Spanish (es) locales for SecureDrop in relation to Tor Browser

Hi everyone!

I’m Gonzalo (he/him) :wave:

I have been taking a close look at the Spanish translations for the SecureDrop “component” in Weblate over the past couple of weeks.

As I was looking at the references to the Tor Browser user interface, I realized that some of the Tor Browser settings that are referenced in SecureDrop have different translations in different Spanish locales. :bulb:

Specifically there are two translations in Tor Brower for the strings that are used in SecureDrop:

  • es_ES
  • es_AR, es_CL, es_MX (all three use the same translations for the strings that are used in SecureDrop)

Since using any of the locales is technically correct, this opens the question of consistency.
I believe that using a consistent vocabulary makes SecureDrop less error-prone for people who may not be very familiar with Tor Browser (or other technical concepts related to security in SecureDrop). Since the mistakes a source makes could compromise their safety, I believe that it is worth trying to reduce consistency issues where possible.

Replying to my comment in Weblate @erinm suggested I start the conversation here to make easier for more people to get involved. (Thank you!)

What does everybody think?

cc: @rmol who replied in that comment thread as well.

I have a few personal thoughts on ways to approach this problem, but I don’t want to mix thoughts on the problem (above) and thoughts on potential solutions so I’ll write my “solution” thoughts in a separate comment. :slightly_smiling_face:

:warning: Solution mode! Take everything with a grain of salt, but here is my current thinking. :slightly_smiling_face:

Short version: I think that using the translations from Tor Borwser es_ES in SecureDrop would be reasonable.

Why do I think it would be reasonable to refer to Tor Borwser’s es_ES locale?

  • I find that the translations do not differ much anyway across locales. (Arguably this is subjective.) As a Latin American speaker, the few strings the SecureDrop would use from Tor Browser es_ES make complete sense to me and feel familiar.
  • Where the strings differ, I think the es_ES translation happens to be safer. Example: Security Level: “Safest” is translated as:
    • “El más seguro” in Tor Browser es_ES - this seems okay to me
    • “En extremo seguro” in Tor Browser es_AR/es_CL/es_MX - to me, this seems to imply much more security than the English string does. Because of that, I would feel better not using this specific translation in this specific case. Again, this is arguably quite subjective. For longer considerations, see [1] below.
  • SecureDrop’s locale is es_ES. This is probably the least subjective reason, but I also find it the weakest. If I thought the translations in es_ES were difficult for American audiences to use, I would certainly advocate for finding a compromise. :slightly_smiling_face:

Reasons that would make me reconsider using the Tor Browser’s es_ES locale

There are a few things I can think of that would certainly make me reconsider using Tor Borwser’s es_ES locale as a reference. Of course, there may be others that I’m not thinking of! For now:

  • Maybe there are significantly more users of Tor Browser in the es_AR + es_CL + es_MX group? I’m thinking of them as a group because they use the same translations for the strings that SecureDrop refers to, see the first post in this thread. That may be something to look into. Does anyone know where to find statistics on the usage of Tor Browser locales?

That’s is for me! I’m sure you have thoughts! :wink:

[1] There used to be a page in the documentation of the Tor Browser warning that changing browsing habits was necessary to ensure anonymity, and that Tor Browser on its own was not enough in itself to guarantee people’s safety. That page was removed in March 2019 when the new website was launched, it was more than a year ago, so maybe I’m over-cautious? (copy of the page in the Internet Archive (March, 15. 2019))

I agree; it makes sense to align our es_ES with Tor Browser’s es_ES.

It was pointed out in the Weblate comment thread you mentioned that es_ES is downloaded and used much more than the other locales. I checked the statistics for 2020 so far and using update pings as a proxy for current usage, es_ES instances made 6210135, while es_AR (the only other Spanish locale in the CSV I received, perhaps because it represents the same translations?) reported 95756.

That suggests that our strings should match what the vast majority of es-locale Tor Browser users are going to see.

:bulb: I didn’t know about that statistics page. Thank you for provinding a link to it @rmol : )

This might be an opportunity to add some terms to the Spanish glossary in Weblate?
I’ll make a list of the terms that come from the Tor Browser project so that next time they change the first person to notice can update them for everybody.