Archive for the 'i18n' Category

Great list of online collaborative translation tools

Tim (who previously pointed me to several of the links on his list) has compiled this list. Including a couple I now have to go and check out.


Oh hell yeah!

Ça se dit comment “Oh hell yeah” en français? 🙂

The first photos of the proposed WineCamp France chalet are up.

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New translation challenge: video subtitles

Wow – the translation world gets even more interesting / complicated (as if it weren’t enough already).

dotSUB allows you to translate video content subtitles. I assume most of the videos they are using so far include the original language “closed captioned” subtitles required by law (probably in use more widely in sports bars than for the deaf, but – really, I don’t know if that’s true….)

As is usual with Web2.0 sites, you land on the front page and have no clue what the hell the site does. This demo, though, gets the idea across very quickly.

Thanks (again) Tim.

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Drupal custom PO file generator

Wow – this is hot – if I understand it correctly. A tool to (re)create PO files for your Drupal modules. As opposed to the autolocale module that will import PO strings from your modules after you enable them (useful is a) you don’t have shell / command line access to your server, or b) if you turn on I18n or Translations later in the game, and don’t want to troll through your directories importing al teh PO strings.)

I’ll let the actual author’s description do the talking:

  • “Maybe you want to translate a drupal module or template, but can’t find the original po file?
  • Do you want to create a new po file?
  • Simply use ther form below, and the WGenPo (“Web Drupal Po Files
    Generator”) will give you the empty po file to fill with your translation strings.”

[PO – “portable object” – files are used in Drupal to identify strings of text that will allow language translation for any particular module. So if your module uses the phrase “Enter your dog’s name”, the PO file will list this phrase as a line of text that can be swapped out for another language – as long as you have this phrase in the other language. Otherwise, it will just keep the phrase in the original language. Yeah, that’s a bit of a lame description, but if you don’t know what it is, this tool is NOT the place to start….]

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Getting help to translate the web

For a while I’ve been looking around for simple online translation tools – for websites and blogs.  I’m a fan of computer translation – as a first step.  I use Google Translate and Babelfish all the time when I translate into French, because even though I’m a fleunt speaker, my writing needs help.  With the machine translation, I can quickly get 60-70% there, then clean up the rest.  (See my initial thoughts last year on using machine translation as a first step to blogging in another language).

Free, human-based translation “services” are still hard to come by.  There was the now defunct (that I pointed to in the link above) – and now new on the horizon came this pointer from bilingual German-English TimWorld Lexicon Project.  I’m still not sure how it is supposed to work – I think there’s a bit of a disconnect between the idea of how it should work, and how smoothly it actually works – but it looks intriguing.  I think WLP faces the same challenge as any of these other systems – to put it in the words of a skeptic of NativeText, “Do you really think that people will translate other blogs or podcasts for free?”  I know I would want to, but will I?

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WineCampFrance – a multilingual challenge

I’ve just finished trying to organize the WineCamp France wiki into pages that will reduce the need to maintain changes in several languages across several pages. It’s makng me think of not only the i18n sessions at OSCMS, but also my own work on a US-focused volunteer site that aims to hook up theatre contacts from around the world. I mean, forget translating content – if someone speaks French, shouldn’t the pull down list show “Français” instead of “French”? (And what flag should be used? For France, colonialism dictates, I guess – but then again, what would the Swiss say? And for Portuguese, the official dictionary is now the Brazilian one…)

Stephanie Booth, Swiss multi-lingual bloggeuse* extraordinaire (and very first tipper of the WineCampFrancophone hat) has some deep thoughts on multi-lingual blogging, as well as pointers to some great little hacks / tools.

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Coming at us like a bunch of #$@^% Belgians*

(* Quote from an episode of “Rome” intended to show respect for Belgian’s fierceness in battle.)

Here’s the last of the OSCMS round-up:

  • I ran into a bunch of fun – and really damn smart – Belgians at the conference. No surprise, since Drupal founder Dries is Belgian, and so is uber-Drupal-geek Stee Wittens.
  • Despite the European connection, though, apparently Drupal is far more popular in the U.S. than in Europe. (DrupalFrance confirms this – link in French). Also, someone commented during the internationalization presentation that Plone has had more built-in multi-language support in core than Drupal – something the I18n folks are trying to convince the What-gets-into-core gatekeepers to include in Drupal 6 (or at least Drupal 7).
  • Speaking of languages (ouch….) the I18n / localization implementations in the U.S primarily focus on primary language sites with a set of translated pages (think an English site with some Spanish about and help pages) – at least, that’s been the bulk of my experience seeing what Drupalers have done. What will really drive the Drupal’s adoption in other parts of the world – in my opinion, and I think this is what the I18n folks were expressing too – is a more robust solution for fully bi-, tri- and multi-lingual sites (for a driver of this kind of development, think of Belgium’s requirement to have all official docs published in French and Flemmish…. And what about Switzerland? Catalonia? ). There are some subtle problems involved here that are too complicated to get into in this brief note – but check into the I18n forum if you’re interested.
  • Future of Drupal – It was a long set-up, but the punch line was that Drupal could eventually make website developers obsolete. Well, uh, maybe – the CCK, views and panels modules are pretty nifty, but this also belies the misperception in the open source world that this kind of stuff is “easy” for anyone, and if you have problem, just fire up your chat app and hit up #Drupal at Freenode. And for the rest of us that go “Huh?” (And for the rest of us whose job is *not* technology?) I’ve worked in the nonprofit world for 10 years – the nonprofit *tech* world – and am now in the independent school world. People don’t want to spend their time learning how to build a website, even if the tool is fairly easy to learn and even easier to use, and may never require a line of code. It’s just not their job – their job is teaching, or feeding the hungry, or advocating for the environment. Every mechanic will tell you that maintaining your own car is easy – heck, maintaining your bike is easy…. But we still need -nay, we still demand car (and bike) mechanics. Because in the end it’s another skill set we don’t want to learn. So I don’t think Drupal will kill off web site developers like Amazon killed off bookstores (a snarky example of Internet change as described by Dries), but it will sure kill of proprietary CMS companies, and the secondary industries that have sprung up around them (see WebEx, SharePoint, and maybe even Raiser’sEdge down the road?)
  • The PHP bugaboo – there was a flare-up over when Drupal would drop support for PHP 4. Dries (of Drupal) and Rasmus (of PHP) essentially pointed fingers at each other. Wel, Dries pointed fingers at ISPs, who all need to upgrade; and I kinda agree with him. But Rasmus’ point was that the economic driver was actual Drupal users – there are a helluva lot more Drupal users and websites thatn there are ISPs, and if Drupal demanded the change, others would follow. I know there’s more to the PHP argument than that – but for me the kicker is… Drupal is now a political force that can drive Internet change (and already has to a certain extent).
  • Alfresco – an open-source CMS I had never heard of, and then someone nonchalantly tells me it’s being adopted by a bunch of Wall Street firms. I was a floored (and worried I had put my money in the Drupal camp, and all the people with money had put their feet in the Alfresco camp). The best short (and slightly deriding) description I heard was “It’s just an archiving system.” True, it’s a really powerful, open-source document archiving and retrieval system that has good (and enterprise level) support that is appropriate for universities and corporations that need a good system for managing documents. It’s not so great as a basic website, or a multi-funciton CMS. At least, that’s what I’ve gathered over the 48 hours after I first heard about it.

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