Impossible to choose language on help.ubuntu.com

Bug #1532537 reported by Alexander on 2016-01-10
36
This bug affects 6 people
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
Online publishing of the Ubuntu documentation
Wishlist
Unassigned
Ubuntu Server Guide
Wishlist
Unassigned
ubuntu-docs (Ubuntu)
Wishlist
Unassigned

Bug Description

I am a Dutch user. However, for virtually any technical documentation, English is the lingua franca on the web. It is an incredible nuisance to look up technical details in Dutch. I appreciate the effort to make help.ubuntu.com accessible in all languages, however it is a TERRIBLE idea (and quite frankly, since the content is available in English, but I can't access it, I classify it as a bug) to prevent people from changing the language they read it in.

Ubuntu 14.04 LTS
I expect to be able to read online help files in English.
Instead, I am forced to read them in Dutch.

Peter Matulis (petermatulis) wrote :

Hi Alexander. It's the first time I hear such a complaint but I do see your point. I know it's not ideal but you will need to switch your browser's preferred language. I use Chrome and a quick search led me here (it works for me):

https://goo.gl/PJybjG

Doug Smythies (dsmythies) wrote :

I use firefox. I set the language to Dutch. Thereafter I got Dutch. In the past I have heard from another Dutch person that they would prefer English, particularly for the serverguide. We also heard once from a Russian that they would prefer a subdirectory per language rather than the language extension all in one directory method. I guess we would have to understand the magnitude of the desire here before considering changes.

Changed in ubuntu-docs (Ubuntu):
importance: Undecided → Wishlist
Launchpad Janitor (janitor) wrote :

Status changed to 'Confirmed' because the bug affects multiple users.

Changed in ubuntu-docs (Ubuntu):
status: New → Confirmed
Adam Niedling (krychek) wrote :

I wish this wasn't a wishlist bug.
Help.ubuntu.com looks hard coded in Hungarian to me. I even tried a US anonymous proxy and it was still Hungarian.
How am I supposted to read it in English?
Is there any way to access it?

Gunnar Hjalmarsson (gunnarhj) wrote :

@Adam: Proxies has nothing to do with it; it's a pure browser setting.

In Firefox: Edit -> Preferences -> Content -> Languages. Make an English option be on top of that list - that's all.

Alexander (alex2143) wrote :

Nevertheless, this is not logical in any sense. Having to change your browser settings in order to view a website in a different language is not something that would come to my mind at all, and many visitors are likely to be less tech-savvy.

Seeing as how it is a serious detriment to the usability of the content to have it in a different language than English (the de facto lingua franca of the internet) and how there is no clear and unambiguous instruction for users as to how they should go about changing the language, I still think that it would be better to be able to manually select the language. This gives people the option to read it either in English (which is arguably more useful for technical documentation if you speak English properly, since you won't recognize a lot of jargon once it's translated), or in their native language if they're more comfortable with that.

Gunnar Hjalmarsson (gunnarhj) wrote :

Well, currently the web server responses in the language the browser asks for, or in English if there is no preferred language set in the browser. This technique is used:

https://httpd.apache.org/docs/2.4/content-negotiation.html

It would be doable to add a note to the pages, which explains it to the users, but changing the technique for selecting language won't be done in the near future due to a lack of resources.

Alexander (alex2143) wrote :

I realize and appreciate that the team has limited manpower and resources to work with. It sounds like adding a note about how to change language preferences would be a good short-term solution.

Thank you for your responses!

affects: ubuntu-docs (Ubuntu) → help.ubuntu.com
Gunnar Hjalmarsson (gunnarhj) wrote :

This is not only for the help.ubuntu.com project, of course...

Changed in serverguide:
importance: Undecided → Wishlist
status: New → Confirmed
Changed in ubuntu-docs (Ubuntu):
importance: Undecided → Wishlist
status: New → Confirmed
Andreas Enström (anen) wrote :

The documentation is broken in my language with faulty grammar and interspersed English word. That makes it extremely hard to read. I too wish the language wasn't forced on the user.

Gunnar Hjalmarsson (gunnarhj) wrote :

@Andreas: It's not forced on anyone. You choose the preferred language for multilingual web content via your browser; please see comment #5.

