Entries from October 2010 ↓

Localization Update for the 2010 Q3 GNOME Quarterly Report

(As drafted on the gnome-i18n mailing list several days ago.)

On July 29, Andre Klapper represented the GNOME Translation Project at the AGM meeting at GUADEC with a Project update report. At GUADEC, he also gave a talk on “Identifying software projects and translation teams in need” where he provided an overview of interesting data combined & gathered from Damned Lies, GNOME Bugzilla and other relevant sources.

Gil Forcada, with the feedback from other community members, conducted the GNOME I18N Survey by sending a questionnaire on August 13 to every GTP language coordinator, and collecting answers for two weeks. Out of 120 coordinators, 36 answered. The rationale behind the survey was to know each other within the GNOME translation community better, and thus to find ways the GTP can improve the overall experience of translating GNOME.

The sent questionnaire consisted of more than 20 questions on various areas of community l10n in GNOME, e.g. inquiring about general team information, coordinatorship & membership, team workflow, QA processes, use & evaluation of GNOME Damned Lies infrastructure, collaborating with downstream translators, other translation teams, and language institutions, community knowledge sharing, etc.

As for the GNOME development itself, GTP language teams have been busy working on providing l10n support for the new GNOME stable release 2.32, which was delivered on September 29. GTP has been also investigating approaches to help out language teams that seemed to be considerably short on manpower and/or proper coordinatorship, this included the Persian and Welsh teams.

We also communicated with GNOME developers to try to solve i18n issues with translating strings within submodules, strings with constructed sentences, and some other problems that (re)appeared during the Q3 period.

During Q4, apart from working on l10n support for the upcoming GNOME 3, GTP community aims for identifying issues with the current i18n & l10n infrastructure inside and outside the GNOME Project, like the Git commit functionality, and solving them, hopefully implementing the necessary GTP support for repositories hosted at git.gnome.org and elsewhere. This is to be done in conjunction with the Release Team’s proposal for moduleset reorganization.

Translation Teams Off

You are a developer and you want to keep your project moving forward. You set up various communication channels and organize an open community around. Your vivid project starts to attract new people, amongst them are people who intend to contribute code to the project. Great, because that’s what you were waiting for when you started building your FLOSS community.

Naturally, you do not allow anyone on the net to directly contribute code without any, more or less formal,  review process. That’s good, since you care about happy community of contributing members, but you also want quality that you can be proud of.

Translation Teams Off

And then there’s the world of community localization. You are most likely not a polyglot, and you can hardly do a review process with tons of languages from around the world, apart from making sure that the localization work you’ve been provided is not missing some obvious bits of technicalities. So you simply open the submit process for l10n to anyone, or reach to some nice outsourcing tool, hoping that translators will eventually cope with it and the project’s l10n will be worthy, as is the code. But really?

But Really, It’s For Your Own Good

That is, not to stick to the openness at any cost. The fact is that, quite similarly to the code contribution, the quality work in l10n will not miraculously show up. It needs reviews, proper management, suitable workflow. It needs community.

One of the first things you need to do if you want to facilitate building a real l10n community is to set up, more or less formal, rules. So you turn the translation teams option on. You encourage work in translation teams & projects, so your translators can interact with each other and share knowledge. You keep an eye on l10n. You are responsive to the needs of your translation team members. Then you are a great developer with FLOSS project that deserves quality & efficiency in l10n very much comparable to that of the professional (as in commercial) translators with plenty of ISO & DIN certificates. And your project has it. For free. (Almost.)

Translation Teams