Accueil / Blog / Métier / 2014 / The state of in 2014

The state of in 2014

Par Sébastien Corbin publié 30/01/2014
A summary about the current situation of the Drupal localization project.

Why this blog post?

You should know that recently switched to Drupal 7 with huge wins and some fails. One of these fails was that since this upgrade, no new releases appeared on and multiple related issues like:

I wanted to highlight this not-so-known yet very important project that is

What is localize?

If you don't know, you're probably from an english-speaking country (and I would like you to focus on the section Why is localize so important). Localize.d.o centralizes all translations of Drupal and its modules from 109 languages. We are talking about localization (l10n) which is interface translation, but you probably already know internationalization (i18n) which is about content translation.

How does it work?

  1. When a developer releases a new version of a module, a tar.gz file is automatically generated on
  2. Localize then watch for these new releases and pulls these tar.gz files regularly
  3. It decompresses these files, and run them through the Drupal translation extractor to generate a .po template file with sources string
  4. With the translation interface, localize users put a translation in front of each source string
  5. Periodically, localize generates the complete .po files with source strings and associated translated strings
  6. These .po files are then available to download either manually or automatically (using l10n_update module)

Why was it broken?

Before october, localize was using a direct access to database to fetch new releases. After the upgrade, this access was revoked and while we (localize maintainers) warned about this and asked for a REST API to get releases, a temporary solution was given only 3 days before the upgrade (thanks to drumm).

So for now, releases are fetched using a tsv file generated by an unique query on Unfortunately, we are only two technical maintainers who know the ins-and-outs of this project, although it's pretty simple when looking at the large picture (see previous section), and it appears that during 3 months, we both had too little time to work on that. I would like to thank my company Makina Corpus for dedicating this time to help repair that.

Who am I?

I'm just a developer, I started on Drupal as a site-builder, I haven't been developing with Drupal for a long time (only 4 years), and I've been helping localization for 3 years. I was so amazed (and I still am) of the rare developers who actually care about localization and interface translations, that I offered to help Gabór (the main Drupal l10n maintainer). He kindly accepted and I'm now a admin and a co-maintainer of l10n_server and l10n_client. The thing is, you don't need to be a Drupal ninja to help this project.

Why is localize important?

Drupal is primarily an English CMF, but when I see on the homepage that more than 1 million people speaking 181 languages are using it, I kind of wonder how there are only about 5K contributors on localize. To grow, Drupal must embrace non-english-speaking countries... Just think it all started in Belgium!

This is even more true now that american conferences overcame european ones, we must not forget localization if we want to grow globally. Drupal 8 took a nice step forward by integrating l10n_update (the module that automatically download translations) in core, but now more than ever we need to focus on our tool to manage these translations.

Let's take a look at the current statistics:

  • 109 translation groups
  • 5190 contributors
  • 6361019 files scanned
  • 495324 strings to translate
  • 1086213 translations recorded
  • 307848 suggestions awaiting approval A million translations recorded, a million!

It's a fact, localize works, but it could be much more welcoming and UX-friendly, especially for validators (300K awaiting suggestions).

How can you help? What is left to do ?

We don't need Drupal ninjas, only your opinions, your ideas, your patches, and your help testing the Drupal 7 version of localize in the works.

Examples of current tasks left:

So whether you are a developer or not, you can always help us, even if you don't speak any other language than english! And as a contributor, all I can say is that it's both very rewarding and challenging working with this amount of data.

This may seem like a rant, but Makina Corpus is full of friendly developers looking for cool clients offering challenging work :)

Related links:

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