Just back in the office today having spent an excellent few days at the OpenOffice conference. I met lots of really cool people, their enthuiasm and dedication to the cause of translation and making computers accesible to people who otherwise may not use computers at all was admirable. Along with the formal conference sessions themselves, there was lots of opportunity to chat to people over beer and food, and a good time was had by all I think.

A special mention here to the folks at translate.org.za – these guys are helping to coordinate traslation of software including, but not limited to, OpenOffice into 11 South African languages. To them, “The Language is the Project” – they’re not just interested in their favourite desktop or web-browser being translated into their native languages, instead, they’re trying to have all free software translated, particularly applications where content is being produced. Interestingly, while they do have Mozilla translated, it turns out to be a “localised window to an English world”, to quote Dwayne Bailey : for them OpenOffice.org was a much more attractive application for translation.

Also did a demo of our tools to the Japanese native language team, who are a great bunch of people – they “OOohd” and “Aaahd” at our translation editor, and seem to really get the idea behind the XLIFF and TMX standards, so that’s good.

So in general, there seemed to be a reasonable amount of interest in our translation tools. So, we really need to get the finger out, and make them available to these people ! There’s definitely an audience out there that wants these things.

Final Note :
During the conference, we found a few glitches that make it a little harder for our tools to work well for StarOffice/OpenOffice.org translation, but they’re minor issues I think (we’re dropping some context information when strings are being exported to XLIFF and also not getting proper format-wrapping done at that stage, so our editor isn’t able to highlight/protect those formatting tags – I think we should be able to sort these problems out)