All posts by Og Maciel

Improving the translations workflow with Transifex

Roughly about a month ago Martin Bagge mentioned that we were researching the possibility of using Transifex as a translation platform for all of the LXDE components. That is not to say that our Pootle server won’t be around, but we felt that our translators could benefit from a few handy features that Transifex has to offer.

So what exactly is Transifex you may ask? I guess the best way to describe it is as a bridge between source code that needs to be localized and people who know how to translate it. But that was a rather simple description of what this amazing tools does! I could go on and on about the cool features, but for this post I’ll try to keep it simple and go directly to the point.

For the administrators: Nothing needs to be done! That’s right, nothing! No more local user accounts, ssh keys and all of that nonsense! Put your feet up and relax!

For the translators: At first glance it may seem like there is yet another entry point for you to do your work, but bear with me for a bit. If you love how Pootle works and that does the trick for you, then nothing has changed. The same goes for those who like me have direct commit access and like to use the command line! Keep up the good work! However, if you crave for some some type of management and up to the second information about your translations, then you’re going to enjoy what Transifex has to offer!

As I mentioned before, Transifex acts like a bridge between your source code and translators. It doesn’t really matter what type of versioning control system is used to store the source code (by the way, we use subversion). All this tool needs to know is: where does the code live, who is entitled to work on translations, and if translations that are uploaded can be automatically committed upstream.

Transifex workflow
Transifex workflow

So your job as a translator will be:

  1. to create a (free) account in the Transifex server;
  2. associate yourself with the LXDE project and the specific language you want to work on;
  3. and use the web interface to reserve a file for translation. This file can then be downloaded and translated offline and then submitted back via the same interface. The translation is then validated and committed upstream into the official repository.

If you are responsible for managing one of the language teams or just want to make sure you know what is happening with the project as a whole, you can choose to be notified every time someone reserves a file for translation, writes down a comment, reviews someone’s work, or a commit takes place. Since people will have to reserve a file for translation, you can make sure that no two people work on the same file at the same time, in the end saving time, headaches and redundancy. Best of all, since your work can be committed automatically when you upload your translation, you can see in real time your progress and that of your teammates.

Reserving and submitting translations
Reserving and submitting translations

In the next few weeks we will have a LXDE project officially set up and hosted by our friends from the Transifex project and we will then make a call to arms so that those who want to use this new platform can get the proper permissions configured, but I kindly ask everyone to wait until we make another announcement here.

In the meantime, keep up the excelente work you’veĀ  been doing and let us know how we can make your lives easier! Comments, concerns and suggestions are more than welcome!