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Open Language Tools FAQ

These are some Frequently Asked Questions about the Open Language Tools project. If you've any additions or proposed changes to this document, please send us email

Questions

  1. What are the Open Language Tools used for ?
  2. Why did Sun open source the Open Language Tools ?
  3. What license is this code released under ?
  4. What file formats do you support ?
  5. How can I help this project ?
  6. What are XLIFF and TMX ?
  7. What are the XLIFF filters ?
  8. What is the XLIFF Translation Editor ?
  9. What platforms with the Open Language Tools run on ?
  10. Will the Open Language Tools compile/run on non-Sun Java implementations ?
  11. Can I use these tools in a commercial setting ?
  12. Where can I get the Open Language Tools ?
  13. Why isn't my language listed in the logo ?
  14. How can I translate the Open Language Tools ?

Answers

1. What are the Open Language Tools used for ?

As mentioned in the description on the project home page, the Open Language Tools are a set of applications intended to make it easy for people to translate software and documentation into many different natural languages. They are based around common industry standards such as XLIFF and TMX and are implemented in Java

2. Why did Sun open source the Open Language Tools ?

These reasons were listed in the initial announcement posted on creation of this java.net project. To summarise :

Sun had a set of translation tools developed in-house that were being successfully used to translate Sun software and documentation. They felt that the tools had reached a state where they could be used effectively outside the company. Since Sun are not a translation tools provider, they were not interested in selling and supporting these tools, so they decided to release them to the public.

In addition, Sun works with a number of open source projects which are involved in translation activities and since Sun includes these projects in some of their products, it made sense for hem to release these tools in order to help out those translation communities.

If more people start to use these tools, it will be easier for Sun to reuse community translatable content. At the same time, the translation communities could be more productive using these tools, directly benefiting the open source project - Everyone Wins !

Finally, Sun have had a long history of supporting open standards : XLIFF and TMX are two of the standards being used in the translation industry, yet there are very few free implementations of tools which employ these standards. By releasing these tools, Sun hopes to address that problem.

3. What license is this code released under ?

The Open Language Tools are released under the terms of the Common Development and Distribution License (CDDL).

4. What file formats do you support ?

Initially, the following file formats are supported, but we hope to expand this list as the project matures :

Documentation file types

  • HTML
  • Docbook SGML
  • JSP
  • XML (generic - needs a configuration file for each XML type)
  • OpenOffice.org : sxw, sxc, sxi
  • Open Document Format : odt, ods, odp, odg
  • Plain text

Software file types

  • PO/POT (gettext)
  • Msg/tmsg (catgets)
  • Java .properties
  • Java ResourceBundle
  • Mozilla .DTD resource files

5. How can I help this project ?

We've got a big list of the areas that we'd like help with on our project home page we'd be absolutely thrilled to have you along as a member of this project!

6. What are XLIFF and TMX ?

XLIFF and TMX are localisation industry-standard file formats used during the translation process.

XLIFF is a container-format expressed in XML that allows us to abstract translatable from non-translatable content from a source file format, and track the various pieces of metadata that are produced during the translation process (eg. word count, notes to translators, translation review status, etc.) Once a file has been converted to XLIFF, it can be processed by any tool that understands the XLIFF format (rather than each tool needing to be customised to support the original file type). More information is available in About The XLIFF Filters.

TMX is related to XLIFF, but instead of being a container format that contains the state of a file in translation, it's a format that was designed for the interchange of completed translations, (sometimes called translation memory data) between tools. You could think of a TMX file being the final representation of a set of translated material that can then be poured into a database for future reuse.

The Open Language Tools project includes a way to convert XLIFF files that contain completed and reviewed translations into TMX files.

7. What are the XLIFF filters ?

The XLIFF filters are a set of programs/libraries that can convert several different source file formats to XLIFF. There is more information about the filters in the article About The XLIFF Filters.

8. What is the XLIFF Translation Editor ?

The XLIFF Translation Editor is a full-featured editing application built to process XLIFF files. Think of it as a customised word-processor for doing translation. It has a number of features that are aimed at improving translator efficiency. There is more information about the editor in the article About the XLIFF Editor.

A live demo of the XLIFF Translation Editor can be seen on Tim's Web Log. (note that this is a slightly older version of the editor, with the old Sun branding)

9. What platforms will the Open Language Tools run on ?

The Open Language Tools are developed and used on a mixture of platforms including Solaris, Windows, Mac OS X and Linux. We aim to provide cross-platform compatibility with any J2SE 1.4.2 compliant JVM.

10. Will the Open Language Tools compile/run on non-Sun Java implementations ?

Possibly. The Open Language Tools were developed and tested using the Sun J2SE 1.4.2 release of Java - it's possible that they will work using one of the other Java implementations. We would be very interested in getting the tools to run on these other Java implementations, but it's not the main focus of our project - see Philosophy

We haven't yet upgraded any of our code to take advantage of new features introduced in the J2SE 5.0 release of Java.

11. Can I use these tools in a commercial setting ?

Yes, of course you can - the only requirements here, are the terms of the CDDL. There is a CDDL FAQ on the OpenSolaris web site that you may also find useful.

If you are using these tools commercially, drop us a mail and let us know - we'd love to hear any feedback you might have !

12. Where can I get the Open Language Tools ?

On our project home page, in the Documents & Files section we have binaries for the components we have released so far. If you want to get access to our CVSSubversion, then you should join our project as an Observer - if you've got some code to submit back, get in touch with us, and we can chat about giving you Developer rights to the CVSSubversion tree.

13. Why isn't my language listed in the logo ?

I don't know what "Open Language Tools" is in your language ! The plan with the logo is to eventually have lots and lots of different versions of the logo, each with the same basic elements - that is, the book motif, the "Open Language Tools" title, and the URL to our web pages.

People can then add four of five different translations of "Open Language Tools" to appear in the background. Ultimately, it'd be nice if our project home page had some clever JavaScript to randomly pick one of these logos to display : if you know some clever JavaScript, or can contribute additional translations, then let us know !

14. How can I translate the Open Language Tools ?

Well, as mentioned here on our project home page, one of the areas we ultimately would like help on this project, is to provide translations of the Editor and Filter's user interface. Unfortunately at the moment, some of our tools are in the embarassing position of not being correctly internationalised ! As Alanis Morisette would say, isn't it ironic... don't you think ?

The problem is, that we haven't wrapped many of the user-visible strings in calls to methods of java.util.ResourceBundle, allowing the source code to get to a state where its messages can be translated.

So far, we can you can translate the message file for the XLIFF Filter GUI, but that's all for now - if you want to translate it, feel free - mail me your translations, and I'll pop it into CVSSubversion and give you a big credit in the AUTHORS file !

Otherwise, if you're really eager, you could translate our documentation or the contents of our website. If you'd like to help out with the internationalisation work on the code, let us know - we'd love the support !

 
 
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