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7 December 2023 Standard for Public Code community call


Updates from the Foundation



In the Standard for Public Code, we have a requirement about translations stating “Any translation MUST be up to date with the English version and vice versa.”. However, many open source projects have community contributed translations, and it is obviously not the intention of the standard to discourage this.

Therefore, we created a proposal for change to address this.

During the call we discussed this proposal and what it implies. One important observation was that it may not matter whether it is the maintainers doing the translations or the community. Rather, it would be better to use terms like authoritative translations - for translations the maintainers have committed to - and courtesy translations, for community contributed or automatic machine translations. Even during the call, some suggestions to the pull request were made to this effect.

One aspect of it that also was mentioned is a contributor’s expectations around translations. It was proposed that the documentation should be clear that missing authoritative translations would block a contribution from being merged into a release. This is essentially the same in practice, but approaches it from a different angle. In the end, the first angle was favored.

Following from this we should update the ‘what developers need to do’ sections to be clear about which translations are authoritative or courtesy.

While we were on the topic of language, we also discussed the first requirement “All codebase documentation MUST be in English.”.

This does not mean it must be only in English; it can have complementary translations or summaries in other languages (even in the same file). They can even be leading, but there must be an authoritative version in English. Making this more clear could make people less hesitant about the standard, both for practical and political reasons.

We also discussed the tricky quesion of how to make clear what version the documentation is for. However, we thought that there is not enough widespread best practices out there to crystalize it into requirements. Possibly, we could make an issue on the implementation guide to add those who are doing good work as examples.

We also noted that requirement “All bundled policy not available in English MUST have an accompanying summary in English.” often takes us time to explain during assessments, so it could possibly be clarified more, but we didn’t immediately have ideas on how to do it.

The next community call for the Standard for Public Code will be 1 February 2024, 14.00 UTC+1.