Introducing Weblate, A New Path for OJS/OMP Translations
How does software, created nearly twenty years ago at a university in Canada, become one of the world’s most widely used journal publishing platforms? Being free and open source hasn’t hurt the success of Open Journal Systems (OJS), but another major factor has been, and continues to be, the countless volunteers who have translated our software into more than 35 languages.
Over the years, through trial and error, we have learned a great deal about what works and what doesn’t when it comes to translating our software. When asked why we needed to work on this process, one contributor noted, “it’s not my favourite task.” Concerns, such as missing translations, issues with metadata and indexing, and the need to translate more documentation, have also been brought to our attention over the years. We value our community and the role that translation plays in making our software useful and accessible, so we decided to invest in making it easier and more enjoyable to contribute. The solution? PKP is now using Weblate to manage OJS and OMP translations.
Weblate is “a libre software web-based continuous localization system” and “feature rich computer aided translation tool” that “saves both developers and translators time.” (https://weblate.org/) With Weblate, our translators don’t need to install software to contribute. They can also work online with other translators, thus reducing duplication of effort. Furthermore, Weblate is open source, an important consideration being open source ourselves, and an important distinction from many of the translation services available. Running our own Weblate instance is a cost efficient way for us to bring new translators on board and better support volunteer contributions from our community.
With the help of the PKP Technical Committee and sprint contributors, including Marc Bria (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona) and Marco Tullney, we confirmed at the end of 2019 that Weblate would be the right tool to help us improve both the quality and volume of our translations. PKP is now hosting its own instance of Weblate, available for immediate use at https://translate.pkp.sfu.ca. With the support of our community behind us, we’re confident this next step will result in important changes for PKP software.
What’s next? If you’re a translator and feeling ambitious, we are accepting translations via Weblate for our upcoming OJS/OMP 3.2 release until February 14, 2020. Translations received after this time will be included in subsequent releases. To support our translators, we have drafted a user guide on how to use Weblate. As this document is still under review, we’re asking contributors (translators and non-translators alike) to share comments directly in the Google Doc. Following review, we’ll move this documentation into the PKP Docs Hub. With this new path set for how we manage OJS/OMP translations, we are confident that we can make OJS and OMP better, together.
Are you interested in helping translate PKP software? Do you know a translator who may be able to volunteer their time? Contact Alec for more information.
We would like to thank PKP translators past, present and future for the invaluable work that they do. Special thanks to all who helped us explore, test, and launch Weblate, in particular, sprint participants from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Technische Informationsbibliothek, Autonomous University of Barcelona, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), Universidad Distrital Francisco José de Caldas, Universidad Distrital Francisco José de Caldas, Syracuse University, and the University of Pittsburgh.