Using Google Docs For Software Localization

Google provides some truly amazing automatic translation tools. And now translation is included in Google Docs. This turns out to be a powerful tool for software localization.

My current and probably long-term favorite development environment is Grails. Grails has great localization support build into it. An important piece of that is the messages.properties file, where you store all of your values that you want to be localized.

Actually, there can be lots of properties files. Grails ships with:

  • messages_de.properties
  • messages_es.properties
  • messages_fr.properties
  • messages_it.properties
  • messages_ja.properties
  • messages_nl.properties
  • messages_pt_BR.properties
  • messages_ru.properties
  • messages_th.properties
  • messages_zh_CN.properties

For example, messages_fr.properties is for French.

All the base files have translations of commonly used words. As you add more functionality to your application, you of course need more labels and buttons, etc. So you add them to your messages.properties file. Then all you have to do is translate your file into all these and other languages. The good news is that you can use Google Docs to get the job done. Or at least it can give you a head start on the translation process.

Just load your properties file into Google Docs and select Tools|Translate.

translate

translate

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