[rt-devel] Thoughts on L10n

Tobias Brox tobiasb at tobiasb.funcom.com
Fri Jun 9 04:53:07 EDT 2000

I wrote this in some email (not to rt-devel) at April the 3rd:

I helped out a bit doing the "internal design" of the data organization
for an international web site that is to be done in Zope.  I think
this is the major keypoints we got down to after the discussion, and I
think it might be relevant as you're in the thinking box at the moment:

- Web design and content should, as far as possible, be totally separated.
External translators should be able to translate something that is so
close to text/plain as possible, still the integration with the web design
should happen automaticly and real-time, meaning that a translator
immediately should be able to see if his/her translation fits into the
design or not.

- In some few cases it must be possible to do exceptions, and have
different design of the same web page in different languages.

- When updating the design of a multi-lingual page/component, the design
should automaticly apply to all translations.

- If a translation of a page/component is missing, that might mean one out
of three:

1) There is a default translation (usually English) that is to be used.
2) The page/component is not to be displayed in the selected language (no
links into the page from the reffering page)
3) The translation is stubbed (alarm bells should ring).

The web editor has to set up the default behaviour for each
document/document class/component/directory.

- The web editors should easily get overviews of what parts of the site
is translated into what languages.

- It's very short-sighted to assume that ISO-8859-1 is sufficient for all
languages (I should know this, my gf uses KOI-8 and my maid ISO-8859-4... 

- Adding and removing languages on the fly should be trivial

- It should be easy to redirect a user to the "right" translation, either
automaticly (dependent on the HTTP-negotiation or on what virtual host he
addresses) or semi-automaticly (by checking where in the world
REMOTE_ADDRESS can be, and have a link at the top of the page like "We
think you're located in Sahara.  Do you want to see this page in

- If the redirection is done through virtual domain or HTTP negotiations,
the URL at the top shouldn't be altered by the redirection.

I was quite amuzed, according to the Zope guy the very most of those
things might actually be achievable through Zope with just a bit of good
planning and a bit of work.  Zope seems very brilliant ... as long as it
works.  I'm a bit concerned that it might be too complex, too much
overhead, and too inflexible, well ... I will eventually learn if I'm
right or not .... :)

Tobias Brox (alias TobiX) - +4722925871 - _urgent_ emails to
sms at tobiasb.funcom.com.  Check our upcoming MMORPG at 
http://www.anarchy-online.com/ (Qt) and play multiplayer Spades, 
Backgammon, Poker etc for free at http://www.funcom.com/ (Java)


Comments as of now; Zope still seems somewhat brilliant, and so far we
have very good experiences with the L10n work with this site.  Translation
costs are slashed, as the translators only have to concentrate on pure
text, and as they continuarly can see that they won't fuck up the web

Zope is Python-driven, so it's not suitable for RT whatsoever - and I
guess we can expect higher technical skills from our translators anyway :)

"The trouble with the world is that the stupid are
 cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt."
- Bertrand Russell

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