Interview with LibreOffice localizers around the world: Helen & Sophie

Today we interview two great women, Helen Ushakova and Sophie Gautier, from the Russophone and Francophone communities.helenrussian

LibreOffice can only exist since people are working on it: so please, tell us a bit about yourself.

Helen:  My name is Elena Ushakova, also known by nicknames as Helen Russian (helenrussian, helen_russian). I am 36 years old. I’m full-time employed as a corporate web applications programmer.

Sophie: My almost full name is Sophie Gautier, also known as sgauti or sophi or sofi. I’m usually a women, traveling in the open source world since 14 years now.

In what other software projects have you been involved?

H: In the past I used to work on some projects but it was a short time. Seriously I liked only I took care of OOo UI and Help translations. We have the user forum and the site with useful tips. Now we are making the same things for LibreOffice. Also, I’m participating a little in the Apache OpenOffice project (mainly in the wiki).

S:  I’ve been deeply involved in the project, working on different areas, trying to understand all the aspect of this strange organization. I’ve done localization in French for other very small projects. I also participate in several associations.

Where do you live (and/or study)?

H:  Yekaterinburg, Russia.

S: I live where my feet are 😉 I guess it’s Paris for more than a year, yeah!

What do you do when you’re not working on LibreOffice?

H:  Well, I’ve got another pet project – DMOZ (Open Directory Project). I’m an ODP Editor since 2008. Also I like a lot of interesting things: whether it be cooking dinner for my family or playing musical instruments.

S: I own a consulting and training company dedicated to open source applications for the desktop. Creating objects and drawing is my favorite way to escape from the world.

When do you usually spend time on the project?

H: I don’t know… Every day. In the morning, in the evening. Each time when it is needed.

sgaS: Any time I’ve time, I think about it or work on it, I’m afraid it’s a kind of passion (no, I didn’t say poison!).

How did you hear about LibreOffice?

H: From news. And I remember the feeling of joy “Finally someone took this step” and then there was a long period of my doubts. The whole 10 long days. 🙂

S: I’ve been involved in The Document Foundation and LibreOffice since its creation, so the first time I heard about it was probably in my dreams.

Why did you get involved? Is LibreOffice popular in your native-language? 

H: First, people who are involved in the project are its precious thing. I love to be together with these people, to work in a team, to feel friendly support. Second, in the department of the company which I work, ODF is an internal corporate standard, so I dedicate a part of my work time to LibreOffice. As for the popularity of LibreOffice in Russia, we will definitely have to strive for it. However it still isn’t the main goal.

S:  I got involved with localization during the time, I’ve been taught by professional linguists and it was natural for me to go on with the French localization of LibreOffice. LibreOffice is more and more used in the French speaking countries and supported by the French Government, hence my motivation to continue the work too.

What was your initial experience of contributing to LibreOffice like?

H: It is obvious: I sent a file with the Russian UI translation update on 2010-Oct-8. After that it became too late to retreat. 🙂

S: I was very happy to work with so many different people, with so many skills, having so many different ways of being and with so much understanding.

What have you done since then?

H: Russian LibreOffice community does a lot of work. My contribution is not very big. Usually I translate UI, resolve some administrative questions on the user forum or sites. Sometime I help Free Office users on our forum or in G+ LibreOffice Russia community.

S:  Speaking about FR l10n, not much. I’m still alone to localize the UI/Help with my old tools and my friend named grep. But now, the French QA team is helping a lot in proof reading and correcting my mistakes (and I’m sure they often have a good laugh at them 🙂

What would be your best suggestion or advice for anyone interested in getting involved in the localization of LibreOffice?

H: Don’t be afraid to start any work alone. Be ready for errors. Always begin any work in LibreOffice only in a good mood 🙂 . And in this case LibreOffice will be source of inspiration for you and your personal growth.

S: My advice would be : do not be afraid by the amount of words all around you when you’ll begin, you’ll see that fast and soon, the green will eat the grey on Pootle. Also, we are a team, always here and happy to help each other, so never hesitate to ask either on a translation or the use of the tools.

What is your vision for the future and/or what would you most like to see improved in LibreOffice?

H: I would like each NLC to have more attention from the global community and be more involved into community life. Let’s communicate more.

S: What I would like to see the most improved is the representation of the native language projects and their communication with the international project. A native language project is like a small projection of the international project, but with its specificity due to the language. It should not be seen as a barrier or a fragmentation, it’s on the contrary what makes our diversity and our plurality, but we need to communicate more, always more because we are one and only one project.

Thanks a lot for your answers and your time!

H: You’re welcome!

S:  Thanks a lot for your interview!

Interview done and prepared by Charles-H. Schulz & Marc Paré.


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