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KDE in Amharic?

I mentioned recently a KDE Amharic (or Ge’ez) translation. Unfortunately, such a thing does not yet exist. My brother is moving to Addis Ababa later this year, though, so I’ll stop by at some point. That is the total extent of my own intentions for Amharic KDE (I do think it is a beautiful script and attended an interesting talk last year about text messaging in Amharic). However, starting a translation effort is relatively simple; the Hausa team (re)started this year. Bear in mind, though, that starting is easy, finishing all 148809 strings is not so.

First off, the statistics for languages currently being translated are on the KDE l10n pages. There’s a “participate” link on that page as well as a translation HOWTO to get you started. Very roughly:

  • Make sure you can enter the characters you need in a text editor. There’s not much point in starting if you can’t enter a እ from the keyboard.
  • Get the very first file to translatie, which is kdelibs4.pot and take a look at the kind of strings in there. I remember with Hausa there were long discussions about some of the terms — especially because there’s often not all that much context available and it can be useful to have a KDE4 installation running and to know where the strings are coming from or being used.
  • Start filling in the msgstr parts. You can use any text editor that supports UTF-8 entry. I used kate for a while. However, there are specialized applications that support translation workflows much better. KBabel in KDE3, Lokalize in KDE4. There’s also po-edit and others outside the KDE world.
  • Translate a few dozen strings in that file. Read the translation howto. Create a suitable directory structure for your language, copy the translated file in there, then .. gosh, I’d have to look up what to do next. I remember that the first real feeling of accomplishment in Kano with the Hausa team was when we’d (I say ‘we’ here very loosely: Mustapha, Ibrahim, Nasiru and the other guys did the translating and I did the typing) translated the KDE About box and some other bits and could start up LANG=ha konsole and read ‘Cire’ in the File menu. There was some compilation and futzing about involved there, which I can reconstruct from my laptop if it still boots.
  • Apply for a KDE svn account, inform the translation team coordinators, and start committing strings. And then send me screenshots 🙂

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