Archive for the ‘Translations’ Category

Launchpad translations disruption 10.00 UTC 2011-11-29

Monday, November 28th, 2011

Launchpad translations will be unavailable for around one hour, starting 10.00 UTC, on Tuesday 2011-11-29, to allow us to open the translations for the next Ubuntu release, Precise Pangolin (to be 12.04 LTS).

We tried this last week but hit some problems. Rather than prolong the disruption, we decided to bring translations back online and delay the opening of Precise’s translations until after we’d fixed the issue.

While we’re opening Precise’s translations, Launchpad will not be importing translation files and the web interface for making and reviewing translations will be unavailable. This includes imports for translation uploads, but also imports from Bazaar branches.

Once this is done, imports will resume normally and any backlog should be processed quickly after that.

Launchpad translations disruption 10.00 UTC 2011-11-22

Monday, November 21st, 2011

Launchpad translations will be unavailable for around one hour, starting 10.00 UTC, on Tuesday 2011-11-22.

During this time Launchpad will not be importing translation files and the web interface for making and reviewing translations will be unavailable. This includes imports for translation uploads, but also imports from Bazaar branches.

We are suspending the service temporarily to allow us to set up translations for the next Ubuntu release, Precise Pangolin (to be 12.04 LTS). Once this is done, imports will resume normally and any backlog should be processed quickly after that.

Less mail about translation imports

Wednesday, September 28th, 2011

Continuing on from our earlier work of sending less but better mail and making it faster to import i18n translation templates: Launchpad will no longer send mail when it successfully imports a template. You can see in the web ui when the template was last imported, and you will still get mail if there’s a problem.

I could hardly put it better than Riddell:

Danilo asked for my reasoning. My reasoning is that pointless e-mails are a pain.

Big pile of junk mail from Verizon

(I hope we’ll eventually have a more structured notification model, that will let you choose to see some notifications by mail and others in the web ui. One step at a time.)

Translation imports: making approval conflicts visible

Monday, September 19th, 2011

If you use Launchpad’s Translations feature, then as of today, you may notice a new kind of error for uploads in your translations import queue. Look for the “info” icon next to your upload’s status, and click to unfold. The error message says “Can’t auto-approve upload: it’s not clear what template it belongs to.”


You may find this annoying, and as the person responsible, let me apologize. I hope when I’m done explaining, it won’t seem so bad.

To the right is an example of the error.  Click it to see more.

Where does the error come from? Actually it’s a problem that’s always been there, but instead of telling you about it, we Launchpad developers tried to hide the complexity from you and take care of it all ourselves. And we weren’t keeping up. Some of your uploaded translations would just sit in the queue forever, with status Needs Review, for no clear reason. All that’s changing now is that Launchpad will tell you when this happens, so that you can deal with it without waiting for us.

Why do some translations sit in the queue forever?

Every translation you make in Launchpad has to go into a specific template and language. Usually it’s obvious where you want your translation to go: when you translate in Launchpad’s web UI, you’re already on the page for a specific template and language. If you have upload privileges for the project and language, you can follow the upload link from that same translation page and again it’s obvious which template you’re translating and to what language. If you always upload the same file with exactly the same name and path, new uploads of that file go to the same place as before. But what if you upload a new file from the release-series page, or the translation comes in from a Bazaar branch or an automated build?

Then it’s up to a script we call the Translations Import Queue Gardener. The Gardener periodically scans all waiting uploads—the ones marked Needs Review—and tries more advanced ways of matching them up with known templates and languages. When it finds a match, it approves the upload’s import to the template and language it has found.

One of the Gardener’s most important tools is a template’s ”translation domain.” This is a simple name; no slashes or weird characters allowed. Launchpad figures out a template’s domain when you first import the template, based on its directory path. In principle a template’s domain should identify the template uniquely on the end-user’s system, but Launchpad isn’t as strict about it. It just assumes that the domain name is tied to the template file’s path within a project’s source tree. You probably shouldn’t, but you can give your project two templates with the same domain if you want.

