There follows an e-mail I tried to post on this list on 22.1.11 and 26.1.11, but which was cut off after the 'Dear Philippe'. I hope it is accepted this time:
From my point of view the translation of the fundraiser 2010 was a very frustrating and disappointing experience. Despite my best efforts we did not receive a completely translated central banner in Welsh and clicking on the central banner never took us to the Welsh language version of the donation landing page, at least for the vast majority of cy users, those living in the UK.
To describe in detail:
Translation links for translators
This year you decided not to include translation links from the central notice to meta because this was drawing people away from the donation link. I'm not taking issue with that decision. As you know the disadvantage of this is that potential translators do not know where to translate, which is potentially aggravating for those users (of which more below). One way of mitigating this difficulty would have been to post on the community page an invitation and link to the translation tab of the Fundraiser 2010 hub, specifically inviting users to translate, when the campaign went permanently live. Assuming that the central banner will lack the translation links next year too I recommend you do this next year.
The link to the fundraiser translation which was included as a banner on meta was very useful by the way - please can we have this next year too.
It does not appear that i-10n issues were considered during the preparation and testing of the fundraiser either at Wikimedia Foundation or at any of the chapters. Each chapter had its own landing pages with its own messages. No mechanism was put in place to allow all language wikis within the geographical area of the chapter to localise these chapter-specific messages. It was only when this issue was raised by the wikis affected that this was addressed. Casey brown set up some translated pages for individual combinations of language/chapter, at their request. This was done on an ad hoc basis, it being down to each language wiki to understand the problem and request action. This issue was discussed on the l-translators list but not all translators subscribe to the list (especially not those who are first-time translators at meta). I requested that somebody who knew the ins and outs of this issue write some general advice about this on meta itself. I was disappointed that my request was not answered.
I recommend that when further action is needed by translators, to get their translations applied, then notes about this should be posted where we are likely to see them - such as on the relevant translation pages at meta.
After having translated various messages specific to Wikimedia UK and Casey Brown having published them it was still not possible to see them because of a technical issue with the banner, apparently caused by its being done as an image on Wikimedia UK. As I understand it the image format performed better during the testing and so was chosen. No consideration whatsoever had been given to the issue of localisation of image formats.
Unfortunately it appears that there was only one person at WikiMedia UK who was in a position to create the correct banner images with 'Read Now' localised and linking to the localised WikiMedia UK landing pages. This one person was unfortunately too busy to do this as I understand it. I had hoped that we would get this done by Christmas but it never was done. I am quite disappointed that my last e-mail of concerning this has still not been answered, leaving me still in the dark to some extent. In any case he would have had to attend to each language individually, meaning that only those languages requesting this would have been able to be fixed.
Please make sure that you use localisable formats in future.
Disregard of non-state language wikis
I guess that the amount of money that you could raise from the wikis of non-state languages is usually small so from the point of view of an efficient fund-raiser all this is unimportant. But from my point of view fundraiser central notices appearing wholly or partly in a language which is not the wiki language are counter-productive. Rather than encouraging users to donate they discourage donation. You did not receive a donation from me this year, as I was waiting to be able to do this via the central banner.
Worse than that however is that these central notices appearing in English or state languages are intrusive and alienating, and in my opinion damage these wikis. It creates a them and us mentality, reinforcing the view that the users of these wikis do not 'own' them. Usually central notices are translated quickly by me to avoid any appearing in English. It was very frustrating to do many hours of work on the fundraiser, only for most of it not to appear via the central banner. The whole experience was very discouraging.
I write all the above in the hope that next year's fundraiser can be improved. I realise that all involved, volunteers and paid staff, are working under a lot of pressure and that there was no intention to aggravate the readers and translators of the smaller wikis. Some of the smaller wikis do not have enough manpower to translate all the stuff produced by WMF, either in a timely fashion, or at all. It was a shame that technical issues prevented the hard work of those of us who did translate the fundraiser from being put to use. Since I know that I was not the only person who had difficulties this year I am copying this message to the translators-l list.
Eleri James (Lloffiwr), Wales