open-source Notes

Notes of an open-source programmer.
11 Jan

BOINC Translation Services started

Last week the developers of BOINC, this famous and cool open source distributed computing framework, set up a new service to coordinate the localization of BOINC, this famous and cool open source … you get it. As you might know the translation stuff is handled in BOINC using the gettext library. So in order to be shown in different languages you need a .mo file for each language. Those files are precompiled from .po files to be very small in size. All Strings that are shown to the user should be in this .po file and have a translation, if not the original English string will be displayed. When strings change in the source code they also have to change in the English .po template and the .po files of all other languages. This is very difficult to coordinate because every translator uses his own programm to edit .po files and doesn’t check regularly if there is a new template file. Additionally you have to cope with difficulties merging your own .po file with the template and off course different charsets.

What the BOINC developers set up now is a web based gettext translation service that can coordinate the translation of all .po files and all languages using the UTF-8 charset. This is done using Pootle (PO-basedOnline Translation / Localization Engine). I discovered this yesterday and soon was browsing through the German translation stuff. I didn’t knew Pootle before but it is very intuitive and easy to use. As a translator you need a web browser only. No need to install poEdit or other Offline gettext editors. Browsing through translatable string is done using simple back, skip and suggest buttons. Every suggestion is then verified by a head translator and can be commented so you can discuss the meaning of different terms. You can also search for terms and make the translation consistent for them. All in all a very good tool to translate small and big gettext-based projects.

You can also join the BOINC Translation Service if you want to improve the quality of BOINC.

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