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[Nano-devel] Doc translations with po4a

From: Mario Blättermann
Subject: [Nano-devel] Doc translations with po4a
Date: Sun, 27 Jul 2014 21:51:40 +0200
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64; rv:24.0) Gecko/20100101 Thunderbird/24.6.0

Hi all,

some time ago I had the idea to translate the Nano docs (both man pages and
Texinfo manual) into German, but I haven't had the time to dig deeper into this.
Recently a Romanian translator had the same idea, but he worked based on html
files (see recent posts in Nano-help), which is the worst imagineable way.
Documentations should always be translated based on their lowest-level sources,
this is groff in our case.

The Nano UI strings are maintained at for a long time, so
it is no question to also use the TP for the docs. To map the usual TP workflow
to the docs, we need something which creates po files. Have a look at the
attached scripts. Put them into the "doc" directory and run
first. The template-docs.pot is merged from the man pages and the texinfo
manual. This file is that one which has to be generated each time a
(pre-)release tarball gets created.

After getting the po files back from the TP robot, put them also into the doc
directory and run the second script The translated groff
files will be created in subdirectories, named according to the locale. The
texinfo file gets a language suffix, because there's currently no default way to
install localized texinfo files on a system. To test the described workflow, you
might use the also attached file de.po.

Note, per default po4a needs at least 80% of the po strings translated for each
source file, otherwise the creation of that file will be skipped. For testing
purposes you can screw down ${threshold}, currently it is set to zero anyway.
But in my mind, users won't benefit of translations lower than 80%, who wants to
read a documentation with more holes than real info in his/her native 

All we now need is someone with Autotools skills who can implement this in the
installation chain. I would discourage you to call the scripts directly, my
scripting knowledge is too poor :(

Moreover, there are some French plain text translations of the man pages. Don't
know how old and how complete, but once we are on the point to create the TP
domain, the files should be migrated to po files and added to the TP pool.
Obviously po4a is also able to do this, but I'm curious if it really works ;) In
any case I will try to do the migration, marking all strings where I'm unsure as

Finally, we'll get the Nano docs translated at least into three languages for
the next release, and I'm quite sure the Ukrainian translator Yuri Chornoivan
will also work on it.

By the way, to give translators more time, the TP module could be initialized
first, even without a working po4a toolchain in Nano.

Best Regards,

Attachment: scripts.tar.xz
Description: application/xz

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