Recommend an online collaborative translation tool.
December 1, 2009 2:01 AM   Subscribe

Can anybody recommend a good collaborative online translation tool? Not an automated translator, something to help manage and co-ordinate a translation workflow in a team of people.

As an example, I have an excel spreadsheet or a database with a list of (not necessarily unique) questions and response options grouped into questionnaires for particular user groups.

I'd like to be able to upload this / import it into an online tool that then:

* breaks up the questions/responses into unique "translation snippets"
* allows individuals to propose translations for snippets in a number of requested languages
* allows moderators to review translations
* support back-translation for moderation as well.
* allow the completed translation "matrix" to be exported into a useful format (either the original database, an internationalisation po file etc.)

I've already got an excel sheet that does this in a specialised case with some scripting for a particular set of questionnaires. Looking for a more general purpose system that's online to ease collaborative headaches.

Any thoughts or starters for how to get this?

I'm explicitly not looking for a "upload your document and have it translated automatically" service. This is in the context of a community of volunteers, experts and internal staff we want to hand-select
posted by tkbarbarian to Technology (6 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Would Google Wave be a good solution for this?
posted by Admira at 2:57 AM on December 1, 2009

Have a look at the OpenOffice internationalization project. They are doing what you want on a pretty large scale, and the tools they use are sure to be open to customization and freely available.
posted by Dr Dracator at 5:04 AM on December 1, 2009

Best answer: You might take a look at the relatively new GlobalSource, which is an open source translation management system, and CrowdSight, its companion platform for crowdsourced translation projects.

Popping up on the horizon there are a handful of other translation management systems specifically aimed at crowdsourcing models: Lingotek and Elenex Crowd if you happen to have a budget for this project.

Pootle is not specifically oriented toward crowdsourcing but may be a somewhat simpler solution to accomplish what you're attempting.

I have no direct experience with any of the above, so these are just pointers. If you want to continue hunting around on your own, what you're looking for is what the translation industry calls a translation management system for crowdsourced translation.
posted by drlith at 6:51 AM on December 1, 2009 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thank you for the suggestions. "translation management system" seems obvious but wasn't a term I was looking for.

Wil have a think about Google Wave but a lot of the people I'm collaborating with are on low bandwidth, intermittent connections in Africa so Wave isn't high on on the list of friendly technology for that environment.

Pootle for OO looks very interesting as well.

Happy to have any more suggestions too!

Thanks a bunch hive mind!
posted by tkbarbarian at 9:54 AM on December 1, 2009

Best answer: I am probably late here, but a bunch of translation geeks from all over the world came to Amsterdam last summer for an Open Translation Tools event ( Among a lot of productive discussion, a group of us wrote this book (fully available online, open content):
There's a bunch of info on open source tools, some of them used in low connectivity areas. You will find info on collab process as well. Hope it helps!
posted by papalotl at 8:31 PM on December 1, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks again for the answers, to put it into context, I've written a little blog post at:

posted by tkbarbarian at 3:32 AM on December 2, 2009

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