So. It had been a while before I had proper time to look into the Dutch translation efforts again.


Due to various reasons not discussed here, I was not able to see to a proper translation. Rene did a lot of work (thank you for that Rene!).

The PO system

First of all, i am going to discuss a bit about the PO system, which is a gettext way of doing translations. It chops texts into msgstr’s (message strings) and then translates those strings using msgid’s. Same lines are translated the same, this might be a good option, unless the context changed between the lines and then you might get ‘google translate’ kind of ways.

Back to the story…

After getting time again to see this through I noticed that we started using the “PO” system, using gettext. Our handbook (for example) is now translated into one huge book.xml file which is then cut into msgstr’s that can be translated to msgid’s. For this I use the poedit application (the PRO version) so that I have counters and translation suggestions from the online Translation Memory(TM) that we all develop. I also contribute the FreeBSD translations back to the TM so that everyone can profit from it.

I am now first synchronising the Glossary because that didn’t change much with the current online translation and working my way back to what had been translated already and translating the missing bits and pieces in between. Mike (co worker at Snow) also did a tremendous job in getting this into better shape the last year which had not yet been merged back to the online variants because it was not yet complete. I can use that information though to generate a manual handbook variant of that version and use that to even further use the current translation effort into the gettext/po system.

Biting the bullet

As one of the first translation teams to use this, I expect to hit some rocks on the road. For example, there are lines that do not need translation, mailing list names are the same in every language, perhaps the description changes but not the ‘realnames’. Same goes for my entity (&a.remko) which does not change, nor my PGPkey. And if those things change, they require changing over all translation efforts as well as the original english version. We are looking into a way to ‘ignore’ them for the po system but include them when building. So that pgpkeys and such are always up to date.

I also had been discussing this with Vaclav the developer of poedit, and he mentioned that it does not matter much, because when a line changes and you update the po, those lines will be invalidated and need ‘retranslation’ for the entire string. So that all gets us in interesting situations that we did not encounter before. I am biting the bullet myself after we have discussed this a few years ago and I hope that the entire project can benefit from that.

Alternative options, pre-translate, merge current translations automatically?

And yes, a valid question would be, cannot you merge the current translated information into the po system automatically. If every word was on the exact same spot and line, yes this might be an option. Sadly because of grammer and different wording (longer/shorter) this changes rapidly from line 1 already and is thus not easily done. If you have suggestions however, we are always willing to listen. Please join us on ‘’ so that we can discuss those things better :-).