Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Fuel because...

Fuel (Frequently Used Entries for Localization) because... there are lot of problem users are facing when using softwares localized in their own languages. And so they, fade up with the 'quality' of translation, are commenting regularly on the 'translators'. On the other hand translators think it nothing more than a 'thankless' job. Actually all major desktop related entries appearing on menus and sub-menus are not more than five-six hunderd. So if we move to standardize a mere 500-600 entries and the process is backed by the active localizers and entities who get benefit from localization then we can make a successful move against the problem of standardization and inconsistency in software translation. This is the main idea behind FUEL.

Generally lots of similar words are used for different applications with almost all having same context...like File, Edit, View, Save, Save as...!! Collecting all these words from different applications and putting it together can help much. Choosing entries from menus and sub-menus appearing on a desktop, its panel, browser, office suits, editor, email client, messanger and terminal and by concentrating on these entries only, we can get an amazing result instantly. But its only a start. No doubt, for software localization these five-six hundred entries are most vital and we can give a face-wash and make our destop 'fresh' from a 'tired' look. So these are the entries that are frequently used for localization and so I like to call it 'Fuel' ie. 'frequentlu used entries for localization'.

The effort of FUEL is unique. It is a set of steps any content generating people involved in creating localized content can undertake and with the help of this we can ensure consistently highly quality. Including this FUEL is having a version control system allowing evolution of terms, a bug tracker and ticketing system and a mailing list also. Collaborative innovation is a most important aspect. In the process finally it is able to allow inclusiveness and participation with openness and transparency.

The history of standardization contains lot of major names and contributors inside it. But these standardization efforts were generally automated. Generally after the long process and labour glossaries with several thousands of entries were made available to the public. But nothing changed! This doesn't mean that FUEL undermines the importance of previous works. But here in FUEL, effort will be more on collaboration and openness so as like earlier standardization efforts it not only comes as an addition to the existing chaos and making the standardization process finally more complex. The individual FUEL effort for different languages will generally start with smaller number of entries. Apart from these features it also provides public review process in creating terms. During the process of standardization, FUEL will be an attempt to put effort of standardization for desktop as a whole, desktop in totallity instead of concentrating on different applications one by one. So currentely we have incorporated entries from gnome desktop (gdm, panel, gnome-menu etc), gedit (editor) openoffice (office suit), firefox (Browser), evolution (Email Client), and pidgin (instant messanger) so that we can have all the entires that a normal user uses frequentely. By this way we tried to use representative entries from major application. If a people is changing the platform s/he will see similar or almost similar entries.

So, FUEL (Frequently Used Entries for Localization) aims at solving the Problem of Inconsistency and Lack of standardization in Computer Software Translation across the platform for all Indic Languages. It will try to provide a standardized and consistent look of computer for a language computer users.

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