Except the general topic of Loving the Web, there was another important topic present in almost every time slot of MozCamp Berlin 2011, a topic that interest me more than anything else in software: localization. I attended most of the localization talks and gave one myself.
- Vito Smolej from Slovenia gave two important talks about Translation Memory, especially in OmegaT. Translation Memory is barely used in Mozilla localization projects, even though it could make things much more efficient and Vito showed some ways in which it could be employed.
- Jean-Bernard Marcon from France talked about the state of the BabelZilla site, which is used to translate Mozilla add-ons. Gladly, i didn’t have to tell him that despite the impressive amount of localizations that are done at that site, it is very problematic because of numerous technical issues – he said himself that he’s well aware of them and is going to replace the software completely Real Soon Now. I found it a little strange, however, that Jean-Bernard is happy about using the site for translating only Mozilla add-ons and doesn’t want to extend it to any other projects – say, Firefox itself. Oh well, as long as he maintains the add-ons site well, i’m happy.
- Chris Hofmann and Jeff Beatty gave a great presentation about the present and the future of organizing localization groups and communicating about it. Frankly, it’s not all that i hoped to hear, but i’m really happy just to know that Mozilla, like Wikimedia, now has a guy whose job is to communicate about localization.
And i gave a talk that compares the localization of Mozilla and MediaWiki, the software behind Wikipedia. The slides are here. Many people who attended it said that it was bold of me to say these rather negative things about Mozilla. It is somewhat true – it is quite bold of me to use the first major Mozilla event i attend as a bully pulpit to promote my other project, but the talk was generally well-received. I believe that i succeeded at making my point: Both Mozilla and MediaWiki are leaders in the world of massively localized Free Software and both projects have things to learn from each other – Mozilla can simplify its translation workflow and consider converging its currently sprawling tools and procedures, as it is in MediaWiki, and MediaWiki can learn a lot from Mozilla about building the localization teams as communities of people and about quality control.
Finally, i was very glad to meet Dwayne Bailey and Alexandru Szasz – developers of Pootle and Narro, two localization tools used in the Mozilla world. Talking to them was very interesting and inspiring – they both understand well the importance of localization and the shortcomings of the current tools, including the ones that they are developing, and they are keen on fixing them. As a result of this excellent meeting i completed the translation of Pootle itself into Hebrew. And there is more to come.