Rosetta Provides Collaborative Online FOSS Translation

January 27, 2006

Rosetta is a web-based platform that does exactly what I thought needed to be done: it makes open source software translation really easy for lots of people, and it makes it easy to collaborate on a translation project.

Instead of having to edit .po files manually, this web interface allows you to easily just ... translate. Read the message, type your translation, save. It's that easy.

Well, almost: the result still should be combed over with a something like POedit.

But Rosetta nontheless is an incredible project about which I am very excited, and I congratulate their team and the 8796 translators (according to public page stats) working to make free software available worldwide. I especially like logging into the website and being able to see the progress on each translation for each of the O.S.S. projects they work with. (Currently there is no Wordpress 2.0, just 1.5, unfortunately. There is also no Swahili team, prior to myself and Ndesanjo.)

Rosetta2The Rosetta project is, I believe, originally the translation interface for the Ubuntu Linux community. Ubuntu is a distribution (a version) of the Linux operating system.

ubuntu-logoFor those who are new to the world of Open Source, Linux is a platform for your computer, just like Microsoft Windows or Apple's Macintosh OS. But Ubuntu-flavored Linux is free, community built and, indeed, community oriented. Ubuntu Linux is "beating out" a lot of the more traditional flavors of Linux because it is more user friendlily. I like to think of Ubuntu Linux developing enough to enter the mainstream as a free alternative to Windows.

From the Ubuntu website:

"Ubuntu" is an ancient African word, meaning "humanity to others". Ubuntu also means "I am what I am because of who we all are". The Ubuntu Linux distribution brings the spirit of Ubuntu to the software world.

The Ubuntu community is built on the ideas enshrined in the Ubuntu Manifesto: that software should be available free of charge, that software tools should be usable by people in their local language and despite any disabilities, and that people should have the freedom to customise and alter their software in whatever way they see fit.

The Rosetta project has a lot of these fuzzy overtones. I love it. I would encourage anyone with strong language skills to log in and start translating one of your favorite programs.