Translating Colectica

Colectica has always allowed folks to create metadata in multiple languages, but the user interface itself has so far been limited to English. Naturally, many of our customers would prefer to use the software in their native language.

The Colectica desktop applications have lots of text, so the first step was for us to pull this text out of the source code and into resource files. We are using Resx files, for those familiar with .NET. Colectica has over 750 strings, but the task of extracting these was fairly simple using tools like Visual Localizer, WPF Localization Extension, and a modified WPF Localization Addin.

User-driven Translation

Since Colectica is focused on letting people create metadata about statistical data using the DDI standard, much of the text in the user interface is very domain-specific. Instead of using generalist translators, we think the result will be better if folks who are familiar with surveys and statistical metadata help with the translations.

Given the large number of strings, we didn’t want to give people a spreadsheet with hundreds and hundreds of rows and wish them luck with the task. Instead, we created a web application to manage the translation process. Translators simply log in, pick a category of text they would like to localize, and start submitting translations.

Image of the Colectica Translator

Text is categorized by where it appears in the application. This lets translators work on only a few strings at a time, and allows everybody involved to track the progress of a translation as work is performed.

Track progress of translations

Integrating the Translations

Once a translation is complete, we just ask the web app to generate the culture-specific resource files, which we then add to the Colectica project.

Automatically generate resx files for each translation

Once we rebuild Colectica, the users can choose which language they prefer to see.

Colectica, translated

What language do you like?

In what language would you like to see Colectica? Let us know, and if you would like to help with a translation we’ll be happy to show you how.


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