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Re: translating via an intermediate language

Bruno, thanks for your reply. :)

On 28/09/2006, at 9:21 PM, Bruno Haible wrote:

It's great to know gettext can already do this: it means we can start
testing the process.

This facility is needed for the cases when translating from a non-
English language _would_ produce a better result.

For my language alone, there are many possible translators who would
work much better from Chinese or Russian to Vietnamese than from
English. It's simply a matter of which languages you have had the
opportunity to learn.

Now _that_ is an interesting idea!

Gettext can already nearly do this, too,

Yay! :)

if you write three small scripts/
programs to
  - convert an English-based .pot file into a Russian-based .pot file,
- convert an English->Vietnamese PO file to a Russian->Vietnamese PO file,
    (to be used when such a translator starts her work),
- convert an Russian->Vietnamese PO file back to an English- >Vietnamese PO file
    (to be used when a translator is done with her work).
And then the translator has these additional conversions steps all the time.

It would be better, for the future, that the translator has only one
additional step to perform: When she gets a new PO file, she converts it
to a mixed English/Russian->Vietnamese PO file. Such a mixed
English/Russian->Vietnamese PO file would
1) permit the translator to peek into the English original when something is
2) also work when not some of the Russian translations are missing or fuzzy, 3) get rid of the "convert back" step, since msgfmt could directly grok
     the mixed English/Russian->Vietnamese PO file.

The syntax for a mixed PO file could like this:

  msgid "Hello, world!"
  msgid[ru] "Здравствуй, мир!"
  msgstr "Chào thế giới !"

The PO file editors would have to be taught to display msgid[ru] in preference
to msgid if the translator has said so.

This would be a big help. :)

We could also use available translations. Another translator has already mentioned doing this in Emacs: keeping the backup language PO file as a reference. So if we could request:


in an editor, specifying the secondary msgid language in the prefs, I know many translators would benefit.

Current candidates for the secondary msgid language, which would increase our translation resources, and make it possible for many more translators to participate, include Russian, Spanish, Portuguese, French, Afrikaans, Chinese and Hindi.

Since these languages are often already represented in the set of PO files, the translation editor would simply implement the chosen secondary language from that set.

This could also enable msgctxt in the secondary language. ;)

from Clytie (vi-VN, Vietnamese free-software translation team / nhóm Việt hóa phần mềm tự do)

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