Friday, December 21, 2007

BetaWiki exports .po files

BetaWiki has given us a splendid Christmas gift. Nikerabbit, Hashar and Siebrand have developed an export tool for the MediaWiki system messages into the .po format. This format is the standard used for many open source applications.

The most important thing about this format is that there are many tools that support it for off line translation. Many translators will not work on-line. For many languages we do not need to accommodate off line translation when there are sufficient people willing to maintain the localisation. However, when you look at the statistics, you will find that there are many languages not supported or poorly supported in MediaWiki. Hindi is a good example. The Wikipedia is well localised but for Hindi only 3.99% of the system messages is translated. Hindi is spoken by 180.000.000 people...

For Hindi .po files will not be the solution. Collaboration between Indian Wikimedians and the BetaWiki administrators will be a better solution. There are also languages like Neapolitan where it helps to localise and then have the localisation proof read. When the number of collaborators for a language is small, it is typically easy and safe to work off line. You do not have to wait for loading and saving, you can combine it with a translation memory and make it efficient.

Nikerabbit has now created a .po importer. What he is looking for are translations to test this new functionality...

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