Hacking Mozilla Translator

A lot of Mozilla localizers think that the Mozilla Foundation doesn’t care about them. This is simply not true. Nobody I’ve talked to at MF denies the importance of localization. However, there is plenty of disagreement about what should be done, and who should do it. Many code developers (who deal with source code all day long) wonder why translators can’t just translate the source files. They look down on the semi-automated tools like Mozilla Translator as a crutch.

I like the automated tools. Anything that makes the workflow faster, without sacrificing quality, is great and should be supported. However, I don’t want the Mozilla applications to be a slave to the tools. I have designed changes to the localization system which will provide significant benefits in terms of the maintainability and scalability of the localization process. I believe that the model we have now, where we take a build and extract files to localize, and then repack the build, is a model that already scales poorly, and will get worse as we add more separate applications like NVU and Sunbird. In addition, it makes it pretty much impossible for mozilla.org to release official version of the localized build. Instead, the localizations should be done at the source level. This is bound to cause some difficulties simply because it is different than what is currently done. The goal is to provide automated scripts to reduce the pain as much as possible.

What I need is an enterprising hacker to modify Mozilla Translator just a little. I’ve tried to get in touch with Henrik Lynggaard but I haven’t been successful, so I’m going to try to pingback his weblog. In any case, MT does not like the directory structure of the new JAR files I am trying to feed it. I am hoping it would be simple to modify the assumptions of MT so that it recognizes the new directory structure (which is the directory structure in CVS).

Here is an incomplete example of the directory structure for the toolkit locale source. Java hackers, please help!

installer/install.rdf # for installable langpack
installer/install.jst # for localized build

I also have a sample JAR (very incomplete) available for download.

Atom Feed for Comments 3 Responses to “Hacking Mozilla Translator”

  1. Abdulkadir Topal Says:

    Hi Benjamin,

    I just looked into the .jar-file and couldn’t see any non locale files. But I assume you consider files like bookmarks.html or google.src as well?

  2. Jerome Says:

    I think that Henrik Lynggaard is in holydays now (for 3 weeks).

  3. Axel Hecht Says:

    Oh, Benjamin, anything you say is music in my ears. But wouldn’t this one rather go into the Mozilla category than the Music one? ;-)

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