Should CLI debug output and error messages be localized in a GUI application?

Whilst working on update-manager I have been wondering whether I should use gettext for localizing debug output and error messages sent to stderr.
As for debug output itself I basically do not see the need for providing a localized version for each and every message sent to stderr, but as far as error messages are concerned I am uncertain.

The point is that update-manager (apart from its experimental text interface) is usually not launched from a terminal at all and so most users won't even see these messages ever. Also, I believe that every developer's English skills are good enough so that he or she is able to understand simple messages.
Error messages however might be useful to all users when they experience a problem with the software, but localizing those could make handling bug reports a bit harder, possibly having to translate the error message back to English before being able to see what has gone wrong.

So basically I am asking you: What do you think? Is it worth localizing these messages? What is your experience with localized or non-localized error and debug messages?

I would be glad if I could get some input from you, either as a comment to this article, via email to debian(dot)sp(dot)or(dot)at or through the update-manager-devel mailing list.

1 comment:

  1. I think there are two different type of error messages. One you'd display in a nice dialog to some imaginary user (I always image my mother is reading it) and then the user would know what to do. I'd like those messages translated.

    The second type of error message is when something is terribly wrong. The type that gives you lots of techy details to solve a difficult problem. The one you (or medium-techy users) would copy-paste to google and get the answer they need to solve a problem. They need to be in english because of two reasons:

    * They probably contain technical slang, something translators might confuse for actual words that can be translated. As such a translated error message can get very confusing. The english is probably more clear

    * Google. You can search the entire web if the message has occurred somewhere else. Find bugreports. etc.