Billions of people speak thousands of languages, most websites only one or two. Why is that? My guess is, that most developers are bilingual, English and some other Native Language. But wait, shouldn’t developers be building websites and translators/writers deliver the content?
I am programming for about ten years now. Most of the time as a Java developer (server and desktop projects mostly), in 2008 I switched to Ruby/Rails (web projects only). During that time I worked on quite a few projects. Despite their differences, there was one thing they all had in common: doing and maintaining translations was always a dirty and chaotic matter. I am sure you experienced some of these situations:
- The translator edited the resource file in Word with all the fancy formatting.
- Resource files are exchanged via email. (How would it look to have to have a “pull” and “push” command?)
- The dialogue looks good in English, but in German it sucks – simply because the same text in German in 30% longer.
- Missing translations, unused translations.
- Spelling mistakes, weird texts like “Am I write?” in the application. Not everyone is an English Native (if you haven’t realized it yet, I am not an English native. So please don’t judge my posts by my writing style.), but many think their English rules.
- And a lot more.
Analyzing these problems, I came to the conclusion that two things have to change:
- Translation needs much more integration into the software process. So we can use Rake,Capistrano, CI, and so on to get the latest resource files, to push changes to translators, …
- I should never ever have to explain to a translator/writer what a .yaml file is. Translators should only see a fancy web interface where they can do their job.
So, I started to work on a project called “linguist”. The goal is to make linguist the “Github” for translations. I don’t want to give away too many details at this early stage, but I will try to publish updates on this blog regularly.
One more thing, I am looking for help/support. So if you are interested on working on the project, write me an email hjuskewycz (a t) hemju.com (paid or voluntary). Of course feedback, ideas, criticism are welcome, too.