When you upload a translation, the Gardener tries to figure out its translation domain based on the file’s path, just like what happened when the template was created. The Gardener looks for a template with the right domain in the same release series. If it finds one, presto: it’s got the template that the upload is meant for. If not, then the Gardener tries a few other things and if nothing works, simply keeps the upload on the queue.

So the entry doesn’t get imported, but usually the Gardener can’t give any single reason: all it knows is that it tried many ways of matching the file to a template and none of them worked. Maybe it’s an error; maybe it’s just a matter of waiting for the right template to be created.

So what’s changed?

The new error message is about “approval conflicts.” You’ll see it when there is ”more than one” matching template for your upload. This can happen because your project’s directory structure is unusual and Launchpad can’t extract a meaningful domain from it. Or a template’s domain may have been changed, or an old deactivated template is reactivated when a new one has already taken its place.

Whatever the cause, the new error message tells you that this has happened, and what the matching templates are. It’s up to you to decide what needs to be done about it:

  • update one of the templates’ domains, or
  • deactivate an obsolete template, or
  • move a file, or
  • re-upload your file to a specific template, or
  • re-upload your file with a different name, or
  • upload translations as a tarball so that Launchpad sees their full directory paths.

How much you can do, of course, depends on the permisisons you have. Only the project’s owners (and Launchpad’s administrators) can deactivate templates or change their domains. But you can always delete your own uploads if you want to upload your file differently: on the import-queue page, click on Needs Review and select Deleted instead.

Let us know

There’s still plenty more we’d like to do to make imports easier and more efficient, if we can find the time. But I hope this small change will make your life a little easier.

Is this error message working for you? Is it helpful? Are you seeing a lot of these errors, or none at all where you were expecting them? Is the explanation unclear? Do you see something happen for lots of people that we could fix in the same way? Please get in touch:

  • Contact danilos or jtv on IRC, in #launchpad on Freenode.
  • Find or file a bug if it’s broken.


  • If you want to become more familiar with the translations import queue, check out the global queue to see all uploads in Launchpad. The version you see there is just a copy on a test server, so don’t be afraid to play with it.
  • By the way, did you know about our test servers? We test our changes on staging and qastaging servers before they go live. You can try out most of Launchpad’s features there. Look for the grey “demo” text in the background. They get restored to a fresh copy of the real Launchpad once a week.
  • Tired of creating translations tarballs and uploading them to your project? Automate it all with Bazaar integration.
  • You want Bazaar integration but your code is hosted outside Launchpad and/or in a different revision control system? You can tell Launchpad to mirror a branch from elsewhere. Then you can import translations from the mirrored copy.
  • We like transparency! If you’re interested in the engineering details of this change, it’s all online.

Approve your own translation imports

Friday, July 29th, 2011

A road sign in Welsh and EnglishGood news if you run a project’s translation effort in Launchpad!

Until today, when you imported a template or translation file into Launchpad for the first time, you’d have to wait for a member of the Canonical Launchpad team to review and then approve that file before your project’s translation community could make use of it.

Now, if you’re a project maintainer, you can manage your project’s translations import queue yourself. All you need do is follow the “import queue” link on your project’s translations overview page and you’ll see something like this:

Translation import queue

Once you’ve approved a file, and it has been imported, subsequent changes will go through Launchpad’s automatic approval process.

Take a look at our guide to importing templates for more detail.

Road sign photo by Spixey. Licence: CC BY.

Sharing translations

Thursday, May 5th, 2011

French lessons on floppy diskIt’s incredible to think that more than 57,000 people have used Launchpad to translate software from English into their own language.

Many of them have worked directly on upstream projects, such as the OpenShot video editor. Others have helped translate Ubuntu packages of software. And then there’s a whole group of people who translate upstream software outside of Launchpad.

Today we’ve taken another step in bringing those efforts closer together by making it far easier to get upstream translations directly into Ubuntu.

We want the strings produced by translators working directly on software projects, whether in Launchpad or elsewhere, to be easily available to the Ubuntu translators and we believe it should be just as easy for software projects to take advantage of the work of Ubuntu translators.

How it works

Translation sharing between different releases of a project, or Ubuntu, has been available in Launchpad for some time now. Also, sharing translations between an upstream project translated in Launchpad and its Ubuntu package has been helping to bring those two communities of translators closer together.

