[Tor www-team] Localization (passive vs active user interaction)

Frithjof sfrithjof at gmail.com
Sat Jan 11 22:40:16 UTC 2014

On Sat, Jan 11, 2014 at 6:42 PM, Armin <armin.baj at gmx.de> wrote:
> On 10.01.2014 20:01, Frithjof wrote:
>> [....]
>> The one downside is that translators need to be able to edit po-files.
>> Unfortunately I don't think that Transifex helps much here: When you
>> are translating a complete web page, you need a lot more context than
>> when translating isolated strings in a program.
> disclaimer: i know nothing about transiflex, so i can't make useful
> comparisons. i'm also not a localization expert or a pootle developer.
> take everything i say with a grain of salt.

This looks more like what I was thinking of.

>> But such an interface for translator could maybe be designed?
> what are the requirements of the translators? maybe some translators are
> around here and tell us about their workflow.
> once we have the requirements we can start looking into our options
> (transiflex, (vanilla or customized) pootle,  custom tool or something
> different all together) and how good they fit those requirements.

I am actually way out of my knowledge domain here. I started doing
translations recently and have been thinking about requirements since.
I also tried to look around how other projects are handling
translations. The problem is certainly not new, so if somebody knows
about good solutions, please tell. There have to be some out there.

The main question I see is: How can one make the translations survive.

There already were translations once, but at some point many weren't
maintained. This leads to some requirements that I think are

* In a open-source project it is not clear that someone is caring for
all the translations all the time. This might be possible in a
commercial setting, but here it might happen that a translation is not
maintained for some month, say, until a new maintainer shows up.
(Maybe there even isn't a proper maintainer or team and all we can
hope for is different people fixing and translating parts randomly.)

Thus it is vital to be able to tell which translations are correct or
up to date. Wrong documentation is worse than none (or only English
documentation).  Using something like gettext solves this nicely.
Outdated translations are marked fuzzy and are not used until they are
corrected or confirmed. This way a translation can deteriorate in
extend but now in correctness.

* The translation needs to be sustainable in the sense that translator
will leave and the entry barrier for new translator should be low.
Even if a whole team closes down, it should be easy for others to

Transifex helps here by making it really easy to get started and for
example by having projects specific glossaries, so the knowledge and
decisions of past translator is still available (or at least could
be). Learning specialized tools and having commit access to some git
repository instead already is quite a barrier.

> anyway, i'm willing to put some time into making translations "work" (be
> it integration scripts, hacking on pootle, help with a custom tool)

I am also interested in making this work, but I am far from being a
web developer.

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