IRMA to Deliver Complete Translations of Linux in 78 Languages by 2006

Posted by dave on Jan 27, 2005 9:49 AM EST
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Web-Based Service Allows Volunteers to Assist in Translations

SAN DIEGO, January 27, 2005 – Linspire, Inc. today announced the release of a new Web-based translating application that will allow volunteers to easily translate leading Linux applications into nearly 80 different languages. Dubbed the International Resource Management Application, or IRMA, the project calls on users who speak English and another language to volunteer to translate parts of the operating system. Currently, 24 languages are supported through the system, with 54 additional languages to be added over the next few weeks. To view languages currently supported by IRMA or to sign up as a volunteer translator, visit [HYPERLINK@www.irmateam.com.]

Using a user-friendly online interface that automatically selects various sections of text or code in need of translation, volunteers sign up for one or more of IRMA's supported languages. Once registered, translators can simply log in from any computer connected to the Internet then begin translating small, auto-selected strings of code. When complete, the translations will be integrated into language-specific versions of popular Linux applications, like KDE, Mozilla, OpenOffice.org, Nvu, and Lsongs, and made available to a wide audience around the world.

“Instead of using expensive translation firms, we're turning to Linux supporters to help make Linux available to new segments of the population,” said Michael Robertson, CEO of Linspire, Inc. “Soon, a Linux-based operating system will be available to any user, regardless of their native language, giving people a level of comfort and personalization with Linux that they may not have had before.”

More than 200 translation volunteers have already signed up, representing 35 languages. Linspire is currently seeking more volunteer translators in all languages. Those fluent in English and another language who are interested in joining a translation team should visit [HYPERLINK@www.irmateam.com.]

Added together, the group of major Linux components contains approximately 168,000 words. Besides cost, challenges such as consistency and encoding make such a large translation project difficult to facilitate. To have an accurate translation, text files must be encoded so that all characters in every language are displayed correctly. In typical translation efforts, much information is lost between moving these files from one machine to another, opening them in different text editors, and changing character sets. IRMA, on the other hand, was created to surmount these difficulties and make it much easier for numerous volunteers in different parts of the world to coordinate their translation efforts.

Once a user registers to translate, they are directed to an easy-to-use interface that presents them with pages that have strings of text in need of translation. Rather than translate large swaths of text at a time, users choose which Linux application code strings they'd like to translate using an easy interface of drop-down menus and simple searches. If similar words or phrases have already been translated, wording suggestions appear and can be selected. Volunteers can choose to translate as much or as little code as they like.

All translation is done through a Web interface, so users do not need to install any custom translation software - only a Web browser is needed. Users can also access the translation pages whenever and wherever they like, no matter what operating system they run, then save their work to submit it back into the system. Through IRMA's online interface, lead translators, called “managers,” have the ability to change translations, verify words, and generate reports on translator's activity levels and consistency rates.

There are many enhancements scheduled to the IRMA project over the next few months. Since translations do not come from professional translating sources, checks will be put in place to control the quality of the translation. When there are more than 25 volunteers translating in a particular language, translators will work on a double-blind system, where two people translate the same text and have their translations checked against the other through the system. When translations match, they will be used. If they do not match, a lead translator will reconcile the translations to make sure the correct one is used. Those languages that do not have enough translators for a double-blind check will be reviewed by language managers, who will edit the translation for consistency and accuracy.

To learn more about the IRMA project, please visit [HYPERLINK@www.irmateam.com.]

For more information about Linspire, contact:

Heather MacKenzie Linspire, Inc. 858-587-6700, ext. 263 858-587-8095 Fax [e-mail:pr@linspireinc.com]

About Linspire, Inc.

Linspire (www.linspire.com) is an affordable Linux-based operating system designed specifically for desktop and laptop computers in homes, schools and businesses. Linspire uses innovative CNR technology that allows the installation, updating and management of more than 1,900 software programs with just one click from Linspire's CNR Warehouse (www.linspire.com/warehouse). The Linspire operating system is also offered in Spanish (www.linspire.com/espanol), Italian (www.linspire.com/italiano) and Japanese (www.linspire.com/livedoor).

Linspire, IRMA, CNR, and CNR Warehouse are trademarks of Linspire, Inc., a Delaware Corporation. Other marks used herein may be the property of their respective owners.

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