What’s changed today is that strings from upstream projects who make their translations outside Launchpad are now just as easily imported and ready for use by Ubuntu.

Now, so long as the upstream project is set up in Launchpad to do this, a change made in an upstream project’s source code — whether hosted directly in Launchpad or elsewhere in Bazaar, Git, Subversion of CVS — will be available to Ubuntu translators just a few hours later.

Previously, Ubuntu took translation templates and files from the source packages as they were uploaded. There was no automated route for those new upstream translations to get into Ubuntu after that initial import. In effect, this allowed Ubuntu translations to diverge from upstream during the six month Ubuntu cycle.

This change has a nice side benefit of making it easier for upstream projects to make use of translation work done for Ubuntu, because the English strings will diverge far less and it will be easier to spot where the Ubuntu community has done new translation work, rather than their being a divergence due to the two efforts drifting apart.

To start with, this is available for projects that use intltools, which includes all of GNOME. To get your project’s translations automatically imported into Launchpad, see our help guide.

Photo by Kino Praxis. Licence: CC BY 2.0

Automatic generation of translation templates

Tuesday, May 4th, 2010

Last year, we integrated Launchpad Translations with Launchpad’s code hosting, meaning you could import both translations and templates from a Bazaar branch and also export translations to a branch.

Even at the time, we knew that the story wasn’t complete: you still had to somehow generate your translation templates (in the form of GNU gettext’s .pot files) and get them into your Bazaar branch before people could start translating your project in Launchpad.

However, we also knew that automatically generating translation templates was a big task.

Now, though, I’m pleased to say that Launchpad can automatically generate the templates on your behalf.

How to get it all set up for your project?

Automatic translation template generation relies on something called intltool. You’ll need to be familiar with intltool before you can get started with automatic template generation.

You first need to enable your branches for intltool and then set up a translation template import fromn the Bazaar branch that is linked to your project’s release series.

This means that, provided your branch has proper structure, you don’t even have to keep the POT file committed anymore (as a matter of fact, it’s better if you don’t). If your branch is not recognized as intltool branch, everything will keep working as before.

At this time, limits to what branches we consider intltool based are pretty strict: it has to have a file in each of the template subdirectories, and be able to derive the domain name from Makevars DOMAIN variable or, or gettext_PACKAGE variable (with very limited substitution supported). This will be further improved in the future, but plan is to support much more different layouts than just the intltool one.

We’ll be writing more about how to make the most of this in the coming weeks.

Direct translations imports for Ubuntu

Wednesday, April 28th, 2010

The last few months we’ve been doing a lot of work to enable direct import of translations from different upstream VCS systems. For now, we’ve focused on getting one very important case right first (GNOME), and then we’ll extend it to supporting other upstreams as well.

How are we going to do it? First off, we’ve split it all into two separate stages:

  • get upstream translations into Launchpad
  • push upstream translations from Launchpad into Ubuntu

For some upstreams, getting them into Launchpad is trivial: they might already be hosted in Launchpad. For majority of them, however, it means pulling from different VCS systems. Thanks to Launchpad Code and Bazaar teams, getting the code in the form of bazaar branch is not that big a deal. However, when pulling translations from a VCS instead of getting them from tarballs means one slight complication. Translation templates (POT files) won’t be there, and we’ll have to regenerate them.

Regenerating templates differs from project to project. And doing it should be considered an unsafe operation. So, in the first step we are only going to support intltool-based modules, and generation of templates will happen inside a sandboxed environment. This will enable us to import upstream translations directly into read-only Launchpad projects: this is marked with green-coloured arrows on the diagram.

After that is done, we’ll start pushing all these translations directly into Ubuntu (blue-coloured arrows), minimizing the time it takes for translations to get from upstream translators to Ubuntu users.

I’ve written a more thorough explanation in my personal blog, so check it out.

Parts of this will be rolled out this cycle, but more will come in the coming months.

