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Documentation | TranslationTool

User guide for the TranslationTool

Please translate this guide in your language if it's not available yet.



Those who ever tried to translate texts for Indymedia know the problem: you work hard for several hours, maybe other important things get postponed, and when you want to post your translation, you realize, that it was already posted by another person!

Since this is extremely frustrating and a waste of valuable time of activists, there are several translation-mailinglists for the coordination of translation work and to avoid doubletranslations. There is an international mailinglist translation_at_lists.indymedia.org for the management and development of translation systems and there are several language-specific mailinglists like www-de_at_lists.indymedia.org for the translation of text to german.

The TranslationTool was designed for the same purpose: collaboration in and coordination of translation work. It's an open posting system free for every indymedia translator worldwide.

People just have to know about the 5 different statuses a text can have:

1. status: To Do
2. status: I'll Do it
3. status: Part
4. status: For revision
5. status: Done

If someone wants a text to be translated, it should be posted with the status "To Do". The translator can select this text and before s/he starts, s/he makes a comment to it, which says something like "I will do it" and switches the status of the request to "I'll do it" using the "edit" link on the top right of the page, so no one else will waste time in translating the text a second time.

Finally the translation will be posted (again as a comment to the original text) and the status will change to "For revision" or "Done". Thats all.

If a translator can't translate the whole proposed text, s/he can post a part of the translation with the status [Part]. Another translator can then finish the translation.

The startpage

You'll find the TranslationTool at the URL http://translations.indymedia.org .

The startpage is divided into three cloumns: the left, the center and the right column. We will start explaining them in this order.

The left column


In the left column we have the logo, a pull-down-menue to select the language of the user interface, a list of language-links, a search interface, a short user guide, a few upcoming events and the list of indymedia centers which you will find on every indymedia-startpage.

When the startpage is loaded, the server will detect the browser language setting and tries to give you a user interface in the corresponding language. The default is English. The pull-down-menue below the logo gives you an additional possibility to switch to another language for the user interface. Help texts and navigational elements like links, buttons and labels will appear in the language you select here.

The language links help you to sort the center-column. If you click on "en", the language code for "english", all articles with "en" somewhere in the topic / language field will appear. (Note, that the language of the user interface will not change! The language of the user interface depends only on your browser language settings and the selction of the pull-down-menue below the logo)

For the guide to the search interface see below.

The center column

The center column is the most important one of the TranslationTool. Here you can post new articles, destined for translations (how this is done is explained in detail below). You can sort this column by clicking on the icons on the top.


  • The "To Do" - icon will show you all articles that still wait for someone to translate them.
  • The "I'll Do It" - icon will show you all articles that are in the process of being translated.
  • The "Part" - icon will show you all articles that are only partly translated.
  • The "For Revision" - icon will show you all articles that have been roughly translated, but where someone (ideally a native speaker) should look at a second time.
  • The "Done" - icon will show you all articles where the translations are finished.

The sorting functions and the icons help you to see quickly whether the article, you want to translate, is already in the translation process or not.

The icons tell you the phase of the translation process each article with a single target language is in. But what about an article that was requested for multiple target languages? The status of an article will be switched to "Done" only after all requested target languages have been done. So you need additional information on each traget language.

This information is available through the topic-language field of each article. An "[de: todo]" - entry means for example: this article should be translated to German. A "[fr: rev]" - entry means: this article needs revision of translation to French.

Below the icons you see several language links: de, en, es, fr, it and pt. The "de"-link below to "To do" - icon, for example, searches for all articles that have the string '[de: todo] in the topic-language field. This means: Search for all articles that requested German as target language and so far have not been taken by anybody. Or the "fr"-link below the "For revision"- icon search for all articles that have been translated to French, but are waiting for a revision.

(See Post Requests for Multiple target languages for information on how to post a translation request for multiple languages)

The right column


The right column has a news feed on the top, followed by rss/rdf-syndication links, and an open posting newswire - not for translations but for translation work specific technical, organisational, etc. topics. The preferred language here is english.

Also on the right side (upper right corner) you see a news feed, included with rss/rdf-syndication from the open posting news wire of http://www.indymedia.org .


