Simple localisation translation tool VirTaal
Thread poster: Samuel Murray

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 01:11
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Oct 17, 2008

G'day everyone

[I hope this post is not regarded as a commercial post.]

The local localisation company I sometimes do work for, Translate.org.za, has released a public release of their little translation tool. It is called VirTaal (the name is an Afrikaans play on words). It is GPL (open source) and works on Windows and Linux (and theoretically Mac also, but don't hold your breath yet).

http://translate.sourceforge.net/wiki/virtaal/index

VirTaal can edit POT, PO and MO (Gettext files), XLF (both HTML and PO dialects, but probably some unofficial dialects also), TS and QPH (Qt Linguist files), TMX and TBX (two exchange formats) and WF TXT (Wordfast TM files).

The current version can't open a file in one format and save it in another format, but the infrastructure for it already exists and it will likely be in a future version.

I'll probably get in trouble for saying this but I think one should think of this version of VirTaal as a new, simpler PO editor.

In VirTaal, the source and target text is displayed side-by-side, and you can scroll through the entire file quickly. But the active segment has the source and target text shown above-and-below, which personally I think makes it easier to translate and proofread stuff.

In contrast to PoEdit, for example, the untranslated and fuzzy strings in VirTaal are not grouped together, so you always translate and view stuff in context.

VirTaal has segment filtering (but they call it 'modes'). In the "All" mode, Ctrl+up and Ctrl+down takes you to the direct previous or next segment. In "Incomplete" mode, Ctrl+up and Ctrl+down takes you to the previous or next untranslated or fuzzy segment. In "Search" mode, Ctrl+up and Ctrl+down takes you to the previous or next segment that matches the search string. You can make the search case sensitive, and you can also use Python regular expressions in the search box.

The infrastructure exists to limit a search to only the source or target text, but that feature has not yet been implemented (hopefully soon, though). VirTaal is built upon the Translate Toolkit base classes, which also include QC filters such as punctuation checking, capitalisation checking, XML tag checking etc, which will probably be in some next version of VirTaal as well.

Other features include spell-checking (doesn't work on Windows), autocomplete (works on Windows also), and limited syntax highlighting. More features are listed on the VirTaal web site but I don't understand all of them (some of them apply only to languages that I don't speak, eg something about target language punctuation adaptation or something like that).

There are two glitches on Windows. The first is that the sizes of the text boxes are sometimes incorrectly drawn for large segments. If this happens, just go Ctrl+up and Ctrl+down again to fix it. The other is that you can't see the cursor in untranslated segments until you've typed a character or two. Annoying but not critical.

I made an unofficial, short SWF video about it too (3 MB). Let me know what you think.


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Vito Smolej
Germany
Local time: 01:11
Member (2004)
English to Slovenian
+ ...
TM-based? Oct 17, 2008

I'll probably get in trouble for saying this but I think one should think of this version of VirTaal as a new, simpler PO editor.

To keep text in context is a nice step forward from PoEdit. Self-evident question: does it remember, i.e. is it TM-based?


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 01:11
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Not yet Oct 17, 2008

Vito Smolej wrote:
Self-evident question: does it remember, i.e. is it TM-based?


Not yet, no. So it may not be suitable for translators with existing systems that are TM capable. I suspect the primary target user is not a professional translator but any translator who needs to edit localisation files within a larger project.


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Denis HAY  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:11
English to French
Okapi Rainbow already supports .PO files Oct 17, 2008

Samuel Murray wrote:

Vito Smolej wrote:
Self-evident question: does it remember, i.e. is it TM-based?


Not yet, no. So it may not be suitable for translators with existing systems that are TM capable. I suspect the primary target user is not a professional translator but any translator who needs to edit localisation files within a larger project.


Too bad. Especially since Rainbow (from the Okapi framework) can easily prepare .PO files so that they can be translated using all major CAT tools.

Kind regards,
Denis Hay


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 01:11
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
I beg to differ Oct 17, 2008

Denis HAY wrote:
Especially since Rainbow (from the Okapi framework) can easily prepare .PO files so that they can be translated using all major CAT tools.


We have to ask ourselves what we mean by "easily". Many things are "easy" once you've got a certain amount of CAT skills under the belt. But what if using CAT tools isn't really your speciality and you don't want to learn a whole lot of technical stuff just so that you can translate a simple file format?

VirTaal isn't small (13 MB download) but it certainly is smaller than Rainbow (24 MB download). And with the Rainbow approach you still have to download and install another CAT tool.

Say, to what format does Rainbow convert the PO file?


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Rodolfo Raya  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:11
English to Spanish
File size isn't so important today Oct 17, 2008

Samuel Murray wrote:
VirTaal isn't small (13 MB download) but it certainly is smaller than Rainbow (24 MB download). And with the Rainbow approach you still have to download and install another CAT tool.


File size is not so important today.

If size is relevant for you, you can use a CAT tool that supports the file formats supported by VirTaal and includes full TM and Terminology databases in a 13 MB download.

Regards,
Rodolfo


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 01:11
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
I agree with some of what you say Oct 17, 2008

Rodolfo Raya wrote:
File size is not so important today.


I agree with this statement to a certain extent. But download size is not the important issue with VirTaal, I believe.

If size is relevant for you, you can use a CAT tool that supports the file formats supported by VirTaal and includes full TM and Terminology databases in a 13 MB download.


I suspect it is unlikely that VirTaal will feature realtime TM or current-file based matching anytime soon, for those are features that only translators with a high degree of computer literacy are likely to use. I suspect most users of a CAT tool use the minimum of its features.

Having looked at VirTaal, what would you say are the biggest draw-backs of the program (except for lack of TM and terminology databases)? Or to put it a different way, how would you complete the sentence "VirTaal is worthless, because..."?


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 01:11
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
I don't want to diss Okapi, but... Oct 17, 2008

Denis HAY wrote:
Especially since Rainbow (from the Okapi framework) can easily prepare .PO files so that they can be translated using all major CAT tools.


I'm consider myself fairly computer literate and knowledgeable about CAT tools and related programs, but after 10 minutes of fiddling with Rainbow I have yet to successfully convert a PO file to any other format. Can you enlighten me?


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 01:11
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
I entirely agree! Oct 17, 2008

Rodolfo Raya wrote:
Size is not so important today.


I entirely agree! Expertise is much more important!

Just joking of course folks. Have a great weekend everyone!!!


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Vito Smolej
Germany
Local time: 01:11
Member (2004)
English to Slovenian
+ ...
same here ... Oct 18, 2008

S.... but after 10 minutes of fiddling with Rainbow I have yet to successfully convert a PO file to any other format. ...

You just need to be persistent. Took me 16 minutes...


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Simple localisation translation tool VirTaal

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