Trying Out Launchpad Translations

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009

You may already know this: if you want to try out Launchpad, there’s a “playground” version of the site at

This site gets refreshed daily (or almost daily) with the latest copy of the database that’s behind the real, production Launchpad site. That makes it a good place to mess around: it’s pretty realistic but you won’t damage anything, and you won’t pollute Launchpad’s real database with fake information. It also runs newer code than the production site, so the Launchpad developers themselves use it for testing their latest changes.

Until recently, you couldn’t really test Launchpad Translations on the staging site: you needed help from an admin to get your templates imported, and if you got that done before they were overwritten by the daily refresh, you couldn’t export your translations. But today things are a lot better thanks to translation imports from, and exports to, bzr branches.

You will need:

  1. A Launchpad login. You can only get this on the real Launchpad; but it will also be valid on staging.
  2. At least one gettext translation template (“.pot file”) with strings from your program.

The translation template should have a filename in all lower-case letters and end in “.pot” as a filename extension. It should contain English “msgid” strings and empty “msgstr” strings as usual in the gettext format. (The msgstr strings don’t actually need to be empty, but in a template their contents will be ignored.)

You will be setting up:

  • A bzr “development branch” on staging. This is how your templates get into the system.
  • A bzr “translations branch” on staging. The system will write your translations into this branch.

Here’s how you set up and test translations on the staging site. With each of these steps, always make sure you’re working on staging, not on the production site! The staging site has the word “demo” scrawled diagonally across the page background. You may need to log in separately on this server; your account and password are the same as on the real Launchpad site.

1. Set up a project

You can do that on the project registration page. Or if you already had your project registered on the production site, it will show up in staging as well. In that case, just work with the project you have.

On the project’s main page in staging, select “Change details.” This takes you to the project’s setting page. Enable translations: check the box labeled “Translations for this project are done in Launchpad” and submit using the Change button at the bottom.

Your project should have a “trunk” release series. This is where you will be doing most of your work. Another release series will work just as well, but trunk is the default.

Detailed documentation

2. Set up a development branch

You may already have a development branch set up on the real Launchpad. But staging is a separate environment that does not have copies of your production branches, so you’ll have to set up a branch on staging anyway. Like everything else on staging, this branch will disappear when the staging site is refreshed.

The first thing to do is to make sure your bzr program is logged into Launchpad:

bzr launchpad-login mylogin

(Where mylogin stands for your Launchpad login name). Next you’ll push a branch to the staging server. How to do this depends on whether your project already has a bzr branch on Launchpad:

a. You have a bzr branch on your local system

You’ll have to push a copy of the branch to the staging server. Open a command-line shell and go into your branch. Then, supplying your own Launchpad login and project name in the obvious places, push the branch:

bzr push –use-existing-dir lp://staging/~mylogin/acme-zyzzyx/testbranch

This may complain:

bzr: ERROR: Target directory lp://staging/~mylogin/acme-zyzzyx/testbranch
already exists, but does not have a valid .bzr directory. Supply –use-existing-dir
to push there anyway.

If it does that, just run the command again and it should work.

b. You have a bzr branch on Launchpad

Go to the regular Launchpad page for the branch. The page will show how to access the branch using the bzr command-line tool. For example,

Get this branch:

bzr branch lp:acme-zyzzyx

(That is assuming that your branch is the main development branch for a project called “acme-zyzzyx.” Yours probably has a different name; it could also be of another form such as “lp:~mylogin/acme-zyzzyx/trunk”).

On your local system, go to some empty directory where you can create temporary data. Execute the “bzr branch” command line there. This creates a directory with your branch contents. Go into that directory, and push the branch to staging. You do this using the “bzr push” command:

bzr push –use-existing-dir lp://staging/~mylogin/acme-zyzzyx/testbranch

(Of course you use your own login and project name instead of “mylogin” and “acme-zyzzyx”). The “bzr push” command creates a real branch on staging. It may complain:

bzr: ERROR: Target directory lp://staging/~mylogin/acme-zyzzyx/testbranch
already exists, but does not have a valid .bzr directory. Supply –use-existing-dir
to push there anyway.

