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From Mark Thomas <>
Subject Great example of the benefit of a low barrier to entry
Date Fri, 16 Nov 2018 12:32:56 GMT
Hi all,

I wanted to share the following example from the Apache Tomcat project.

Tomcat provides localisation (l10n) support in the form of translations
of error messages and some UI elements. There has been interest recently
in expanding the UI elements that have l10n support and providing
Russian translations for them.

I wondered if there was a translation tool that would help the Tomcat
project manage these translations and - potentially - make it easier for
contributors to provide translations.

One of the challenges is that Tomcat organises its translations using
one file per Java package so there are multiple files for each language.
All the tools I found were based on one file per language. I worked
around this by writing some code to convert Tomcat's source files
to/from a single file per language [1].

I then looked at a couple of tools and settled on POEditor. [2]

Working on the import/export tools and loading the data into POEditor
enabled a number of typos and stale entries to be cleaned up. That alone
made the effort seem worth while.

Before I advertised the tool, we had 2.5k translations with at least
minimal coverage in 4 languages. I advertised the tool and called for
volunteers on users@ and via Twitter on Monday. As I type this (Friday)
we have 4.3k translations with at least minimal coverage in 7 languages
and another 4 languages that are working towards minimal coverage.

I very deliberately set the Tomcat project up with permissions as wide
open as possible. Anyone can join. Anyone can add a new language. Anyone
can add translations. Anyone can wipe out all the translations. No
reviews / approvals / moderation required.

Yes, we had a minor issue last night when someone accidentally wiped out
all of the Chinese translations. One of the Chinese translators pinged
the users@ list this morning and I was able to restore them. No big
deal. They are also regularly transferred to svn so we have a back-up
there as well as in the tool.

In summary, having a low barrier to entry means the Tomcat project has
been able to attract ~40 new contributors this week alone who have
provided 1.8k new translations with another ~30 new people having
expressed an interest but not yet contributed.



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