Montag, 20. Februar 2012

SuMo - a look at locales

The Support for Firefox site is proudly multilingual. 71 languages, from Akan to Zulu can be selected, which is rather close to the number of localized Firefox versions  (85 and counting). What does it take to localize SuMo?
  • SuMo Site: The localization runs within the Verbatim enviroment. The size of the job is close to 6000 words in size. 
  • Articles: together with the templates used there's about 300 units to be localized. In the OmegaT project, used for the SL locale, the 93 articles translated amount to ~54.000 words. Ballparking one single article then at 600 words, the complete phase space of KB articles must be close to 180.000 (!)  words. To stay within reasonable limit, the top 20 articles should suffice, but that still means about 12.000 words.
The amount of text to be localized to a reasonably complete degree is thus 18.000 words. It does not match the total size of Firefox localization (ca. 180.000 words),  however, these additional 10% however can make quite a difference. Think of a Firefox user with a problem: when an English version of the help pops up on pressing F1,  the fun is gone for all non-speakers of English.

Looking at the status

Every language, recognized by SuMo, has a dashboard, showing the current status of the localization - for instance for Slovenian language (a little plugging for one's own cause does not hurt;). There one can see, how many of the top 20 articles and so-called templates are up-to-date in the selected locale and how it stands with the localization of the SuMo site itself.  Current status for SL is all green (top 20 articles and templates localized). 23% of all the articles has been localized and as regards the SuMo site itself,  it is fully localized in SL (evident from the Verbatim dashboard for SL ).

That much about SL - what about the other 70 languages? The data for the diagram below have been collected from the Dashboard pages:

The diagram shows the number of localized articles and templates versa the number of localized top 20 articles. The four clusters (from left to right) can be identified as follows:

  • the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak:  this is by far the largest group with 71 language groups present. They are at the beginning of the SuMo journey. 23 of the languages in this group  have not one single text unit translated. This is one third of all the languages advertized in the drop down list box. Altogether 37 languages (i.e. a good half of the whole portfolio) are in this group. One could just as well tag it as "Huh!?" group.
  • moving up: there's three languages on the move from the start-up group to higher grounds. we wish them all the best on the way.
  • room at the top : eight locales have it made (the top group around 250 articles+templates and top 20 from 15 on). Let us mention them by their names: Dutch, Japanese, Polish, Italian, French, Spanish - Castillian, German, Chinese (PRC)
  • let's be practical: the two languages with top 20 in green, but with a significantly lower number of translated articles (bottom right), are Czech and Slovenian. I can not speak for CZ, but in the SL case it is a question of diminishing returns. Practical example: for SL there was one single Helpfulness vote the last 6 months for #20 - Importing favourites and other data from Internet Explorer.
...Two months later

The four (or three and a half) groups above can be identified elsewhere as well - for instance in the  the completness of  product localizations as well as their portfolio. The locales in the "room at the top" group are no surprise. What may be surprising at first glance, is their absence from SuMo fori (with the laudable exception of FR), but just at the first glance: they have adressed the question of support some time ago with the help of their own fori etc. I have yet to find out how they make the localized material in Knowledge Base to their language group - I assume they do, but have bo proof for the assumption.

PS: this is just some of the facts I have culled from the Verbatim site. See also Thar she blows ...

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