The Freedesktop.org XLIFF tools project that I mentioned a while ago has just been announced! This is really fantastic news. I’ve been in touch with Asgeir over the last while, swapping xliff files – we’ve some work needed on our side to catch up (still using XLIFF 1.0 as opposed to the new 1.1 spec) but all in all, it’s looking good. For now, the focus on the xliff-tools project is mainly software message files, which is good – getting a UI translated I suppose is the first step in any translation project.

On the other hand, when developing our tools, we primarily focused on documentation, as that was the part that was most costly to translate, and it’s harder to reuse translations from previously translated documentation than it is to pull strings from previously translated software.

I’m quite embarassed about the amount of time it’s taking to get our code released, but I guess better late than never is a good way to look at it. Here’s hoping we’ll be able to contribute in some meaningful way to the translation communities out there real soon.

In other news (okay, I’m a bit behind), the W3C have announced some new
Internationalisation Activities which include a working group looking at an XML Internationalisation Tag Set which I believe will be extremely useful going forward. The generic XML filter we’ve written for our translation memory system uses a configuration file
that needs to be written by hand for each new XML format we encounter in order to determine which XML elements and attributes should be translated. With content authors being able to mark up these sections themselves, it
would allow for a much more efficient localisation workflow (no need for Tim to do a vgrep for translatable content !), so this gets the thumbs up from me under the “Automating myself out of a job” category !

Finally, the other open source work going on at Sun hasn’t gone unnoticed here : I’m very happy to see it starting to get more exposure. I wonder at what stage will we start to see translations of OpenSolaris ?

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