The same technique used for including a news feed from somewhere else can be applied by the users of the TranslationTool: The Tool produces several rss/rdf-feeds, that you can access using the urls called "All" | "To Do" | "Rev" | "Done". Whenever an article is done for example, the rss/rdf-feed called "Done" will send you a notification.

Post an article for the translation process

Looking for the link to post an article?

You can post features or news from indymedia servers of your choice, technical documentations, discussion-papers from indymedia mailinglists, ... It is also possible to post articles that so far did not appear on indymedia servers. Be sure, that the article is worth being translated!

This paragraph describes how to add a posting, what you should fill into the different fields for status, topic/language, author, email, and gives hints about the preview-button, the image upload, and the encoding (html/wiki/plain-text) syntax.

Attention: this TranslationTool doesn't need a nice presentation at all. Spare your energy concerning layout for the final posting on your indymedia center.

Propose a translation
  • First, check if your article was already translated by another person or if it's somewhere in the translation process. For this purpose use the topic and language links or the search interface in the left column, and the "To Do", "For Revision", "I'll do it" and "Done" - icons in the center column.
  • Post an article by filling out the following fields
    • The title field should contain the original title in whatever language you find it. Use "copy and paste"! This is important to identify the article later.
    • switch the status to "To Do".
    • The topic/language field can get keywords (descriptors) in English about the subject of the article, separated by commas. You can fill in a keyword about the country, the region or the town, the article is talking about and should at least indicate a language code.
      • use the international standard for language acronyms (like "de" for german, "en" for english, "es" for spanish, "fr" for french, "it" for italian and so on). For other languages, see the complete list of language codes.
    • The author field should contain your nickname.
    • Give your email-address and select "Send me an email if someone comments on this article" to get notified automatically.
    • The description field should contain the URL where you found the article and the authors name and the date of publication (again: use "copy and paste").
    • The body field is optional. Many people fill in the original fulltext.
    • The encoding pull-down menu gives you the choice to post the article as "Plain Text" (ascii format), "HTML"-markup (use HTML also for Unicode) or "Structured Text" (a wiki - syntax). Use the preview-buttom to see what the result will be like.
  • You can upload one(!) image in all formats you like. Select the Browse - button to select the image from your file-system.
  • Click on the preview - button to control the appearance of what you filled in. The system will also tell you if some fields were missing.
  • Finally, click on the Send - button to post your article. Click on the OK-button to acknowledge that the posting was successful.

The fields for the title, the author - your (nick)name -, the topic / language keywords and the description will appear in the center column of the startpage after your posting was successful. For instance, a [fr: done] keyword means that one language (here: French) of the requested direction-languages was done. The entry [en: source] tells us that the source language is english. You can also see how many comments were posted.


Having posted a "To Do" article doesn't mean at all, that the article will get translated. Translators translate whatever they like and often look for articles, they would like to publish in a different langage, by themselves.

Do a translation
  • Check if this article was already translated somewhere else! Prominent authors and shocking events will attract many translators. If you find other translations, even to other languages, post them and/or the URL as comments.
  • Post a comment to the article you want to translate with something like "I'll do it" in the title. This will reserve the article for you, so that other people will refrain from translating it aswell, hopefully smile You can add infos like the time until you think you'll have finished the translation or ask for help, etc. in the body field. Don't forget to switch the status of the request to "I'll do it" using the "edit" link on the top right of the page.

Revise a translation
    • Post a comment

After finshing a translation
    • Post it at the imc of your choice
    • Post a comment with the URL

Posting Requests for Multiple Languages

The Tool initially was designed for translation of articles from one source language to one target language. But many users posted translation requests to multiple target languages, that's why this [de: todo] , [en: done]- syntax was introduced. Many new users had difficulties with this syntax so we gave them some help, using Javascript (see table).

Using this table of radio buttons you can insert the language code syntax, depending on the phase of the translation process more easily and faster. But you don't have to use it since you can edit the topic/language-field as before.

But you don't have to use it since you can edit the topic/language-field for as before. Each column stands for one target language (eg. en for english). A selection of a radio button in a "to do" - row below 'en' inserts [en: todo] in the input field above the table; a selection in the "done"-row inserts [en: done] a selection in the Reset-line deletes the entry of a special language. You can select only one radiobutton in each language column. New entries are attached to the end of the string in the input field. The topic keywords are not touched.

