For more than an year now, the Brazilian GNOME translation team has been using translate-toolkit, specially its pofilter tool, to check translations before committing them. Since the last versions, pofilter’s behavior can be tailored to the target languages (e.g., pt_BR), but currently only 15 languages are benefited. In Brazil we are preparing a list of useful and useless tests, and I thought other translations teams should do the same. This lists can be then attached to bug reports, together with language-specific information (like the quotation style).
translate-tookit is very useful. It is employed in Pootle, a translation webapp; Open-Tran.eu, a descriptive translation terminology database; and Wordforge (ex-Pootling), a PO- and XLIFF-based translation application. Whether if you translate free software, or develop localization tools, check these projects!
pofilter is able to check tenths of error types. For the sake of usability, there is a standard set of tests for each of these projects: Openoffice.org, Mozilla, GNOME, KDE and wxWidgets. Many tests can detect common errors which gettext doesn’t look for. My favorite tests are: doublewords, endpunc, endwhitespace, startspace and xmltags. On the other hand, pofilter often gives us “false positives”, i. e., it sees errors where there are none. As a workaround, the user can arbitrarily exclude some tests from the verification, using a specific command line argument. Providing language-specific information might helps lowering the “false-positives” number, too.
The Portuguese version of this article listed the tests I skip in my current translation routine. For other locales, I guess the most relevant exclusion suggestions are:
- doublespacing: because there is an English convention of two spaces after an dot;
- isfuzzy, untranslated: if like me you check for them before using pofilter;
- untranslated, acronyms: if your translators are skilled and dedicated, I guess you’ll find only “false positives” with these tests.
Does any other GNOME translation team regularly use pofilter or another tool from translate-toolkit? If by any chances you translate another free software project I’ll interested, too. How do you use translate-toolkit, specially pofilter?