Killing bad translations a word at a time

Three bloody security updates in as many months. SPIP is a great little CMS for small websites, but it’s in French and the translations suck. And since previously I couldn’t make head nor tail of their translation management system, it has continued to suck, at least as far as English is concerned. It’s an Open Source project, these things happen. OS translations are generally done by volunteers unless it’s a really high-profile project, these being only slightly more common than hens’ teeth. The problem with getting decent translations is that most people fail to understand 3 things:

  • Always translate to your mother tongue
  • Always know the language you’re translating from extremely well. Bilingual is best
  • Never translate isolated phrases with no context. The context must always be available

As a rule, people with these talents don’t come cheap. For non-volunteer-run  projects, I have a ready-made rant about cheapskates who undervalue (a) the importance of linguistic skills, and (b) the fact that they’re incapable of producing a readable phrase in their own tongue, let alone anyone else’s. But life is short and is that the time? My, my.

Anyway. Three updates means going through the translation files and correcting stuff three times over. A foolish waste of time. This must cease! So I finally started digging around on SPIP’s translation site and found at least some of the files that desperately need updating. The system isn’t too bad now, actually. Bit slow and fiddly, but useable.

However, this will probably mean multiple all-nighters for me, as this is the sort of job you have to finish. You can’t leave it half done, or you lose your place among all the similar-sounding files. To the Batcave, Robin!

PS If anyone else feels like getting involved and translating the language files from French into their own lingo, you’ll be very welcome.


Go on, bother me. You know you want to.

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