Introduction to Open Source lsoftware localization
October 4, 2006 12:46 AM   Subscribe

I want to introduce a group of students to how open source software is localized (translated). What I am looking for is some software (preferebly cross platform) which uses text/po/mo files to store the text strings for each language.

The idea is to give the students some hands on experience on open source software localization. I know of a lot of web applications which use this approach, but one web application per student is to much work, which is why I am looking for a desktop application.

I am open to other approaches to how to achieve my goal, so if you have a better one, please share!
posted by eatmytag to Writing & Language (7 answers total)
Asking how open source software is localized is like asking how to become president in any country - not all countries have presidents, though many have things like presidents.

The central issue is that software development methodology can vary widely among open source projects. Some projects will be built with hard-coded 8-bit strings in english, while others will support unicode with surrogates and have a structured set of external string tables.

In general, you want to evaluate the level of internationalization (or i18n as the cool kids like to call it) present in a given piece of software, then approach localization on a case-by-case basis.

If your students are software engineers, you can focus on adding internationalization support to exisitng software. If they are linguists, you can focus on developing sets of international strings to provide to development teams (whether or not the software supports internationalization).
posted by b1tr0t at 2:24 AM on October 4, 2006

I know next to nothing, but you might find this Debian document about i18n useful.
posted by beerbajay at 2:56 AM on October 4, 2006

Firefox extensions?
posted by orthogonality at 4:20 AM on October 4, 2006

Guido van Robot has been translated in French, Spanish, Romanian, Catalan, Italian and Dutch. It uses the po/mo files.

RUR-PLE has been translated in French, English and Spanish (German and Turkish version exist but have not been integrated yet in the public release). It uses po files (but not mo files).

If you want student to actually work on new translations,
Crunchy is in development and has been translated in French and English. It uses po files (but not mo files).

All three are crossplatform; they are written in Python. The first two require wxPython; the last one require the Python module elementtree as well as Firefox.
posted by aroberge at 4:36 AM on October 4, 2006

I work on Audacity, which is cross-platform (Windows/Mac/Linux) and localized using gettext/po/mo files.

Rosetta is a central repository of PO files for programs in the Ubuntu operating system.
posted by mbrubeck at 7:05 AM on October 4, 2006

sylpheed-claws uses .po files
posted by gmarceau at 7:54 AM on October 4, 2006

Thanks everybody! Great links and resources!
posted by eatmytag at 1:52 AM on October 5, 2006

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