This year, I will help translate 10 opensource programs into my language.
The Decathlon is a project that aims to help volunteer translators form new language communities and help translate opensource software into their languages. Come on, commit yourself to helping to translate just 10 programs this year.
The Decathlon is a project coordinated by the South African software localisation organisation, Translate.org.za. During the Decathlon year we will assist volunteer translators to translate opensource software into their own languages and other languages. It is our hope to establish communities of translators who translate not just one program but at least 10 programs this year.
The Decathlon is supported by a grant from the Open Society Institute.
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Here are links to all five issues of our newsletter posted to the above announcement mailing list -- it provides a good overview of the project's progress.
The Decathlon has the following broad aims:
The public activities of the Decathlon project will centre around (a) bringing translators together and coordinating their efforts to translate opensource software, and (b) gaining cooperation from and exposure with various opensource software projects that will be translated.
The name of the project, “Decathlon” reflects our goal for the year. We want translators taking part in the Decathlon to translate ten programs into their languages.
Ten programs is a realistic number for a year — that’s one per month. The number of words to translate in the programs we’re selecting, is between 2000 and 4000 words each. Surely this is easily done by a team of three or four friends in each language.
Even if the volunteers are unable to translate all the words in a program, they’ll be laying the ground work for other translators that join them later. In some projects we may even be able to help translators translate the more visible stuff first.
The stated requirements for software projects to participate in the Decathlon are:
Additionally, the Decathlon project will work best if:
Naturally we can only be of assistance to programs using localisation systems that work with our tools. This means Gettext PO, Java properties, INI/LNG-type key=value files, and the Mozilla and OpenOffice.org formats. Hopefully later this year we’ll be able to deal with QT/ts files as well.
Our parent organisation, Translate.org.za, has developed a suite of tools to make localisation easier and more effective for both software developers and volunteer translators. This suite is known as the Translate Toolkit. It runs in Python, and is based on Gettext PO.
Another tool to assist with the translation of software, is the web-based translation system, Pootle (dev page). Pootle allows translators to work together more easily on multiple translation projects. Pootle also makes use of the Translate Toolkit, to provide the level of quality checking required by software development systems. Pootle is web-based, but it permits more skilled translators to download and upload partially translated files. Pootle can also integrate with SVN or CVS to ensure that language files remain up to date.
Volunteer translators in the Decathlon project will translate in Pootle. Pootle is easy to use — you’ll love it.
Translators (both amateur and professional) don’t grown on trees, so a lot of our effort goes into finding more volunteer translators. We use the following avenues to find more translators:
Initially we had hoped that software developers would contact us in droves to participate in the Decathlon — we believe our project has great potential, after all. However, until such time, we contact the developers of individual projects on an ad hoc basis if we find that their localisation systems are compatible with our tools.
The Decathlon translation effort is a special project by Translate.org.za. The project leader is Samuel Murray, a professional translator with some technical expertise. He will be assisted in technical matters by Friedel Wolff, a full-time programmer for Translate.org.za.