Andreas Enström (anen) wrote :

@Gunnar: Indeed, thank you for the tip. From now on whenever I go to help.ubuntu.com and realize that I can't read the text because of the bad grammar mixed with English I go to Menu -> Settings -> (scroll to the bottom) -> Show advanced settings... -> (scroll down to Languages) -> Language and input settings... -> Drag and drop 'English' to the top. Then when I'm done I set it back to my preferred language by: Menu -> Settings -> (scroll to the bottom) -> Show advanced settings... -> (scroll down to Languages) -> Language and input settings... -> Drag and drop 'My preferred language' to the top. Rather tedious compared to say having a discrete drop-down menu at the bottom of the site allowing you to choose a language that is remembered until I clear browser data. Alas, it's not forced in the sense that it can't be changed, if your browser allows you to go change settings 7 actions away. But it's not very user friendly.

Gunnar Hjalmarsson (gunnarhj) wrote :

@Andreas: Indeed, it's not perfect. Btw, if you have noticed bad translations, it would be helpful if you could file a bug report about it.

https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu-translations/+filebug

Chris Perry (clissold345) wrote :

Could we add a note (or notes) then? I think that would help (multi-lingual) users. Is help.ubuntu.com (the page) editable?

I suggest moving note 4 up to be note 1 and changing it so that it looks like this:

"The HTML links above are available in many different languages. They will be displayed in the preferred language specified by your browser. If the preferred language is not available they will be displayed in English. The Server Guide PDF and the Installation Guide are available solely in English."

Gunnar Hjalmarsson (gunnarhj) wrote :

On 2016-11-20 23:03, Chris Perry wrote:
> I suggest moving note 4 up to be note 1 and changing it so that it
> looks like this:
>
> "The HTML links above are available in many different languages.
> They will be displayed in the preferred language specified by your
> browser. If the preferred language is not available they will be
> displayed in English. The Server Guide PDF and the Installation Guide
> are available solely in English."

I like that. Doug?

Doug Smythies (dsmythies) wrote :

> Is help.ubuntu.com (the page) editable?

That page is one of only a few hand written html files that "glue" the entire help.ubuntu.com together. By far, most of the files actually have their master code in another project (help docs or serverguide or installation guide or cloud stuff). Yes, it is editable via the help.ubuntu.com master code in the bzr branch ( https://code.launchpad.net/~ubuntu-core-doc/help.ubuntu.com/help.ubuntu.com ).

Yes, we could add a more detailed note, as Chris suggested, keeping in mind that we were attempting to keep extra stuff on that page to a minimum and also trying to keep the page from being too long on a lower resolution display (which it already got longer when we added the Canonical Cloud stuff).

Peter might want to chime in.

Doug Smythies (dsmythies) wrote :

The attached details Chris' proposed change to the text of the index.html file.
I'll e-mail Chris, Gunnar, and Peter a link to my web site copy of help.ubuntu.com with this proposed change.

Peter Matulis (petermatulis) wrote :

Doug, I responded to you by email. I guess I should have just put it here.

Chris Perry (clissold345) wrote :

Just recording where we are with this bug: Doug is doing the change to the note (as described above - with additional discussion via email on 22nd Nov 2016). Gunnar is considering whether "to add a note to the pages" (see comment 7 above).

JI Xiang (szjx) wrote :

This makes little sense. I can't think of practically any other modern website that doesn't support switching UI language.

Peter Matulis (petermatulis) wrote :

@JI

That's true. I agree it goes counter to modern standards. Maybe "standards" is an exaggeration but at least modern "expectations".

I think the current design is due to how translations work. In principle, these docs can be presented in any human language. Having a selector for dozens of languages would also be odd. If we only consider languages that have received significant translations (say 75% translated) then it should feasible, but such a solution would require monitoring and manual adjustments. See
https://translations.launchpad.net/serverguide and sort by Status (green is translated).

Another solution would be to always show it in English and have a button for "show in your browser's default language".

The simplest would be to ditch translations and just have it in English.

This bug bothered me so much that I registered myself to Ubuntu One to be able to post a comment about it.

I suggest you to add at the bottom of the page a link like :

"This website is available in many languages
Switch Language"

like for the The Gnome project. ( or every web site with technical documentation)

have a nice and keep the good work

Florian

Hans Deragon (deragon) wrote :

A quick simple stop-gap solution would be to have the language code within the URL. This way, users could manually force the language of their choice by changing the URL.

Gunnar Hjalmarsson (gunnarhj) wrote :

@Hans: You can force any localized page to show up by including the language code in the URL, for instance:

https://help.ubuntu.com/stable/ubuntu-help/index.html.de

The problem is that the addresses in all the links end with just .html.

At https://help.gnome.org/users/gnome-help/stable/ I notice that the addresses of the internal links end with .html.<lang>. If we can figure out how to do that, I think it would be an important step forward.

To post a comment you must log in.
This report contains Public information  Edit
Everyone can see this information.

Other bug subscribers