[translations] Issues of Gender

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Deusite
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[translations] Issues of Gender

Post by Deusite »

Many languages (like Romance and Slavic languages) use nouns that have a gender. Wesnoth already allows me to translate abilities, and traits depending on whether the a unit is masculine or feminine, but this does not work all the time, since it is assumed that all nouns are masculine and there is no way to override this.

As an example, the Shadow unit is translated as Umbra, which is feminine, with the skirmishing ability concursatoria. Unfortunately, Wesnoth assumes that a Shadow is a masculine noun, and so skirmishing is given as consursatorius. Then there are neuter nouns, which Wesnoth can't handle at all.

So the question is how could I make it so that I could identify a noun's gender, and then be able to translate other adjectives accordingly.

I would file a feature request, if I knew what feature I was actually asking for. ;)
Last edited by Deusite on July 16th, 2011, 6:18 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Chtomorc
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Re: Issues of Gender

Post by Chtomorc »

Don't know if I am right or if that will help, but I can give you a french point of view :P

Maybe, as it is a undead unit with no gender, we can distinguish genders for the unit name and the ability name. In french, you may call this unit Ombre (which is feminine) and say it is a tirailleur (skirmisher masculine translation), and people won't bother much. But maybe Slavic languages are more concerned with grammar than French :lol2:

If we go deeper in that consideration, in french, neutral gender doesn't exist, so every unit would be given a male or female gender to avoid this issue. Maybe you encounter the same problem.
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Viliam
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Re: Issues of Gender

Post by Viliam »

Deusite wrote:I would file a feature request, if I knew what feature I was actually asking for. ;)
You want to have abilities (technically: adjectives) in both masculine and feminine form. That's not a problem.

The problem is, how would the game know which form to use?

Does in depend on gender of the unit? For example a male Elf should be e.g. "dextrous-masculine" and a female Elf should be "dextrous-feminine"? I think this is already done, am I wrong?

Or does it depend on gender of the word used for the unit type? Like in your example, "Shadow" is feminine in your language, so Shadow units would be e.g. "strong-feminine", regardless of their actual gender, because undeads don't have genders anyway. -- But in my language, "Shadow" is masculine, so then all Shadow units should be "strong-masculine". So we would have to note which unit types in which language correspond to which gender.

Or maybe it is even more difficult... perhaps the gendered unit types (such as Elves) should get their adjectives depending on gender of the unit, but genderless unit types (such as Shadows) should get their adjectives depending on gender of the unit type. I am not sure if this is the correct solution... but I don't like it. :(


In other words: Now, all genderless unit types are de facto male. It would be gramatically better, if they were de facto the same gender as the word for their unit type in given language. For example, if the word for "Shadow" is male, all Shadow units are de facto male; if the word for "Shadow" is female, all Shadow units are de facto female.

To implement this, translators must somehow provide the correct genders for the unit types.

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Deusite
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Re: Issues of Gender

Post by Deusite »

A discussion on IRC:
< Espreon> Some languages don't go by masculine, feminine, and neuter. Some language categorize nouns by cooky things such as "dangerous things". I'm not kidding.
< shadowmaster> it may be possible to add a .language_gender attribute that influences the UI choices without messing up with stats further
< shadowmaster> .language_name already exists and it's internally used by the unit class serialization code IIRC
< Espreon> And some have more than three...
< shadowmaster> the real problem is making the .language_gender attribute *value* translatable
< shadowmaster> (it gets worse if you take gettext's rules into account)
< shadowmaster> maybe rather than being translatable it could use language-gender pairs and translators would be given the responsibility to request pairs to be assigned as necessary
The whole thing depends on the gender of the word being used to translate the unit, not the natural gender of the word (i.e. male and female Dark Adepts etc), which Wesnoth caters for where it applies. In any case, there are sometimes weird exceptions to what you would expect, like how the Irish for stallion is a feminine noun (O hi mountainking). Since there are hypothetically endless possibilities (animate, inanimate, common nouns etc) and in the case of Latin and similar languages there is no such thing as a genderless noun, shadowmaster's last comment seems to me the solution most likely to be practical. In other words, translators would have to request strings to be translated according a unit's gender (linguistically speaking).

As well as abilities, traits would also be affected and basically anything used to describe the unit, which may also include verbs as well as adjectives.
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Re: Issues of Gender

Post by Mountain_King »

Deusite wrote:...like how the Irish for stallion is a feminine noun (O hi mountainking)...
Hi Deusite! :eng:
It gets better!! The word for "girl" is grammatically masculine! Good thing gender in Irish only affects spelling nowadays. :whistle:

Back on topic, this looks like it would be very valuable for many translators. I'm all for any plan to improve the quality of the Wesnoth translations.

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pauxlo
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Re: Issues of Gender

Post by pauxlo »

In an ideal world, we would use something similar like the translation mechanism for different plurals here, but more flexible.

I fear that this is not yet supported by gettext, and would be difficult to support at all.

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