[gnome-cy] Kartouche (a possible translation aid) - request for feedback

For a few months we have been trying to carry on the good work started by 
Elfed Lewis in translating KDE into Welsh.  While working on this, we began 
to think that it would be nice if we could use the Web to give other people 
an easy way to provide input into the process.  There are many advantages to 
this, and after some work we have put together an application (Kartouche) 
that seems to meet most of the initial requirements.  The purpose of this 
posting is to ask for feedback on the idea and the implementation, in the 
hope that Kartouche might prove useful for Gnome and other other 
free/open-source apps (eg OpenOffice.org, various PHP apps, etc).  I am 
emboldened to post a K app on the Gnome list by the fact that Kartouche has 
imported without complaint the cy.po file that was posted here earlier, 
whereas KBabel (the current standard translation tool for KDE) refused it :-)

Kartouche uses PHP to load the pot files into a MySQL database (one file to a 
table), and then provides a front-end for people to add suggested 
translations, and a back-end for the translation co-ordinator to accept or 
reject those suggestions.  More information is at:

The Kyfieithu site has been set up as a clearing house for the KDE translation 
project, and uses a lightwight bilingual portal of our own devising (which, 
like Kartouche, will be available for download shortly).  It is not really 
"live" yet, but (if all goes well!) will be so on 1 March, because on that 
date, as you can see, we are planning a "translation campaign" - Kyfieithu 
mewn Kant, or K/100 - which will not only expand the number of translators 
(we hope!), but will also raise awareness of GNU/Linux and KDE in Wales.  If 
you have any comments or suggestions about this, I would also be glad to 
receive them - also any contact addresses.  My wife (who is a first-language 
Welsh-speaker) thinks the response will be minuscule, but I (as an Irishman) 
live in hope ...

The Kartouche user interface is at 
http://www.kyfieithu.co.uk/kartouche/index.php.  Suggested translations can 
be offered by using the "Start translating" link.  The files (tables) 
available for translation are the ones suggested as essential for 
a Welsh KDE version - the planned translation campaign would start with those 
(around 4,200 strings out of the total of about 57,800), and as those get 
finished, then add the others progressively. 

The admin interface is at 
http://www.kyfieithu.co.uk/kartouche/gwein/index.php, and is currently not 
protected in any way (although it will be!).  Suggested translations can be 
moved over to become final translations by using the "Accept suggestions" 
link.  Please note that the Export and Import links do not work on the Web as 
yet - they are intended to be used on the co-ordinator's local copy of 

With both user and admin interfaces, feel free to enter suggestions (no 
profanities please!) and commit them, since the site is currently under test.

The key issue, of course, is whether our import/export mechanisms will give 
acceptable po files.  We have done a lot of work on this, comparing the 
originals and the Kartouche exports, and we believe that the answer is yes 
(only one of the 550-odd files refused to import correctly, and that was 
because it was the only one without comment lines).  Clearly more testing 
would need to be done to ensure that the import/export filters are effective, 
but using this approach opens the possibility of preparing filters for other 
free/open-source apps, and leveraging existing translations/translators into 
those - this might be especially important in the struggle to keep 
translations in sync with new versions of the software.

Some figures:
- the 550 non-docs pot files get imported into the db in about 1min 40 secs;
- kdelibs gets imported in around 10 secs.

We are referring to the current version of Kartouche as 0.0.1alpha, which 
means that although it is stable and seems to work OK, it could do with some 
code-cleanup, a review of security, etc.  However, its use on 
Kyfieithu will produce real-world information on its robustness - performance 
there will be useful in determining how Kartouche needs to be improved, and 
even if we end up copying everything by hand into KBabel, Kyfieithu/Kartouche 
will have served its purpose in raising awareness of open-source in Wales.  
We are working to get the files and installation notes packaged as a 
downloadable, and this should be ready by the weekend.  Once that is 
available, it should be possible for more people to test it in the comfort of 
their own PCs.

Best wishes

Kevin Donnelly

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gnome-cy pengwyn linux org uk

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