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  • Time: 12:15 - 13:15

  • Name: Supporting Translations

  • Facilitators: Steve Alexander and Jordi Mallach

  • Description: This workshop focuses on the needs of the free software translation community, and the technical and coordination support available for those efforts. Catalan will be used as an example. This session will be of interest to free software users, developers, documentation writers and translators.

Intro by sabdfl

Steve: An experiment in several languages, we'll talk about Rosetta a translation-tool

Supporting Translations

Jordi started in Catalan, quite long, in short:

  • Software is usually written in English but you want to use it in the language that you speak.

Steve: Many people would love to translate software it is just too difficult.

Why is it hard?

  • you need to understand difficult tools
  • POT files, PO files, CVS, SVN, Gettext
    • Use case: My father who speaks Chinese would like to but cannot use these tools

  • Where to find translators in open source
  • The culture and language of programmers

Getting your translations into the software

  • A translator might have to pester authors via email
  • He might have to convince developers it is a worth wile translation
  • It is difficult for authors as well as they have to coordinate these efforts, which takes away time from development

Users can not easily get translations fixed

  • I see something is wrong but how do I get it fixed?


  1. easy for translators (web interface)
  2. Shows what is translated and what still needs to be done

The idea is to bring authors and translators together.

What followed was a demonstration of Rosetta.

How does Rosetta work?

  1. A developer 'internationlizes' his project using the GNU Gettext library, and extracts a PO-file (a file with the English text-lines of his program) using xgettext. The PO-file is uploaded to Rosetta.
  2. Rosetta tries to guess what language you might want to use from the ip address, but a user can override and set his own preferences as well.
  3. A translator will see English text strings and can write a translation under it.
  4. Another translator can later improve it.
  5. Rosetta can show the context where the string is being used.
  6. It will show how many percent has been translated
  7. The PO-file can be exported (usually by the developer), it can then be put in the source directory, the user will then be able to see what it looks like implemented.

To use it:

  # LANG=es_ES.UTF-8 gnome-hello -n "<whatever string you want>"                        

This will use the right code-page for the application.

Rosetta is not yet finished but over the coming few weeks we will continue adding tools that translators might need.

From next week people will be able to start using it. You can just login and start translating.

jdub: question from IRC: what about memory?

In the coming weeks we will start importing POT-files



How can we make sure 'fuzzy' translations are being reviewed? There is a check-box needs review

What about remarks? It is possible to see remarks next to the string

Would it possible to see other translations? Not yet, but this is planned

What about glossaries of basic words? Already asked by EnricoZini, we are working on it.

What about people management? Newbie translator vs Master Translation This will be looked at after people start using it.

What about the source code of Rosetta? It is open for use but the source code can not yet be downloaded, we hope it might be possible in the future.

Remark: Rosetta is part of Launchpad. All these tools are integrated. It would be possible for a particular distribution how much is translated, right now.

How do authors get their translations? Upstream authors and come and get the files or Rosetta can send a tgz-file to the author.

Some translators are used to desktop tools, what about them? They can down and later upload the POT-files, later we will make available more tools.

Can the program be automatically compiles, so a translator can check it out? We are working on such a system for Ubuntu.

Can I put any program in it, even if is not free? Good question, we are still looking at these issues, Rosetta is meant for open-source software. If somebody complaints we will look at it.

What about integrated spell-checking? Konqueror does this already, but we take notes of these great ideas.

United Nations project for translating software, do you have an affiliation with this? Mark is involved with some of this, we hope to start using Rosetta for this.

Besides POT-files, what formats can we expect to be supported? Man-pages, Docbook-files, OpenOffice and Mozilla strings are also being looked at.

Who might be interested to start using Rosetta? Several hands where raised, people who would at least look at it.

Will the user interface be translated? Yes, in Rosetta even, sorry no live translation though.

Can anyone tell me how you upload .PO files -- for example, I already have some translations in Spanish and want to upload es.po so that they show up here for correction/updating/improvement by other translators. How do I do that?

There is a mailing-list:: (sign up: http:// ) (archive: http:// )


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