If it does that, just run the command again and it should work.

c. You don’t have a bzr branch

It’s okay if your branch is actually in some other revision control system such as subversion or git. Create a temporary copy of your source tree, so you can play without damaging anything. From the command line, go into the copy and run:

bzr init

Now use “bzr add” to add all the files that you want to see appear in the staging branch. For testing the only part that really matters is your translation templates:

bzr add po/messages.pot

Your directory structure and filenames may be different of course, but the filename should end in .pot. Commit your changes:

bzr commit -m “Setting up test branch.”

Congratulations—you have now set up a bzr branch for your project. Push a copy to the staging server. Supplying your own Launchpad login and project names in the obvious places, type:

bzr push –use-existing-dir lp://staging/~mylogin/acme-zyzzyx/testbranch

This may complain:

bzr: ERROR: Target directory lp://staging/~mylogin/acme-zyzzyx/testbranch
already exists, but does not have a valid .bzr directory. Supply –use-existing-dir
to push there anyway.

If it does that, just run the command again and it should work.

Make a note of that “bzr push” command line. You can make changes to the template later, commit them, and push them to the same location.

Detailed documentation

3. Set up a translations export branch

Besides import your template from a bzr branch, Launchpad can also export the template’s translations to a bzr branch. The real Launchpad site does this once a day, but since staging doesn’t do any of the heavy lifting, and data on staging doesn’t have so long to live, it does this every hour.

Let’s start with an empty branch for this that will contain just the translations. There can be good reasons to do it differently in your real project, but exporting to an empty branch is always a good way to start. That way you can make sure that the exports really do what you want them to before making Launchpad write to a real branch.

In some temporary directory on your system, run this from the command line:

mkdir translations-export-test
cd translations-export-test
bzr init
bzr commit –unchanged -m “Setting up translations branch.”
bzr push lp://staging/~mylogin/acme-zyzzyx/translations-export-test

(Here you probably see another complaint about “Target directory […] already exists, but does not have a valid .bzr directory.” Just run that last command line again to get past it.)

Make a note of the exact URL in that “bzr push” command. You’ll be pulling the exported translations from there into your local branch.

Detailed documentation

4. Configuring imports and exports

We now have two branches, one to import templates from and another to export translations to. Next we configure imports from your development branch and exports to your translations branch.

For the imports, tie your staging development branch to your project’s trunk release series. Go to the project’s main page on the staging server, and from there, click on to the “trunk” release series. The page you arrive at should have a section “Code for this series.” In that section, you may see a link to your real branch on production. The production branch won’t work on staging, so replace it with your development branch on staging. Click on the little “edit” icon next to the branch URL to go to the settings form. If no branch was tied to release series yet, click “link the branch to this series” instead.

You can now ask the staging server to start importing and exporting. Back on the “trunk” page, select the Translations tab at the top of the page. Look for a link “Set up branch synchronization,” and follow it.

This takes you to the page where translations synchronization with your branches is configured. It should show your chosen development branch (the one on staging!) as the import branch. Under “Import settings” select “Import template files” for now, and click “Save settings.” From now on, every time you commit a change to your translation template and push it to your development branch on staging, the latest version of the template will be imported to the staging server automatically. It usually happens within the hour.

Important: on the real Launchpad site, the development branch can also be a mirrored version of a branch you keep elsewhere. You can register an external branch (kept in CVS, Subversion, git, or bzr) and let Launchpad mirror it to a local branch. That automates the full transport from committing your template changes to your own repository on another server, all the way to having the changes show up in Launchpad Translations.

Detailed documentation

We’ll also want to set up translation exports on this page. Under “Export translations to branch,” you’ll see a link “Choose a target branch.” Selecting a branch will enable the exports immediately. (If an export branch has already been set, you’ll see its URL with an “edit” icon next to it. Clicking the icon will take you to the page where you set the branch.) Use the link to set your translations export branch.

Important: the translations export branch must be one that you own, and it must have been pushed to the server—just registering a branch is not enough. In the future it’ll also be possible to use a branch that is owned by a team that you are a member of. That plan is tracked in Launchpad under bug 407260.

At this point you have a viable working setup. As changes to your template (or even completely new templates) appear in your development branch, they are imported automatically. Snapshots of your translations are periodically exported to your translations branch. You may want to refine this further; I’ll go into that later.

