I have been having clandestine dates
with IRMA. She's new around the Linspire office. My wife doesn't know
about IRMA yet, but I don't think she'll mind because IRMA isn't a
person - it's a special project that Linspirians have built to help
bring Linspire to more countries around the world.
challenge we're facing: There are more than 6,000 languages in the
world, yet Linspire is available in only 4 (English, Japanese,
Italian, and Spanish). So, the majority of the globe can't use
Linspire in their native tongue. Unfortunately, it costs about
$250,000 to create a complete translation into another language if
you hire a translation firm. It's also a time-consuming and
complicated process because there are more than 400 files, that
reside throughout the entire operating system that have to be
touched. It's a large and complex undertaking.
(International Resource Management Application) is a
system we built that makes the translation process a
point-and-click experience for anyone who speaks English and another
and who wants to help. Instead of an
expensive translation firm, we are turning to our Insiders to
help bring Linspire to a wider audience. Insiders are our special
community of users who get access to early versions of our software. They have chats and discussions with our company to help
shape our product and strategy with their input, and they also test our
products to maximize quality.
Our goal is to get Linspire
into the 50 live languages that Voyager spacecrafts are carrying. In
1977, Voyager 1 and 2 were launched in an attempt to reach another
planetary system, estimated to take 40,000 years. Inside
the capsules are images, sounds, music, and greetings in 55 languages.
You can listen to those greetings here. (Some are dead languages, which is why our goal doesn't include every
language.) For the Voyager task, the native speaker just spoke any
greeting they wished (there was no script).
are a bit more involved than simply speaking a small phrase, because
hundreds of files have to be translated. These are the files that
contain all the words and phrases that a user sees when they use
Linspire. These could be on one-word menu names, or phrases that are
error codes, or even sentences that a user might see during the
initial installation process. As of this writing, 70 Insiders have
volunteered to join a translation team to help with this
I hope some of you will consider becoming Insiders
and joining a translation team. I should stress that there's
absolutely no technical knowledge required and you won't have to do
any programming. Many non-programmers have asked me how they can
contribute to Linux in a meaningful way, and joining a translation
team is a fantastic way to grow Linux that doesn't involve
programming. IRMA makes the whole process as easy as viewing a web
page, entering in translation for words or phrases, and then clicking
the "Save" button. You can even track on an ongoing basis
what percentage of a translation is completed. And as an Insider, you will get access to early
versions of Linspire software (including the in-progress translation
efforts), as well as to other services, forums, chats, and
special offers that only Insiders receive.
In the first half of 2005, we hope that we are able to reach
many more users in their native language. With the help of IRMA and
some dedicated Insiders, I believe we can do it. I'll try to keep you
updated periodically on our progress.
-- MichaelThe Michael's Minute Meter
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