I have just recently (2 years ago) finished to read The Lord Of The Rings. It was a huge task (I read the whole 6 books + history + languages + …) specially since I read the English version. So, now I have to move to the next challenge, and it seems the Dune books are a good idea.
Only this time, people suggested I read the Hebrew translation and not the native English version. It seems the pseudo Arabic using in the books (1) gets translated really well from English to Hebrew. And really, the books felt to me like they were written in Hebrew and not translated to Hebrew (even tough the 3rd and 4th books are a mess, as they contain bad translations and printing errors (2)). I assume it felt more natural for me then reading the English version.
This means that the translator did a good job: some of the spelling errors available in the English version were fixed in Hebrew version – and that made the book easier to read, well at least to me (3).
The same happens in computers. Most people in Israel are used to Windows English users interfaces, and when they see a Windows Hebrew users interfaces, they run away – because the UI is made in such an ugly way. One of the examples, is the light source which comes from right-to-bottom instead from left-to-bottom in RTL windows. But hey! You can have LTR and RTL windows in the same desktop, so you will see the light source coming from different locations in different windows! It’s even funnier when you try to close a window and the close button is in different locations in different windows, on Hebrew/RTL windows the close button is on the left of the window title! Thankfully KDE3 behaves better, and I am very happy about the way it looks and fells. Now what about KDE4?
This week I sat down and compiled KDE4/trunk for the first time, in hope to improve the Hebrew support in KDE4. I hope to get the translation of KDE 4.2 in good shape to be officially released as an official language (Hebrew is missing in KDE 4.0, and KDE 4.1, for the first time since KDE 1.1.4!). The problem is that many applications are really borked under Qt4 (4), and I am shifted aside to many small tasks. I will blog about them in the next days/weeks, for the other developers to see how can they code more “right-to-left” friendly (5).
So this is a note all to the KDE developers: if you are maintaining an application and got some ugly RTL/BiDi bug report and you don’t even understand what the user is complaining about, please send me an email and then assign the bug to me. Please mention module, file, class and if possible lines to fix. My email is “elcuco” (I assume you can guess the rest (6)). Ah… and in case you missed it: my name is Diego and I am one of the KDE developers which is making KDE usable for right-to-left users.
(1) I found real Arabic in the 3rd book, but the 1st and 2nd books did not really contained real Arabic as far as I can tell. But what do I know about Arabic? I only learned it at high school 😉
(2) Local publisher fault, really.
(3) Not the 4th one, all I see is Leto bla-bla-ing about that GoldenPath and other mambo-jambo. Boring! SHUT UP WORM!
(4) Plasma is the worst as the graphics scene layout system does not support setLayoutDirection( Qt::RightToLeft). I talked with el presidente about it a few months ago, and worst case scenario I can write a special layout class for plasma. Hope the Trolls/Nokia/QtSoftware will fix this issue before I do.
(5) Actually KDE folks really kick ass in this area – they are sometimes abusing this issue. More on that in the future.
(6) You can also find me on the IRC, I will let you guess the nick.