Sunday, March 13, 2011

Give us proper translation tools at #Wikimedia Meta

While #MediaWiki is excellent for writing encyclopaedic articles; it is not the right tool for all text jobs. We are asked to translate the Editor survey. It consists of a long list of short sentences, often repetitive. When translating these sentences, it would be useful to see the original text and existing translations to other languages. Add to this comments that make the context clear and the process of translation becomes easy and efficient.

The Translate extension developed for translating and localising at translatewiki.net provides all of these things in one convenient screen. Plain MediaWiki doesn't provide any of this and the translator has to laboriously move between screens.

Reviewing translated messages is a breeze with Translate. MediaWiki has this long list of translated questions which is very distracting. The Translate extension by comparison has a review mode that shows the translations juxtaposed with the original strings.

The Translate extension automatically offers translation for repeated sentences from its Translation Memory and automatic translations are suggested from Google and Microsoft. This is very efficient, but sadly MediaWiki doesn't have this either.

Modern browsers provide spell-checking functionality, which is very helpful for getting the translated text right. Mixing several languages in one editing box confuses the spell-checker and having a very long text in an editing box makes the spellchecker slow. With the Translate extension this is not a problem.

The Translate extension applies proper directionality to each language: Left-to-Right for English, Russian and Hindi; Right-to-Left for Hebrew, Arabic and Urdu. Translating using plain MediaWiki puts the original language - usually English - and the target language in one editing box and mixes up the directionality.

Amir Elisha Aharoni · אָמִיר אֱלִישָׁע אַהֲרוֹנִי
http://aharoni.wordpress.com
"We're living in pieces,
 I want to live in peace." - T. Moore
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