Basics

O Goireasan Akerbeltz
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General stuff and basics

The path to Nirwana

There's a lot of projects out there and it's not always easy to choose where to begin, especially if you are interested in doing a language with a small speaker base. Now this is just based on my own experience with such a language but here's what I would focus on:

  1. Firefox (via the Locamotion project. It's both a well known product and we all use web browsers a lot. It's of a moderate size so it's a good one to start with, develop your terminology, build a team (if that's an option) and so on. You don't have to be at 100% to get a release.
  2. LibreOffice (the translation project being here). It will give you an office suite which covers 99% of what normal users would ever want to do in terms of office stuff. It's a fairly hefty project so I recommend you focus on Writer (the word processing tool) first, then Calc (the spreadsheet tool) and then whatever takes your fancy. Leave the database part till last. You don't have to be at 100% to get a release. Note: Ignoring the politics, LibreOffice is the new (and more active) OpenOffice. I would not recommend at this point that you join OpenOffice to translate for a number of reasons.
  3. At this point, you should consider doing a spellchecker, not only because you can integrate it with Firefox and LibreOffice but also because you can build other stuff on the back of it (see the next item). I warmly recommend you build it using a relational database. It's less geeky than it sounds and with a little help, not that hard to do but it will seriously futureproof your work, more so than a wordlist.
  4. Predictive texting. Of all the tools you can do, you will find this one has the fastest and biggest uptake, even in communities where acceptance of software in the locale language is slow to take off. Adaptxt is an open source project that welcomes any new language. The process is a bit fiddly, you probably want someone on the team who can do a bit of code.
  5. The VLC media player is probably next on the list. It's a huge file to translate but you only need to pass about 20% to get a release. Focus on the most visible strings, most of the video/sound editing features no-one ever sees.

Then what?

From here on, it broadens out and all depends on how much time and stamina you have. Good projects to consider are:

  • Ubuntu
  • the two WordPresses
  • Scrabble3D (there are other really nice Open Source games out there too, like Frogatto & Friends, Battle for Wesnoth, Freeciv and so on. As a rule of thumb with Open Source games, before you start, check out how active the community is, if it's very silent, the project might be near death.
  • Thunderbird (email) and Lightning (calender)
  • Drupal is one of the most powerful Content Management Systems and fairly easy to localize. Your localization can then be exported and, if not included in the official packages, made available elsewhere.
  • Dictionary for Mids is another project you might like. It is a dictionary application that can be used on PCs and mobile phones and gets its data from various projects, one among others:
  • OmegaWiki Which is a dictionary application, edited online, but lately it is also possible to get .csv export. There is now a project connection between Dictionary for Mids and Omegat. Besides that, added data there can also be used to build a first spell checker.

Proprietary projects

There are also proprietary projects you can translate. It depends on your philosophy I guess. Mine is that we will try to give to our community what the community uses/wants. We don't have the luxury of saying "use the xyz app on Ubuntu" if everyone is (sadly) on Windows.

  • SwiftKey is exceptionally open to adding smaller languages (we're talking languages like Rapa Nui, Manx and Samoan) to the app, which is great because not being able to type in your language is often the biggest hurdle on mobile devices.
  • GenoPro (a genealogy program)

Projects to avoid

  • Google - They have essentially axed their community languages project and are taking a general stance of "Fuck off" when it comes to small languages)
  • Joomla! - Unless you have a computing degree, this will drive you insane. WordPress is an equally powerful tool and involves less insanity in translation
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