Detailed documentation

5. Check up on the imports

Go to the translations import queue for your project. You’ll see links to the queue from the Translations pages for your project and for the trunk series. Within the hour you’ll see an entry for your template appear there. Its initial status will be Approved, which means it’s sitting in the queue waiting to be processed. Pending imports are processed several times an hour. Once your template has had its turn, if you refresh the queue page, its status will show as Imported (or Failed if there were errors).

Once your template has been imported, it will show up in the Translations page for your trunk series. You will see red bars for each of the languages you have set up in your preferences, standing for untranslated messages. The number of untranslated messages is indicated next to each. Until your template is imported, the red bars will show but not the numbers.

6. Translate!

Try clicking on one of the languages in the translations list with the red bars. This will take you to the template’s translation page: the UI for entering translations. Try translating one or more messages. Remember to hit “Save & continue” at the bottom to submit your changes.

Your changes are going to show up magically in your export branch. Remember the location you pushed your translations branch to on staging? Go back into your local copy of that branch and run, with that same URL:

bzr pull lp://staging/~mylogin/acme-zyzzyx/translations-export-test

Most likely, nothing will happen and the command will just say “no revisions to pull.” But keep trying! Sometime within the next hour, your latest translations will be written into the branch. When you set things up on production, you may want to set up an automated job (e.g. using “cron”) to pull snapshots of your latest translations to wherever you like to keep your translations.

Detailed documentation

7. Update the template

As your program changes, so will your template. You’ll probably run the xgettext command to extract the latest message strings. But today, since we’re only trying things out, you can edit the .pot file in a regular text editor.

So edit the template in your staging development branch. Add a new message:

msgid “Launchpad translations test message.”
msgstr “”

Now commit the change, and push it back onto staging using the same URL where you pushed your development branch before:

bzr commit -m “Template update.”
bzr push lp://staging/~mylogin/acme-zyzzyx/testbranch

Your template’s entry on the import queue will go back to being Approved, and soon after that, will be imported again. Now go back to the translation page. The new message, “Launchpad translations test message” will appear in the same relative position where you inserted it into the template.

This is how your project’s translations in Launchpad will keep up with development. From time to time you’ll want to start work on a big new release while translators continue to work on the existing release. That’s where you create a new release series. Each series has its own branches and its own translations. If the same English string occurs unchanged between two release series, the two will share their translations by default; but the old release series will be less of a “moving target” for the translators as the English strings probably won’t change so much between updates as you focus on the new release series.

8. Import translations

Remember how we set up imports of templates only? You can auto-import translations (“.po” files) as well. Go back to the branch synchronization options (on the trunk page, under the Translations tab) and set the import option to “Import template and translation files.”

Now, go back to your development branch. Did you have any PO files in there? If not, copy the one that was created in your translations export branch to the same directory where your template is. Translate a previously untranslated message so that you can see the changes happening. Add the file to the branch with “bzr add,” commit the change with “bzr commit,” and finally re-run the “bzr push” command.

If you already had PO files in the branch, all you need to do is use the one-time import option on the branch synchronization page. Each PO file should be in the same directory as its template, and be named after its language code with the “.po” extension: de.po for German, pt.po for Portuguese, pt_BR.po for Brazilian Portuguese, el.po for Greek, zh_CN.po for Simplified Chinese and zh_TW.po for Traditional Chinese, es.po for Spanish, and so on.

Now wait for up to one hour (but probably less) for your PO file to appear on the import queue for your project. This time it will appear as “Needs review”; a script that runs about once or twice an hour will approve it automatically. (If it doesn’t, check that you followed the naming rules). It will be imported soon after that.

If you go back to the translation pages, you’ll now see that the changes you pushed into the development branch have become visible in the translation UI. In the translations overview for trunk you’ll see translated messages show up as green (translated) bars instead of red (untranslated).

Note: if you made a translations change in the branch for a message that you had already translated in the Launchpad UI, you may not see the change appear. Translation changes made locally in Launchpad override translations that are imported from elsewhere; you’ll see such changes show up as light blue in the status bars. This allows you to keep track of changes made in Launchpad, and if the project’s translations are centralized elsewhere, feed the changes back “upstream.” You should try to keep the differences minimal by making sure that improvements are fed back to the origin, and that changes made in Launchpad are real improvements.

