L10n:Tools Vision

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Here we're outlining and defining the requirements for the next generation of L10n tools. We have two high-level requirements:

  • L10n tools need to satisfy both the needs of the Mozilla project and those of the L10n communities.
  • L10n tools need to adhere to certain standards of criteria.
Seem pretty straightforward? Consider the following:
  • The Mozilla project's scale has grown and L10n tools need to be able to function and help ensure high-quality work within that massive scale (i.e., the work of thousands of contributors, not single contributors).
  • L10n tools need to empower all contributors, regardless of length or type of L10n experience.
  • L10n tools also need to empower L10n maintainers (i.e., those who field the contributions of a wide range of contributors).
  • The freedom to choose the tool a contributor will use must reside with the contributor.
If you haven't already thought it, I'll come out and say it, developing L10n tools to satisfy the above-mentioned needs is clearly not as easy as it sounds. Having these goals and needs identified, however, allows us to take a step back and identify some key criteria to measure our current tools against and requirements for future tools we develop. These are the requirements that we've identified. L10n tools must allow (for):
  • cooperation (sharing and distributing a workload among various independent contributors).
  • collaboration (multiple contributors engaging in solving a problem).
  • attribution (giving credit where it's due).
  • interoperability (contributing to a L10n effort with one tool without blocking the ability to contribute through use of another tool).
  • discoverability (finding contributions to a L10n effort).
  • federation (receiving contributions from independent tool installations).
and the L10n tools must provide:
  • Automation for every reasonable task where automation can be provided
  • Quick reference to and reuse of previous localized translation material where ever it is related to current work.
  • Links to the translation "style guide" where the localization teams has established rules by which the localization effort has be built upon.
  • A clear and comprehensive view of all the translation work related to a Mozilla Project including product, web promotional material, and anything else directly related to the project
  • A clear view of proposed schedules, milestones, and progress toward the completion of translation work, testing, and acceptance of a localization project or projects.
  • The ability to have options for accomplish the translation work both on-line and in a collaborative way, and off-line where bandwidth and other factors may limit effective contribution.
Now that we have some standardized criteria, the challenge for the future is seeing how well our current tools function in each category and ensuring that they, and all new tools, can perform in each of these areas.