How to bring community L10n to the maemo platform

22Oct07

In line to climb. She's 6 years old! by Nancy Leon Photo

Jordi Mas and Guillem Jover have been writing recently in the maemo-developers list about the limitations for localization (L10n) in the maemo platform. They are two of my preferred local heroes and they know well what is to be a user of an unsupported language. Being also a Catalan speaker myself, I don’t need to express my opinions about the current obstacles for community L10n in maemo. ๐Ÿ˜‰

The current system based on logical strings and not on standard open source practices is open for change though, or at least not-closed to changes. In fact I’m willing to push this feature to the maemo roadmap. A problem here are the implications any change has on code, processes, licensing and such. Nothing that couldn’t be done but since the basic L10n is covered, other features tend to get higher priority and attention.

Like in other major features, showing interest, lobbying and providing winning arguments help the internal advocates increasing their priority and relevance in our planning work.

Two questions that float around are:

a) What is the real interest for L10n in the maemo community? What unsupported languages (could) have translators putting pressure, what apps (could) be pushing already L10n forward, what projects like the CJK support (could) be expanding already L10n beyond Nokia’s list of supported languages? (see below)

b) Since the feature is about community translation, should it be complemented by any kind of community tools for translation? How to reuse what is already translated and how to orchestrate the rest. Different open source projects have different ways of organizing translations (see for instance GNOME or Ubuntu). We should find the way suiting our needs best.

So what do you want? What do you need? Getting into details is appreciated. All the better if it’s in a wiki page several people can edit, and that is linked from maemo’s roadmap wishlist.

FYI the OS2008 supports Brazilian Portuguese, Danish, Dutch, English American, English British, Finnish, French, French Canadian, German, Italian, Norwegian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Latin American Spanish and Swedish. The Nokia N810 hardware keyboard has the following variants: English, German, French, Italian, Russian, Spanish-Portuguese and Scandinavian.



11 Responses to “How to bring community L10n to the maemo platform”

  1. Everybody hates the logical IDs. Killing that would be wonderful.

    Maemo applications also currently don’t use stock items (such as edit, quit, close, etc), so each Maemo applications has its own unnecessary translation for many strings. Stock items should be used instead where possible.

    Of course this should not be an excuse to add even more stupid non-explicit Yes/No and OK/Cancel dialogs (which can even lead to pressing cancel to stop cancelling).

  2. FWIW in Chinook the gtk stock items should be usable, including translations (though only for the official languages.) Though as you say, they’re not used by our applications so they’re not actually that well tested.

  3. Wow! I was here, with the red team (Castellers de Barcelona).
    Mercรจ 2007. Barcelona.

  4. I already tried to localize my N770 to Serbian, building locale files in scratchbox and uploading it to N770, translating some local IDs I could find and adding some gconf strings to be able to use english on-screen keyboard with Serbian selected as a locale.

    I would like to support something l10n initiative in Maemo as having policy for deploying lang-packages to users (locale, keyboard layouts, UI and doc translations), documentation on creating those lang-packages and coordinators for specific languages would be great.

    I hope to see some more activity on this soon. Keep a good work.

  5. 5 ColdFusion

    Please, please, pleeeaase add Bulgarian keyboard layout for the virtual keyboard!
    ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. 6 Kemal Hadimli

    Quim’s images are getting weirder and weirder.

  7. Lithuanian has about 4 million speakers worldwide, so I don’t expect Nokia to release an official translation any time soon. The latest stable GNOME release has a 99% complete Lithuanian translation, and I suspect IT OS has fewer translatable strings than the full GNOME desktop.

    On the other hand GNOME has quite a lot of users here, but there are probably fewer than 10 internet tablets in Lithuania. The fact that Nokia doesn’t sell and apparently doesn’t ever plan to sell internet tablets locally doesn’t help.

  8. Murray, killing logical IDs would be already a success in this mission. Forgive me if I leave the stock GTK+ thing to someone else. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Goran, feel free starting any community L10n effort. There is many people around interested. If the community act as persistent lobby and points out the things that need to be fixed first, then it’s much easier for me/us to dig and bug.

    ColdFusion, hardware keyboards have very little to do with community L10n since they go together (more or less) with the countries Nokia selects for distribution and sales.

    Marius, by default Nokia plans to sell any product in any corner of Planet Earth. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Official supported languages almost pair hardware keyboards: their are closely tight to distribution. But you are right noting that community L10n also has to do with distribution.

    This is why I want to push this topic and see what are real needs today. Besides, the current logical IDs are an obstacle for pure development since any developer looking at the code gets initially quizzed by this Nokia-only ‘feature’.

    I also wonder the impact in this topic of Ubuntu Mobile, Moblin, Intel’s MIDs and other neighbor devices/platforms.

  9. 9 ColdFusion

    I ment the virtual keyboard, not the hardware keyboard๐Ÿ˜‰ Only the touch on-screen keyboard to have bulgarian layout would be enough!

  10. Alright, but then it’s a community i18n issue. Now the Hildon input method is opensourced, so I guess the communty could come up with a Bulgarian keyboard. How to integrate it and fofer full Bulgarian locales… this is the topic I’m talking about. ๐Ÿ™‚


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