Collaborative Translation

Hi everyone,

     Has Elgg ever considered installing a collaborative translation tool (e.g., pootle or JasperBabylon) on  The reason I'm asking is because many people find it difficult to help with translations when each language file is a PHP script that needs to be edited inside of each plug-in's folder.  The problem with that approach is that without a centralized repository, it is difficult for two or more people to translate and review translations of the same language.  It is also frustrating to translate files for a plug-in jus to find the author making a new version available the next day with a changed language file.

     Having a centralaized and open repository for translation files would encourage plug-in developers to upload their language files anytime, while allowing volunteers translate them right away.  Moreover, existing translations could be reviewed by many translators to ensure their accuracy.  When the automagic_translation plug-in was gaining momentum, the community started to point out and express concern on the accuracy of individual language packs.  Therefore, making it easy for users to review and revise translations is very important, and would be easy to do with a collaborative translation tool.  As an added benefit, a centralized repository would mean that plug-in developers would be able to find and re-use standard strings (e.g., option:no and option:yes) instead of creating a whole new one with the exact same text.  Yet, the greatest benefit would be for the end user community, since the newest translation files could be downloaded at any time, instead of having to wait for an individual language pack.

     With that in mind, I was thinking of starting an Elgg translation community with a server-based, collaborative translation memory tool.  However, I do not want create any duplicate efforts nor lure users away from the Elgg Community.  Would you be interested in setting up such a platform on

     What are your thoughs?



Gabriel Monge-Franco


  • Hi Gabriel,

    I'm new to Elgg, and is considering using it for a site in Danish.

    ...and was thinking like you - why is there no central place for this?

    Like you said it is hard to keep consistancy of the translation if more than one person translates it all.

    I would really like to contribute using a collaborative translation tool.


    Best regards,


  • Gabriel, jacob - here is just my dirty thinking

    1. Can't see any problem with editing separate files (but it can be my problem)... Where you'll see headache in this process? It's real question, not a joke
    2. JasperBabylon, AFAIS, isn't trabslation tool, it's common collaborative workplace, as SF, GCode, Savannah etc...
    3. POOTLE is Python (it's bad in common) and, even more sadly, it's targeted for translating gettext'ed apps only. But Elgg 1 have own translation engine on flat-files, which can't be handled any existing online tools. I said, that replacement of gettext is very bad idea, but this message was not heard and understood. At least we in Elgg RE will have gettext as second translation engine or, maybe, will use it as single base
    4. Even non-programmers in Elgg Russia will not have big problems (I can guarantee and ensure this) with collaborative translation of existing even now text lang-files using Subversion (for now) repository
    5. TranslationBrowser (from plugin's area here) with good settings (not defined by me yet) and access-rights, which allow translation of mods and core  not only to admin can be some type of solution of translation task, tooo


  • jededitor, OK, but - will it be usable and manageable solution?

  • Lets put it this way Alex -  do you want to spend your time installing each individual language pack and then hunting down the language pack for each mod you have installed or do you want to install it all in one quick installation? Particularly if you want to run a multi-language site?

  • I think about ways to maintain this collection. Republishing changed full package here after changing even one string isn't isn't "The Right Way" (tm)

  • Jed to the rescue again ;-)

    I agree with his approach so far ater he picked up on a my comment / challenge some days back -- He puts up the consolidated language pack. So far that would be the easiest style of making available language pack installs. Collaborating on the actual translation work as Gabriel has pointed out.. is another part of the task.

  • The pack makes it easier to do a translation becuase it also includes the english language file. Rather than working on the one on your site just unpack the file to somewhere on your computer and do the actual translation there. Also it makes other language translations from a language other than english possible now because the files are all in one spot (even for plugins you do not use).

    As regards co-ordinating all this I have no objections to anyone doing a file and sending it to me and I'll include it in the files.

    MIssing language files for certain parts of the elgg are nothing unusual if you look through the pack.

    The main thing is keeping track of the file version - many people do not bother but if some sort of clue was put in the commented out section of the file it would help tremendously.

         * Elgg painting english langauge plugin
         * This plugin allows Dhrup to paint the town red
         * @package townpainter
         * @license GNU Public License version 2
         * @author George Washington
         * @copyright (c) USA 2008
         * @published 01 April 2007

    Something along those lines.


  • Sorry JEd, I did not point out because we've got two threads.. this and Gabriels AutoMagic. The collaboratioon I referred to is what Gabe said there re: By the way, Dave Tosh pointed me to the old translation project: "

    I've not had a chance to look that over more thoroughly. Aslo the work of doing actual translation packs and "collaborating" I suppose means more than ome person actually working on a particular language pack - an area where I believe people who can actually translate to another language should come here to offer their thougths and time and help.

    What you're doing is great is great in absence of any other formal process for coordinating and I hope that all language pack writers take notice and touch base with you and this group topic, rather than everyone going off  to each their own" and we sometimes end up with several lang packs for tha same language. Guess this should make you the "Keeper of Language Packs". Just wish Elgg.Org would take a little more notice of these things we try. Same as for the PlugIns, Themes where we kinda need a "Keeper of PlugIns".

    Were this so - some of the issues such as keeping track the file version would not happen because the "Keeper" of the Lang Packs would ensure that files are properly numbered, dates, etc before public release.

    ( You might remember a similar the discussion on PlugIn version numbering some time ago.. ;-)



  • Good idea D

    Maybe we should have a 'Keeper of Groups' as well then maybe there would not be so much duplication of effort as there is at the moment. I was wandering through the site looking for stuff to help newbies and there are quite a lot of groups devoted to newbies - most of which have very few subscribers.

    I remember the plugin numbering system discussion and I thought it had a very valid point about adopting a common numbering system as it would help a lot with deciding if that plugin is suitable for your version. Certainly I am all in favour of this for the language pack!