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Re: Google summer of code: i18n infrastructure

On Friday 12 May 2006 23:13, Zejn Gasper wrote:
> By providing good web translation portal Debian not only helps itself,
> but also projects like GNOME, KDE and other, because translators for
> specific language would only need one interface for all the opensource
> projects 
> and message handling overhead is greatly diminished since the 
> translator can easily few fuzzy strings with web interface while it he
> would need to use the old-fashioned checkout-translate-send to
> reviewer-reviewer sends to project i18n admin-admin commits process ...
> he would probably not do it.

Couple of points: 

- The checkout and send process is really the most insignificant part of the
  translation process, though improvements are certainly possible

- The interesting problem is exposing the workflow, and making it more
  transparent/understandable/accessible for newbie translators. 
  Having a 'translation editor on a webpage' isn't all that needed or
  interesting IMHO, though off course it doesn't hurt (po-editors are about
  as simple to use as any program can be, putting one in web-page form isn't
  gonna gain you much if anything).
  Unifiying the various information sources we currently have would be a
  major boon, e.g. for Dutch we have: the debian intl-pages [1], the bot
  page [2], bits in the wiki [3], ... (other teams undoubtfully have there
  own bits and pieces)

- I'd focus on debian-specific translations, at least at first, reasons are:
  - there's more then enough debian-specific stuff left to translate
  - adding upstream translations requires agreement of upstream 
    translation teams and integration with their translation flows, which is
    different from that off debian-translation teams. Achieving this is not
    going to be a short-term thing. 
  (once you have the debian-specific stuff integrated, expand to the
   upstreams that don't have translation teams, and only after that to those
   that do)

For Debian specific translaton I do my workflow mostly goes mostly like 

- Checkout:
  1) check the debian intl page [1] and the bot page [2] to see what
     translations need updating (or in case of a new translation to see if
     anyone is working on it yet). 
  2) download the po or pot files for those translations to a directory on
     my laptop's hard-disk (through the links on the debian intl page)

  Note: where the maintainers use the podebconf-report-po tool the above
        collapses to, save po-file attached to the 'Request For Update'
        mail in my inbox.
  Note: when possible I'll work directly through svn in which case I usually
        will get do the update before podebconf-report-po is used or an
        update is done (which will appear on the page)

  -> This really isn't the problem, but several improvements are possible:

  1) integrate www.debian.org/intl/l10n/po-debconf/nl with the bot-page on
     dutch.debian.net, and similar for other teams. This has been proposed
     before, but AFAIK nothing has materialized, not sure if anyone is
     currently working on this
  2) have some integration between podebconf-report-po and this page:
     something along the lines of having the table say 'request for update
     send on <date> to <last_translator>' with a link to the to-be-updated
     po-file (mostly newer then the one in the last package version that's
    linked from the intl-page)
  3) a possibility might be to put the po-files linked on these pages,
     in a central repository and built svn/web/mail/... gateways on that
     (with the debian intl pages being main page of the web gateway?).

     NOTE: if you offer the possibility to translate things online through
     pootle or whatever, then _don't_ let random passersby mess with
     existing translations directly, make them go through the 'owner'
     (translation maintainer, usually last translator) of that translation.
     The concept of 'owner' of a translation is central.

Translate and review:
  1) open in po-editor and translate
  2) send in for review
  3) discuss on list (quite often review involve a fair bit of discusion in
     search of the best translation)
  4) incorporate review comments, and send again to list (repeat 3 and 4
     untill everybody is happy, or agrees to disagree)

  -> This is where the majority of the work is done and I don't see any
     magic bullets here, the translation bots already expose the status of
     translations during these steps.
  -> A central repository might allow some things to be automated.
  -> Main problem here is probably making this process transparent and
     understandeble for newbie translators (currently this mostly involves a
     series of mails on the list, with explanations and pointers to the
     various status and information pages)
     Links to explanations of the current step and how to get involved on
     the coordination page(s) (possibly through a web-gateway) would
     probably help.

  1) send in wishlist bug to BTS with the updated translation (and let the
     bot now about it)
  -> Not a problem, might be automated when done through the
     web-frontend/central repository.

[1] http://www.debian.org/intl/l10n/po-debconf/nl or 
    http://www.debian.org/intl/l10n/po/nl mostly, though the latter has
    mostly non-debian-specific stuff
[2] http://dutch.debian.net
[3] http://wiki.debian.net/StandardTranslations,

> If this software is to be 'the killer translation 
> server app', it would need support for policies (eg. what is not allowed
> in translations, how are some words always translated, filter for common
> mistakes ...) and support for translation memory tied to policy (eg.
> because KDE translation guidelines differ from GNOME's). 

if you create policy tools then please create them as seperate tools that 
- called automatically by the web-frontend and 
- packaged inside Debian. 
That way those of us who translate off-line in a regular po-editor can
also use them. 
Cheers, cobaco (aka Bart Cornelis)

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