Snippets code from my daily experience

August 29, 2010

Sunday thought: Discarding localizations from extensions

Filed under: extension,localization,sunday_thought — dafi @ 11:30 am

XUL is so flexible that creating localized extensions is incredible easy, adding new languages is simple and the developer effort is very low.

So adding locales is technically trivial but having locales updated can have a dramatic impact on release process.

Everything is based on voluntary contribution and this is simply awesome but very often localizers stop translation without tell anything, other translators can’t respect deadlines, this is voluntary activity so if they can’t do it means simply they can’t do!

I’m very sad but I’ve decided to drop localizations inclusion from my extensions I leave only my mother tongue and obviously English.

Epic fails

A short list of attempts I’ve done to obtain completed locales but without success

  • Contacting localizers asking to complete localization without receiving reply (bad citizens???)
  • Searching other people to continue translations
  • Asking translations for less than ten strings per release (including accesskeys and key)
  • Setting long deadlines (two/three weeks) discarding periods closer to holidays (summer/winter)

Technical workarounds

I know there are many ways to have an incomplete locale using en-US for missing strings, (read Firebug lesson) but I really dislike mixed locales and I’m a zero-or-one man so complete locales go inside XPI, incomplete locales not bundled!

I surrender

So finally I’ve decided to stop locales inclusion, I will continue to write code compliant with locale rules (eg no hard coded strings) because it’s easy and really useful.



  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Planet Mozilla and Planet Repeater, Davide. Davide said: Sunday thought: Discarding localizations from extensions: […]

    Pingback by Tweets that mention Sunday thought: Discarding localizations from extensions « Snippets code from my daily experience -- — August 29, 2010 @ 1:57 pm

  2. Did you try Babelzilla ?

    Comment by DarkEven — August 29, 2010 @ 5:38 pm

  3. This decision is only yours, but looks a bit unfair. Why don’t you do something in the middle e.g. sending the new version to localizers (or publishing it in babelzilla) one week before release? After that week, who’s ready and sent you back the translation will be included, who didn’t won’t. Whithout loosing time waiting for localizers.

    Comment by iacchi — August 29, 2010 @ 7:37 pm

  4. […] to our site and system (not to mention the awesone Externalize strings extension), recently explained on his blog why he could not afford maintaining numerous locaizations for his extensions. Dear Davide, I know […]

    Pingback by Think Global, Make Locales! » Blog Archive » How to maintain extension translations on the long term? — August 29, 2010 @ 8:18 pm

  5. It would be great if you could include further localizations after the extension was made public/updated.

    Comment by Mic — August 29, 2010 @ 8:29 pm

  6. Two tactics can reduce your burden

    (1) Use a fallback default locale for the keys that don’t have translations
    (2) Use as a first-order approximation for new keys

    Comment by Noel Grandin — August 29, 2010 @ 10:30 pm

  7. Too bad 😦

    “Contacting localizers asking to complete localization without receiving reply (bad citizens???)”
    Yeah I got this issue too…

    now I ask to the Songbird community people I know for translating locales in their languages 😉 (Sweden, Dutch, French…)

    Comment by Antoine Turmel (GeekShadow) — August 30, 2010 @ 1:38 am

  8. Yes, I made the same experience unfortunately – it is getting increasingly harder to get locales updated. I don’t expect a reply from translators, many of them simply aren’t comfortable writing English. But some of them simply disappear and finding a replacement is very hard. In Adblock Plus 1.2 I had to drop some locales, for the first time ever. I now hope to improve the situation by moving the translation process from Babelzilla to my own platform where it is better integrated with the development and accessible to more users.

    Comment by Wladimir Palant — August 30, 2010 @ 10:21 am

  9. “Use as a first-order approximation for new keys”

    This is the worst thing someone can do – Google’s translations are usually so bad, that it is better to leave the string in English or even better: drop the locale for as long as someone doesn’t translate it “manually”.

    Comment by Adrian Kalla — August 30, 2010 @ 1:45 pm

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