Detailed documentation

9. Going full-circle

By now you’re probably thinking that it’s not very useful to import translations from one branch and export them to another. Things get much more interesting when you export the Launchpad translations back to the branch they came from!

This is actually possible if your development branch is hosted on Launchpad. There’s nothing stopping you from using the development branch as the translations export branch as well. If you do that, you’ve got full two-way synchronization between your branch and the Launchpad user interface. Your translators can work in the Launchpad UI, or they can edit PO files from the branch and push them right back using bzr.

We normally recommend that you import only your templates from a branch, and export your translations to a branch (which may be the same one). But depending on how you choose to use Launchpad, two-way synchronization of translation files can be useful as well. There are a few important things to keep in mind though.

First, the exported translations may not always be exactly what you expect. If you name your PO files after invalid language codes, like “de_DE.po” (should be “de.po”) or “zh.po” (should be either “zh_CN.po” or “zh_TW.po” depending on which language it really is), they will normally not be imported. The same can happen if you include other things than the language code in the filenames, such as the template name. But if these files ever do get imported, they’ll be exported with their normalized, proper names. So it’s possible to end up with both a de.po and a de_DE.po in your branch. Of these, only the correctly-named one will be updated and re-imported—de.po in this case—even though your translators may still try to work on the other one.

Second, the translations export will simply overwrite any files that were already there. There is no intelligent merging, and “merge conflicts” are ignored. If you set up translations export to your branch before the first import has happened, the export can overwrite translations that were in the branch. Make sure this is really okay before enabling the exports!

There’s also the risk of “crossing” translations: translator A makes a change in the UI, around the same time translator B pushes an updated PO file to the branch. If there are pending changes in the branch when the export is scheduled to run, the export will not happen so as to avoid overwriting the changed files. Of course this does mean that frequent changes to a large branch can stop the exports from happening.

Third, an exported translation file will not be completely identical to the original, even if there were no changes in the Launchpad UI. Messages can appear in a different order, and the file’s header is updated. You may want to try merging Launchpad’s exported files into the original branch manually to get past the initial changes.

So, before you set up two-way synchronization, always test the exports on an empty branch. The staging server is the ideal environment for this. Or if you do it on the real Launchpad site, remember to save space by deleting the experimental branch once you’re done with it.

10. Help! Staging refreshed and now everything’s gone!

This happens once a day, or depending on the circumstances, once every few days. If you still have your branches on your local system, and your project exists on the real Launchpad site, it’s not hard to set things up on staging again for another experiment. Just re-run the “bzr push” command lines for the branches and set up the imports and exports again.

Once you’re satisfied, we hope you’ll decide to set up translations permanently on the real Launchpad.

Launchpad Translations 3.0

Thursday, September 24th, 2009

Launchpad 3.0 is a major milestone for Translations. Along with many small improvements across the board, here are the highlights.

Improved UI and navigation

Along with the rest of Launchpad, Translations has switched to the new and stream-lined 3.0 layout. However, that’s not all: we’ve fixed a huge number of small annoyances while doing this conversion, and we expect your experience to be much nicer.

The new Launchpad layout

One of bigger improvements has come through…

Personal dashboard

You are a reviewer in a translation team, and wonder if somebody has submitted any suggestions you can look at? Or, you’re stumped about what you could translate next?

Your personal dashboard now lists all the translations you’ve worked on in the past if they’ve got something you can help with: unreviewed suggestions, or strings that need translating.

Bazaar integration

You’ve got your code hosted in Launchpad, but you have to manually upload and download tarballs with translation files?

Not any more! With 3.0, Launchpad allows you to directly import all translations from your code branches, and to have them automatically committed to a separate or the very same branch.

Translations sharing

Your project has multiple series (eg. stable and trunk)? Translators have to go through both just to keep them up-to-date? Well, not with Launchpad.

If same strings appear in both series, translating it on one will have it automatically get translated in the other.