[Openstack-i18n] [Openstack-docs] On translations and ITS

Tom Fifield tom at openstack.org
Fri Nov 1 22:39:25 UTC 2013

(CC OpenStack-i18n - consider joining!)

A very nice lead in discussion to our two sessions related to this at
the summit :)

Right now, we have some custom code for 1 that has been customised for
the OpenStack docs (for example, it excludes screen elements ;)), giving
some of the practical benefits of ITS. It's in tools/generatepot.

Looking forward to discussing more next week.



On 02/11/13 05:34, Shaun McCance wrote:
> I have some experience (read: bias) in translation tools, so I'm writing
> up a synopsis in the hopes in will be useful for the documentation
> translation session at the summit next week.
> Document translation generally follows a three-step process:
> 1) Segmentation: A program takes the XML files and breaks it up into
> chunks (often paragraphs) that can be individually translated and
> tracked. These are usually stored in either PO or XLIFF files, but in
> some systems they might be records in a database.
> 2) Translation: Translators translate those segments. They might edit
> the PO or XLIFF files directly. They might use a graphical front-end.
> They might do it through a web site that hides the files from them, but
> still presents the individual segments.
> 3) Merging: A program takes the translated segments, matches them up to
> the appropriate nodes in the source document, and writes a localized XML
> file.
> Online tools like Transifex, Zanata, and Pootle are really about step 2,
> but they often include code for steps 1 and 3 to give you an all-in-one
> package. Unfortunately, to my knowledge, none of them use the W3C
> Internationalization Tag Set (ITS) to accomplish those steps. Luckily,
> they let you provide POT files and can give you PO files, which means
> you can plug your own code in for steps 1 and 3.
> ITS is a W3C recommendation that provides a standard way to specify what
> parts of a document are translatable, what elements are inline, and
> various other things that are really critical for good segmentation. ITS
> 2.0 was released this week, and addresses a whole slew of other issues.
> http://www.w3.org/TR/its20/
> ITS lets you assert things about elements on a global level using XPath
> expression. For example, let's say we don't want any of our screen
> elements to be translated. We could use a rule like this:
> <its:translateRule translate="no" selector="//db:screen"/>
> Magically, hundreds of messages will disappear from translators' view,
> allowing them time to have dinner with their families instead. You can
> also mark things locally. So for example, if we don't want to exclude
> all screen elements from translation, then on the ones we do want to
> exclude, we'd write this:
> <screen its:translate="no">
> You can also specify which elements are within text (inline), which are
> space-preserving, where there are references to external resources like
> images that have to be localized, and lots more.
> Biased opinion: If you have an XML translation process that doesn't
> involve ITS, you're doing something wrong. (Disclosure: I was on the
> working group that created ITS 2.0, and I'm the developer of itstool.)
> There are a number of tools that support ITS. Many of them work with PO
> or XLIFF files, so you can plug them into most online translation tools.
> I happen to be fond of my program, itstool, which supports PO files and
> has a number of extensions that have been useful for other open source
> projects like GNOME. 
> http://itstool.org/
> If you want a workflow that uses XLIFF files, you should look into
> Okapi, a fantastic open source framework that supports ITS.
> http://okapi.sourceforge.net/
> I do have a dog in this race, so I'm trying not to be too pushy. But
> there are a lot of smart people who spent a lot of time figuring this
> stuff out. If you have non-ITS segmentation and merging code, you'll
> just end up chasing problems that have already been solved.
> If it's not obvious, I love talking about this stuff. So feel free to
> ask me questions.
> Thanks,
> Shaun
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