Tuesday, October 20, 2009

When the only tool you have is a hammer ...

Some time ago, I presented my answers to the question "What benefit of translatewiki.net as a WMF project". Today I found another fine reason why the Wikimedia Foundation would benefit from an infusion of some translatewiki.net usability.

As it is that time of year again, it is time to prepare for our fundraiser and as usual, in order to get the message out, the faithful are asked to translate texts into their language.

The screenshot of the Macedonian texts clearly shows that it is one page where all the texts are to be translated. A template has to indicate the status of the translation.

There are several reasons why this situation needs a review:
  • As it is one blob, it is not easy to tune the text and communicate the difference
  • Progress is to be indicated by changing a template
  • There is no percentage indicating the work that is left to be done
  • The translator effort is split between meta and translatewiki.net
  • The software developed at translatewiki is "not invented here"
When the Meta translations have to be translated at Meta, there is nothing stopping the powers that be to use the Translate extension. MediaWiki is a tool, the Translate extension builds upon it, there is nothing preventing the WMF to use the best of breed solution for its translations. If anything, the translatewiki.net crowd would be happy to help with its implementation.

1 comment:

Purodha Blissenbach said...

There is a series of flaws and drawbacks of the current meta translation process: • When transferring translations from meta pages to their final destinations, languages are accidentially mixed, or exchanged, messages are lost, and similar. • There is no supportive documentation, like the Translate Extension permits, so the likelyhood of misunderstood original words and mistranslatios is pretty high, unnecessarily. • Once again, I read accidentally elsewhere (here) that a set of translations is required. I am the only registered translator for my language at meta, Since about three years, two or three times a year, I read that translators were actively approached, each time I complain that I have not been notified, each time someone promises: "next time…" • The texts suggested for translation are often badly prepared; having technical flaws, and cultural drawbacks. For instance, the language used in the current campaign may work in US-American fundraising parties. For us, it would be counterproductive. You cannot translate it, you have to design an own indenpendent campaingn, which is beyound an average translators scope.