English there are different terms used. In KDE you can find for S3 (as far as I could tell):
– sleep state
– Sleep
– Suspend
– Suspend to RAM

and for S4:
– Hibernate
– Suspend to Disk

The Why

So why change our German translation if the terms are far from unified throughout desktop environments? Mainly because of the use of Ruhezustand. In most other environments it is used for S4 and in KDE we had it for S3. OS X does not count because they just have Ruhezustand for all suspend modes (including the combined one).

So for KDE we decided to go with:

S3 S4
KDE Suspend (Standby-Modus) Hibernate (Ruhezustand)

While the use of Ruhezustand is less confusing now, Standby-Modus might cause forehead wrinkles for some people. So let me explain that choice a bit.

Standby has its place in the German language for 20+ years now thanks to the HiFi ages. Yes, there was a time, when music did not come from smart phone speakers.
Bereitschaft is a great contender on that front but at least for my ears does sound like the fearful state of a worker sitting at home on Saturday, carefully nipping his beer, hoping his boss won’t call him in. If more desktops would call it Bereitschaft, I would vote for it in KDE too because I like consistency, but in this “everyone on its own” state of affairs, I prefer Standby. And we use the dashed version of Standby-Modus because we prefer to separate foreign words from native words. It’s a matter of taste and the transition from “foreign” to “native” is blurry but the German KDE team once decided to go the “dashed” way for all but two or three words.

The When

To be honest, I do not know. Because separate parts of what was formerly called KDE are realesed separately. So maybe the new terminology will arive partly with Plasma 5.6.0 on March 17th, partly with KDE Frameworks 5.21 on the 2nd Saturday of April and partly with KDE Application 16.04 on April 20th. And then there are other applications like KTorrent, where we need to wait for the next release to deliver this change.

If you think you have urgend reasons to bring to our attention before the rollout, please do so. But remember:
– I do not like it -> opinion
– I think you should have used this other term -> opinion
– There is something you did not consider and the following problems might arise […] -> reason
Opinions are good and can be discussed but do not expect us to change anything solely on one specific opinion.
Reasons are great and we will discuss them.

The Where

You can subscribe to our mailing list to ask questions, discuss matters and offer help.

The Nils

Thanks to Nils for bringing this up.
There have also been some reports on mistakes or ambiguities in our translation from other people and thanks goes out to them as well. The German translation (same might apply for other translations) is a small project. We are currently two people working in our free time. So we cannot check the context and looks of every translated string. For me it boils down to checking the translated strings in applications I use. That’s probably similar for other translators. Forthermore I cannot translate domain-specific applications like Digikam, Step or Calligra, so they are in need of helping hands.

To conclude, the German translation relies on users reporting issues they see. So what are you waiting for? :)

8 Comments leave one →
  1. March 16, 2016 7:24 pm

    That change definitely makes sense to me!
    Bonus points for pointing out the inconsistencies in the original English strings. That has to be fixed as well. Since you know where the strings come from, could you please either write bug reports about the inconsistent use yourself, or just tell me the offenders so I can write bug reports?
    Inconsistent use of terms is always bad for usability. Whenever you come across cases where the same thing is given different names, don’t hesitate to call it out. That way you don’t only benefit German users, but all users of our software!

  2. OlafLostViking permalink
    March 16, 2016 9:32 pm

    But isn’t StandBy exactly what you described with your interpretation of “Bereitschaft”? ;-) Preventing inconsistency is a great thing, though! And has probably more impact on the user experience than “good language”.

  3. March 17, 2016 8:41 am

    Yes, I mean, no, I mean, you know, it’s complicated. :)

    When I talked about the forehead wrinkles, it’s not because I know what others think but because I was talking about me. I am not entirely happy with the term “Standby”.
    But in my perception, Germans prefer the English terms when it comes to technical stuff. So we cannot just translate, what comes from English. I would guess that most KDE developers use KDE in English because we usually use good German words where they exist. So sometimes KDE developers complain to us that we translate “Collection” as “Sammlung” because that allegedly is wrong. The suggestion usually is to just keep the English word. English is modern and techy, German is boooooring. :)

    But using “Bereitschaft” will crawl around my head for some time and maybe I will contact other translation teams to see if they are open for that change to unify it between desktops. Or maybe you could do that? :)

  4. March 17, 2016 8:52 am

    Expect an email today. I will look them up.

    For translating we have Lokalize, which (configured correctly) shows you your translations of identical or similar strings. That way, it’s helping a lot with respect to consistency. The Developers do not have that, so the wording of strings with the same purpose sometimes differs just by one word or the order of words. “Are you sure you want to delete these files” – “Do you really want to delete these files” … something like that. If I see errors, typos, grammatical mistakes and so on, I fix them or contact the devs. Some translators do the same. Recently I had this idea of a Clazy check which finds “wrong” wording … but it seems very hard to get that right for just a handful of strings and is rather impossible for more strings. … Anyway, I will send you the list. :)

  5. richard permalink
    March 22, 2016 11:58 am

    Nice, do you also have the energy to tackle some other annoying things? :-)
    For example, why is Marble (the map application) hidden in the start menu under:
    “Education” -> “Science” …?? WTF

  6. March 22, 2016 5:56 pm

    That’s not really my field there. You might want to ask on or about that.

  7. Patrick permalink
    March 24, 2016 7:00 am

    I also thought that was confusing and told users in the past “it’s exactly the other way round as in Windows”, well, that was only partly true …

    When in doubt I was always looking for either “S3/S4” or “to RAM/to disk”. If that is not shown in a pop-up (which probably is the preferred way) it should probably be added in parentheses after the names you suggested.

    The reasons are:
    Whatever you choose, an unexperienced user has problems looking it up (with a search engine) what it is doing because the words are already existing words with other meanings in another context.
    an experienced/technical user (himself possibly not used to a Plasma environment or to a German translation at all) does not have the necessary information from the suggested strings to decide.

  8. March 25, 2016 9:59 am

    Hey Patrick,

    in most cases (like the K-Menu), there is a generic name shown right next to the name. The generic name is “Suspend to RAM” so there it is. In other places (like KTorrent) we say “Ruhezustand (Suspend to Disk)” to make that clear. If in some place, this context is missing completely, please let us know. :)

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