Our first shot at translation

For translation of Allacrost game text, dialogue, story, documentation, etc.

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Our first shot at translation

Postby Roots » Fri Jan 29, 2010 10:11 pm

So rujasu said in another thread that he wants our first internal release of demo 1.0 to be translatable. Obviously this is a new challenge for us and there's going to be some bumps as we figure out how to do translations well. Before we start though, I think we need to figure out what do we tell our translators. For example, lets say I just discovered Hero of Allacrost and want to help out by translating the game into Russian.

  • Where do I start?
  • What do I have to do to make my translations?
  • What tools do I have to have?
  • What files do I have to create or edit?
  • Do I need to look at any code files to do my translations?
  • Will my translation work only if I've translated every single string?
  • If the original (English) text is updated, is there any way for me to find out so I can update my own translations?

These are the sorts of questions I think we're going to get from our first translators and we should have answers for them before they are even asked. To be clear, I'm speaking strictly about what will our translators need to know. I'm not talking about what we programmers need to know to make translations work in the game. The best solution is to put this information on our wiki and probably have a step-by-step guide for new translators to follow. Battle for Wesnoth, which uses the GNU GetText localization library that we use, has something like this on their wiki right here. So we can look to their wiki pages on translation and mimic it to help us create our own.

Does anyone want to step up and create such a page (or pages) on the wiki?

----------

On another note, I have some questions of my own. Obviously the fewer times we update the original text strings, the better. We don't want to cause our translators to re-do their text multiple times. So will we as a team have any sort of process where we declare certain parts of the text "final" and ready for translation? If we have to make changes or updates to existing strings, will we try to do these text updates in batches rather than intermittently?

This is pretty exciting because from the very beginning of this project we've wanted to make it multi-lingual and we're finally ready to make that happen. I have to confess though I'm feeling very anxious about it. Its something very new to this team and I don't think any of our active members have experience with it. I want to make sure that the new translators that join the team are not frustrated or annoyed with this work.
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Re: Our first shot at translation

Postby gorzuate » Sat Jan 30, 2010 12:49 am

Roots wrote:Does anyone want to step up and create such a page (or pages) on the wiki?


I'll do it.
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Re: Our first shot at translation

Postby gorzuate » Mon Feb 01, 2010 9:01 am

Roots wrote:So rujasu said in another thread that he wants our first internal release of demo 1.0 to be translatable. Obviously this is a new challenge for us and there's going to be some bumps as we figure out how to do translations well. Before we start though, I think we need to figure out what do we tell our translators. For example, lets say I just discovered Hero of Allacrost and want to help out by translating the game into Russian.

  • Where do I start?

By reading the Translator section on this wiki page (which will of course be updated for the translators in the next couple of days :) ).

Roots wrote:
  • What do I have to do to make my translations?
  • What tools do I have to have?
  • What files do I have to create or edit?
  • Do I need to look at any code files to do my translations?
  • Will my translation work only if I've translated every single string?
  • If the original (English) text is updated, is there any way for me to find out so I can update my own translations?


  • The answers to all of these questions will be on the wiki page, but I'll answer them here for your sake as well:
    1. You have to edit a file and then send it to a developer for them to commit it.
    2. You need a text editor. Or, if you want to get fancy, there are PO-editing tools out there (you will be editing a .po file). PoEdit is an example of such a tool.
    3. You have to create your language's .po file and then edit it. You create it from the allacrost.pot file. Every English string listed in your .po file will have and need a corresponding string in your language.
    4. You do not need to look at any code.
    5. You do not need to translate every string for your translation to work. Any untranslated string will be displayed in English.
    6. Uhm, right now I don't know, short of blasting out an email to all translators notifying them of an update. The file they will need to work off of containing the updates is in the SVN repository, so...

    Wesnoth's pages were... disappointing to say the least.

    Roots wrote:On another note, I have some questions of my own. Obviously the fewer times we update the original text strings, the better. We don't want to cause our translators to re-do their text multiple times. So will we as a team have any sort of process where we declare certain parts of the text "final" and ready for translation? If we have to make changes or updates to existing strings, will we try to do these text updates in batches rather than intermittently?