More language columns can be added to this table. For the moment we added only those, that were used most on the translation tool. But please don't hesitate to use the tools for other languages! Just keep the same syntax and use the appropriate language codes.
Topic / Language

Source Language


Target Language

To do
I'll do it
For Revision

Table: Translation request from spanish to german and english, with english being done. The topic-keyword is 'Argentine'.

Using the search interface


The search capabilities are at the very core of this tool. Advanced search functions are used to sort the translations by date, topic, languages, authors or create rss/rdf-feeds. Every article gets indexed immediately after being published.

Searches can be initiated by special links (language links in the left column; "To do", "I'll do it", "Part", "For revision" and "Done"- icons above the center column) and by filling out the search form on the left column. Also the urls behind the red coloured keywords are predefined searches for terms in the topic/language field.

The matches of every search are sorted by date and diplayed in reverse order (the newest article that matches you query is shown on the top).

The search functionality corresponds directly to the metadata input: Only through good input into the different fields of the posting form you will later get the search results you need to find everything.

You can search for articles or comments depending on which radio button is selected. Article search is the default. If you select comments, and status "All", you will get the most recent comments which were published, so you can quickly see if somebody added a translation.

This search form uses different fields to search for strings: the title/author/language-topic/body - fields. The easiest way to start a query is to type a term into a search field and hit enter (alternatively you can click on the search-button).

You can use boolean algebra in your searches: If you type several terms into one search field (seperated by spaces) they are by default combined throught logic "AND". If you want to find every article containing the word India or Narmada in the title string, use "India OR Narmada" as search term of the title field.

If you want to search for all articles of a special language, use the language links above the search form or type the language code ("en", es", ...) into the topic/language field.

If you fill out two (or more) fields for the same query, all search conditions have to be true, to match an article. They are connected through boolean "AND". For example if you search all articles concerning Argentina that already have been translated, type "Argentina" (lower/upper case doesn't matter) into the field with the label "topic/language" and select "done" from the status-pull-down menu.

Multi language search Diacritical characters like "\xE3" in "S\xE3o Bernardo" or "\xED" in "Cronolog\xEDa" matter in your query: you would find a match using the term "Cronolog\xEDa" but not using the term "Cronologia" if "Cronolog\xEDa" was given in the title field during posting.

Advanced Searching

(derived from the Zope Book:)

The Search Interface supports a rich search grammar for doing more advanced searches than just looking for a word. For example you can use a google-like syntax with parentheses, AND/OR/ANDNOT, +/-, phrase search and wildcards (*,?)

Boolean expressions

Search for Boolean expressions like:

word1 AND word2

This will search for all objects that contain both "word1" and "word2". Valid Boolean operators include AND, OR, and NOT. A synonym for NOT is a leading hyphen:

word1 -word2

which would search for occurences of "word1" but would exclude documents which contain "word2". A sequence of words without operators implies AND. A search for "carpet python snakes" translates to "carpet AND python AND snakes".


Control search order with parenthetical expressions:

(word1 AND word2) OR word3)

This will return objects containing "word1" and "word2" or just objects that contain the term "word3".

Wild cards

Search for wild cards like:


which returns all words that begin with "Z", or:


which returns all words that begin with "Zop" and have one more character - just like in a Un*x shell. Note though that wild cards cannot be at the beginning of a search phrase. "?ope" is an illegal search term and will be ignored.

Phrase search

Double-quoted text implies phrase search, for example:

"carpet python" OR frogs

will search for all occurences of the phrase "carpet python" or of the word "frogs"

All of these advanced features can be mixed together. For example:

((bob AND uncle) NOT Zoo*)

will return all objects that contain the terms "bob" and "uncle" but will not include any objects that contain words that start with "Zoo" like "Zoologist", "Zoology", or "Zoo" itself.

Similarly, a search for:

snakes OR frogs -"carpet python"

will return all objects which contain the word "snakes" or "frogs" but do not contain the phrase "carpet python".

Topic revision: r38 - 31 Oct 2004, LinksRhein
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