[OSGeo-Discuss] Manage translation in OSGeo project

Landon Blake lblake at ksninc.com
Mon Aug 25 09:15:22 PDT 2008


"We have to think about hosting pages, but also all the translation process: 
who is doing what, when do we need what modify, who change what, etc."

I believe there are really two (2) areas in which OSGeo projects can focus on translation:

(1) Easing the translation of the GUI of FOSS GIS projects.
(3) Writing program documentation in a way that makes translation as easy as possible.
(2) Understanding how internationalization can impact non-GUI design decisions.

The first list item above is the most obvious. How many OSGeo projects currently support internationalization? I know that OpenJUMP does, and that this involves a serious investment in programmer time and energy. But I think the end result is worth the effort. I oftentimes wonder if internationalization is one of the reasons why JUMP foundered and OpenJUMP blossomed...

The second list item has a lot to do with document design and layout. I've found, for example, that separating graphics from text can make translation a lot easier, at least for documents that are not laid out dynamically, like PDF and many word processor documents.

The third list item is much less obvious, and sometimes I don't even recognize that I might be dealing with a translation issue until I make a concerted effort to think like a non-English speaker. For example: OpenJUMP Feature Schemas reference simple feature attributes by attribute name or a numerical index. I wanted a way to test if a feature schema contained a set of attributes that met a group of minimum requirements. I realized that I shouldn't use attribute names for this test, but the numerical position and/or data type of the attribute instead. This is because an attribute with a name of "point description" in English is going to have a totally different name in German, though the attribute will serve the same logical purpose. What I should really be doing in the feature schema test is looking for at least one String attribute in the last position of the schema.

Maybe we need a short guide on providing internationalization support for open source GIS programs?

The Sunburned Surveyor

-----Original Message-----
From: discuss-bounces at lists.osgeo.org [mailto:discuss-bounces at lists.osgeo.org] On Behalf Of Yves Jacolin
Sent: Sunday, August 24, 2008 7:00 AM
To: Discussions, OSGeo
Subject: [OSGeo-Discuss] Manage translation in OSGeo project


** History **
2 years ago I began to translate the GDAL-OGR documentation into french. In 
order to do things correctly I contacted FrankW to know which way was the 
best to do things. As I began to work on a OOo document, we decided that I 
will send the dox files for gdal and ogr utilities. The other pages are now 
hosted by my personal website (which aims to host all my documentation).

** Currently **
Now it is finished, and after contacting some other projet, I saw that some 
project did not think about translation process and hosting. QGIS host its 
documentation in LaTeX files in SVN which is a quiet good solution but with 
some constrainte (not all people know LaTeX tags and a lot are afraid about 
editing LaTeX files). Some other are using Trac wiki which seems quiete 
limited (but I am not aware of all its possibility).
In the past (not so far) I tried to run the Cartoweb Community [1] using 
Dokuwiki and some hack to manage langage process, but this is not good 

** Some propositions **
Well, I have no one, but as I am mainly a translator and began writing some 
other documentation, I think this is time to think about this (for my 
personnal point of view ;) ). I think this is important that all 
documentation should be in the same website as the original, see Dokuwiki 
website [2] for a good example (to me).

We have to think about hosting pages, but also all the translation process: 
who is doing what, when do we need what modify, who change what, etc.

** Conclusion **
The purposes of this mail are :
* tell to everybody (project committee, dev) to not to forget to think about 
* run a discuss about this small "issue".

Best regards,

[1] http://ww.cartoweb-community.net
[2] http://www.deezer.com/track/848
Yves Jacolin
"Donner la liberté aux individus ne suffit pas, il faut aussi leur donner du 
pouvoir, de la puissance d'agir." M Gauchet

"Give freedom to people is not enough, we also have to give them the power to 
use this freedom, to act". M Gauchet
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