    Yes, I would recommend doing them in batches. I think these batches should only be made when we're making a release. I would also recommend "freezing" the text several weeks prior to the release to give the translators a chance to get some languages supported for the release before it's actually released. Hmm, maybe that's not necessary. We would have one batch per release. If a new translator comes along and wants to translate to a new language while we're working on the next release, they should be able to use the current batch for the last release, edit the Lua language file that Boot mode reads, and then their language would be supported by the last release. So basically every time a new language is added, we can release it for the latest release game as a new "language pack".
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    Re: Our first shot at translation

    Postby Roots » Mon Feb 01, 2010 3:48 pm

    gorzuate wrote:
    Roots wrote:[*]If the original (English) text is updated, is there any way for me to find out so I can update my own translations?[/list]


    6. Uhm, right now I don't know, short of blasting out an email to all translators notifying them of an update. The file they will need to work off of containing the updates is in the SVN repository, so...

    Wesnoth's pages were... disappointing to say the least.


    Wow really? I thought that they had some system where strings that were outdated were automatically marked as 'dirty' or something. There's nothing in gettext or PoEdit that can detect when the original source for a string has changed and mark such strings as in need of review/revision?
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    Re: Our first shot at translation

    Postby gorzuate » Mon Feb 01, 2010 5:24 pm

    Roots wrote:Wow really? I thought that they had some system where strings that were outdated were automatically marked as 'dirty' or something. There's nothing in gettext or PoEdit that can detect when the original source for a string has changed and mark such strings as in need of review/revision?


    They're called "fuzzy". Yes, there is a way, but it's based off of the updated allacrost.pot file generated by the "make allacrost.update-pot" command.

    We could actually push the updates to the translators by running a different make command, but I thought it's better for the translators to pull the updates when they're ready for them (which means they need to be somehow notified when allacrost.pot is updated) :shrug:
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    Re: Our first shot at translation

    Postby gorzuate » Wed Feb 03, 2010 8:01 am

    gorzuate wrote:
    Roots wrote:Wow really? I thought that they had some system where strings that were outdated were automatically marked as 'dirty' or something. There's nothing in gettext or PoEdit that can detect when the original source for a string has changed and mark such strings as in need of review/revision?


    They're called "fuzzy". Yes, there is a way, but it's based off of the updated allacrost.pot file generated by the "make allacrost.update-pot" command.

    We could actually push the updates to the translators by running a different make command, but I thought it's better for the translators to pull the updates when they're ready for them (which means they need to be somehow notified when allacrost.pot is updated) :shrug:


    I've been thinking some more about this, and maybe it's not so bad to push the changes to the translators. It would be easier for us devs, and what's more, any changes that we push to them will still be in Subversion, so the translators would have to do an update, pulling the changes to them when they're ready. Yeah, that's probably the way to go. I'll post the necessary changes to the wiki page and make a post when I do.
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    Re: Our first shot at translation

    Postby Roots » Tue Feb 16, 2010 7:11 am

    BTW, marcavis mentioned tonight on IRC that he's ready and willing to work on the Brazilian Portuguese translation after noticing the French translation there. I told him about the upcoming unstable release and said he could either wait till then or if he thinks he can do it all by this weekend we could probably squeeze in his translation into the unstable release. I pointed him to the wiki page...

    http://allacrost.sourceforge.net/wiki/i ... anslations

    But the Translators section is still empty! Oh noes! :ohnoes: Any plans on getting this up and running soon gorz?
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    Re: Our first shot at translation

    Postby gorzuate » Tue Feb 16, 2010 7:09 pm

    Yeah, before the unstable release is released :cool:
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    Re: Our first shot at translation

    Postby Roots » Wed Feb 17, 2010 1:40 am

    gorzuate wrote:Yeah, before the unstable release is released :cool:


    That's supposed to happen this weekend ya know. :hack: I also noticed that the French translation is only partially translated. Do you plan to leave it in this state or finish it before the unstable release? It doesn't have to be fully translated, but it would be nice.
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    Re: Our first shot at translation

    Postby gorzuate » Wed Feb 17, 2010 5:42 am

    Roots wrote:
    gorzuate wrote:Yeah, before the unstable release is released :cool:


    That's supposed to happen this weekend ya know. :hack: I also noticed that the French translation is only partially translated. Do you plan to leave it in this state or finish it before the unstable release? It doesn't have to be fully translated, but it would be nice.


    I was not planning on finishing it.
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    Re: Our first shot at translation

    Postby gorzuate » Sat Mar 06, 2010 9:15 pm

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