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FileSender interface translations: how underlying technology empowers collaboration

Not every web-based service interface can be easily translated into other languages, with localisation in mind when designed. FileSender gives this opportunity to its users! Previously we highlighted the reasons why NRENs do these translations to support their domestic R&E communities. Let’s see how the whole process is organised from the technical point of view and how technology brings people together in a collaborative setting.

FileSender is open source software to deliver a service for easy and secure transfer of large files through a trusted intermediary, often the NREN. The sender has full control over who receives and can access the files (through authentication of users) and for which period of time – as it should be. With privacy, data security and digital sovereignty high on the agenda of both organisations and individuals, the FileSender open source web application provides a secure, trustworthy and transparent way for sharing large files.

There are several technologies used for FileSender user interface translations:

  • POEditor translation management platform, where the translators can easily enter and update their translations;
  • GitHub platform for integrating translations into the source code;
  • Home-grown translation engine to actually translate the user interface (UI), allowing for flexible user language detection and customisation. The specific pieces of data are offered to the translation string so they can be placed in a natural way.

These three tools help to separate the work of software developers and translators. End-users can choose the language they want using a simple drop-down menu or rely on the automatic language selection of their web browser.

FileSender detects user language, building the list of user languages by order of importance from various sources. Then translations are loaded depending on the user language order, all more-preferred ones overriding less-preferred ones. When a translation is requested (UI display, email sending) the translated version is taken from the dictionary. More details about translation logic can be found in the FileSender translation documentation.

Step-by-step instructions to create a new translation for FileSender

1) Check if the language already exists, either in a FileSender installation, GitHub, or POEditor.

2a) If it exists – great! Join the POEditor team using the public link to the FileSender 2.0 project and start translating. Your changes will be reviewed and when accepted, added to the next release.

2b) If the language does not exist – contact the developers by either opening a new issue on GitHub or sending a message to the filesender-dev mailing list to get the language added. Then edit in POEditor.

3) Wait for a release.

The POEditor platform has a user-friendly web interface to simplify the translation of software (like mobile and desktop apps, websites, and games) and to manage the localisation files. You can also export the strings to work on translation off-line, in a spreadsheet if necessary, however, the final translations for FileSender need to be entered into POEditor.

Currently, in the FileSender there are around 800 strings to be translated, this varies per release. What you really need for a functioning UI is about 50 translations. All translations you did not enter, will fall back to the English default. You may consider that 800 translations are a lot, and you may not know where to start. To solve this issue, we have marked in POEditor the most important FileSender translations with ‘start-here’ tag – so you can filter them and work most effectively.

As an open source project, we encourage FileSender user interface translations to be publicly available, to allow their use by other organisations (not necessarily restricted to the R&E community). Through mere availability for the community your translation can improve the user experience of all FileSender users while allowing others can contribute to the continued maintenance of your translation. Join the FileSender translation effort – we would love to see your contribution!

If you would like to contribute to the FileSender project as a translation coordinator, please let us know by sending an email directly to the FileSender Board. It would be helpful if someone could work on translation policies with the community, trigger an update process when language labels are added or changed, make sure core languages are up-to-date, etc. We can consider a core set of translations to be ‘supported by the project’ in the same way as there’s code we can consider to be supported by the project.

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