Tuesday, 5 February 2008

volunteer translation opportunity

We have just received the following call for volunteer translators from a South African organisation, which may be of interest to some graduates.

I'm the project leader for a localisation effort by Translate.org.za tohelp translate opensource programs into various languages of the world. I was hoping that you might tell your students and staff about our project, and invite them to contact me if they want to get involved in volunteer software translation. We hope to help volunteer translators translate ten computers programs in the year 2008, using our web-based translation tools. Because there are ten applications, we call this year's project "Decathlon". Our goal is to help translators organise themselves into language communities that translate a variety of programs into their language, thereby promoting more languages and empowering their speakers. Professional and non-professional volunteer translators are often overwhelmed by the technical aspects of software translations, and sadly many translators work in closed groups without sharing their newly learned expertise with other volunteers. The Decathlon hopes to solvesome of these problems. For that, we need translators to join our effort. There is no minimum commitment, and any native speaker with good spelling may join in. Weare hoping that volunteers will enjoy software translation so much that they continue to promote software in their languages long after theDecathlon project is complete.The Decathlon is not meant to replace any existing localisation efforts,and if people are already involved in volunteer software translation, we would love them to join our teams also.

A brief background

Translate.org.za has been involved with opensource software translation since 2001. Over the years we've developed translation tools to convert complex localisation formats into simpler formats that are easy to translate, such as Gettext PO and XLIFF. Our tools also help automate various quality control checks, thereby reducing the risk that volunteer translators “break” the software with their translations. It has always been our dream that volunteer translators should be able to translate without having to learn complicated tasks that programmers take for granted. That is why we developed a web-based translation system, called Pootle, which enables amateur translators to translate software in their web browsers, while giving professional translators and power users the ability to use specialised third-party tools if they prefer. Pootle is ideal for teams of volunteers, because several translators can translate a single file simultaneously.We have used our tools successfully to help translators translate OpenOffice.org, Firefox and Thunderbird into the ten official African languages of South Africa. With the Decathlon project, we'd like to help translators from all over the world translate other software as well. I look forward to your responses. You can read more about the Decathlonproject at http://translate.sourceforge.net/wiki/decathlon/mainpage.
Samuel Murray
Decathlon project leader

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