Switch to Weblate as Translation Platform
Posted on May 10, 2021 by Jan Klass
The Mumble client is available in many languages. For the translation process we recently moved from the Transifex online platform to Weblate. In this post we describe our translation history, reasoning, and current approach.
Translations now happen in the Mumble client project on Hosted Weblate.
History - From local to online
Our Mumble client is making use of the Qt framework which provides various features. Amongst them also a system for localization.
In the source folder
src/mumble we produce a
.ts file for each language, which contains the source and corresponding translated texts. These files could be edited manually with a text or XML editor, or a translation application.
To lower the barrier for potential translators we moved to Transifex, a web based translation platform in 2014. Using a web platform contributors and anyone else can access translation information with a web browser, which made it a lot easier to work with. It also adds a few collaborative features that can be used.
To integrate the third party service we implemented a bot (MumbleTransifexBot) that would pull translation updates and create pull requests on GitHub for us. Once established this significantly reduced the work necessary for maintaining this system and integrating translation changes.
In the 6 years since we switched to Transifex, the translation platform changed significantly. Good alternatives appeared, and we took some discussion from an issue ticket as initiation for a reevaluation of our situation and opportunities.
Making systematic changes always results in foreseen and unforeseen effort, so not only did we have to evaluate whether there were better alternatives around, but also whether it was worth it to invest into switching to it. A migration is not only a change for our integration and hosting process, but also for existing translators that have to potentially learn new processes and interfaces. We had to evaluate not only technical aspects but also terms of service, and human aspects.
When looking for alternatives we quickly came to three big contenders:
- Transifex - alread established and integrated
- Crowdin - a promising alternative
- Weblate - official hosted instance of the Weblate open source software
We documented our evaluation and also asked for feedback in a discussion topic (#4641).
All three provide free hosting for open source (some limits apply). As a project with a small team and very limited resources we are very greatful for this. Without these we would be in a much worse position.
Various useful features are shared between the platforms, while the user interface and user experience differs greatly between them, as well as the technology behind it and resulting way to integrate them.
In the end we decided to initiate a move to Hosted Weblate. Apart from the feature aspects we are also glad to move to a hosted open source software for translations.
Migration to Weblate
The migration itself has mostly technical aspects to it, and a lot of related work. Deep-diving into the localization setup and aspects of our project also showed some inconsistencies and questions for the future, and potential for cleanup which we applied. The migration is/was tracked in ticket #4727.
Weblate provides integration to GitHub and pull request creation. Some advanced configuration scenarios allow for additional customization. Thanks to the integration we were able to phase out our integration and PR creation bot.
Interestingly enough even before finishing the migration and even with notices on Hosted Weblate to not translate yet we received contributions on there.
We have been using Weblate for several weeks now, and have received numerous contributions. Thank you to all existing and future translators!
The process is not as smooth as we would like it to be yet, but we are glad we made the transition already. And we hope existing and future translators like the Hosted Weblate platform.
Weblate Translation Platform
Weblate is open source software. The hosted instance services not only us as FOSS but other projects as well.
We are very thankful for the free hosting they provide to us. If you are looking for a translation platform for other FOSS or commercial projects (pricing), please consider using them. Direct donations to them are helping them too, and were explicitly mentioned for consideration after approving our project.
Our Translation Project on Hosted Weblate
We support numerous languages, and also have some languages that are not complete enough for productive use yet. If you are fluent in one of them, please consider contributing to our translations.
If you want to translate a language that we did not add yet, and are willing to commit to it, please create a request in our issue tracker. We can add additional languages.
Have any feedback, positive or negative, praise or concerns? We would love to hear from you!
Road to Mumble version 1.4
We recently landed blockers for 1.4, and are now in the process of preparing a last development snapshot, a feature freeze, and then plan to publish release candidates.
We would love to release 1.4.0 with many, complete, and good translations. If you are a willing translator, please take this opportunity to focus on finalizing translations towards the upcoming release. It would be great if we had finalized translations within about a month or two. Thank you very much.