I just translated the FAQ to German. Because other pages use the polite form “Sie” (which I guess would be the “vouz” form in French), I kept using polite, professional language. However, some remarks about choosing Debian and choosing not to use .deb packaging feel inappropriately snarky in the polite form. Like this:
If you still think deb packages can be hacked to do this, see previous answers.
Si vous restez persuadé que l’on peut néanmoins bricoler les paquets .deb pour gérer tout cela, voir les réponses précédentes.
Wenn Sie immer noch denken, man kann deb Pakete dazu bringen, all dies zu leisten, berücksichtigen Sie bitte die vorherige Antwort.
With an undefined pronoun, it feels a bit less directed at the reader, but still like a unusually formal burn.
Wer trotzdem glaubt, man könne deb Pakete dazu bringen, all dies zu leisten, möge sich die vorherige Antwort anschauen.
While I think it’s okay that the language around an open source project can occasionally be humorous or sarcastic, it feels a bit passive aggressive when using “Sie”. I saw the French version uses vouz, but maybe it has a different feel in French.
Has there been a discussion and decision about what feeling the website and the documentation should convey (and if we even go for a different tone in different languages)?
- Business professional
- Mostly professional, but with occasional warm and informal moments and positive humor. Like this:
Apps were packaged in .deb in the past. It was a nightmare. We’re happy now ;).
- Informal with occasional sarcasm
I think there are reasons for each tone. A more informal tone could feel more homely to private users and the contributors. A more professional tone could make the project more interesting for businesses.
To get back to my initial dilemma: I don’t think the current tone of the FAQ page works very well in polite German. It feels like it should be the informal “Du” if we want to keep the snark. But then most other translations so far use “Sie”. What should I do? Defuse the sarcastic jabs in German?
I know this is not an urgent matter in any way, it just slowed down my translation speed immensely, wondering about what I should go for.