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Have you heard about the European Resistance Archive?

Posted by Estelle on October 16, 2017

By Oliver Grimm, Technical Lead – European Resistance Archive

The European Resistance Archive (ERA) is an online video archive featuring interviews with women and men who tell their individual stories of resistance to the terror, humiliation and despair fascism cast over Europe at the beginning of the twentieth century.

Why ERA?

The idea for the ERA was born in 2005 in Reggio Emilia, northern Italy, where the local historical institute Istoreco integrated former partisans into their educational programs. The living participants met with school classes and youth groups to share their personal experiences; what happened to them in the second world war, how they encountered the rise of fascism, and their individual path into the resistance movements.

Unfortunately, the majority of former partisans have already died, and in a few years there will be no one remaining who can directly remember that time. Keeping these memories, this precious knowledge alive, making it accessible to everyone everywhere was and still is the motivation behind the European Resistance Archive.

Keeping these memories, this precious knowledge alive, making it accessible to everyone everywhere was and still is the motivation behind the European Resistance Archive.

Realization of the project

Istoreco managed to organize partners and groups in six European countries, and thus the project was accepted and funded by the European Commission in 2006. In the process of creating the ERA, young people participated actively in the realization of the project, in the form of conducting the interviews, collecting images and documents, writing down biographies, and transcribing interviews. Historians, memory workers, and a professional video-team guided the young participants in their work. Overall more than 80 people were involved.

The result is an online archive – a collection of 21 video interviews with contemporary eyewitnesses from Poland, France, Slovenia, Italy, Austria, and Germany. In addition, the archive provides an overview of each of these countries’ respective resistance movements, so as to better set the interviews in their proper historical context.

10 years later

A small internet agency in Kreuzberg (Berlin, Germany) was responsible for the technical production. At the time of its launch, in May 2007, the ERA was a state of the art project, but after almost ten years later it had become outmoded. Much of it was technically outdated and none of the video clips could be played on mobile phones or tablets.

The latter problem was a real show stopper, because mobile phones and tablets are what the majority of the target audience – pupils and young people – are using.
A complete technical revision of the ERA became inevitable and was started in mid 2017. The aim was to eliminate the technical issues, to modernize the design, and to adapt the display for different screen sizes.

Missing translations and WebTranslateIt

The ERA version 2.0 was launched in fall 2017. While the aforementioned issues have been solved, the archive has still only been fully translated into English, and the rest of the content is only partly available in other languages.
In order to get all of the content translated into all “ERA languages” a Github-based open source project was initiated, so that the effort could be crowd-sourced. This even got support from Babbel volunteers.

Unfortunately it turned out very quickly that that approach was too tech-heavy. Instead of working on the actual translations, most of the volunteers struggled with the technical terminology, the git flow and the principles of “pull requests”…

The solution best suited to this less than satisfactory situation was to switch to a professional translation tool. One of the candidates was WebTranslateIt, which Babbel uses to translate their platform and Apps. After a short evaluation period everyone involved voted for the switch.

WebTranslateIt did not hesitate to classify the ERA as open source project, which provides free access to all WTI features. As there is no proper funding for the ERA, WebTranslateIt’s support is highly appreciated.

What’s next? You!

While WebTranslateIt yielded a significant performance boost, there is still a lot of work to do, and a lot of content to be translated. Want to contribute to the ERA translation project ? Do you speak French, German, Italian, Polish, Slovenian, or English? Just go to http://www.resistance-archive.org/en/participate/ and sign up.

Oliver Grimm, Technical Lead – European Resistance Archive



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Have you heard about the JavaScript XMPP Client?

Posted by Estelle on September 18, 2017

WebTranslateIt has always had a policy of offering free subscriptions to non profit organizations so that they can translate their projects. Over the years, we’ve been joined by people giving life to some very interesting open source projects, like the JavaScript XMPP Client.

We asked Klaus Herberth, lead developer of JSXC to tell us more about it.

WTI: Can you tell us exactly what the JavaScript XMPP Client is?
K.H.: The JavaScript XMPP Client (JSXC) aims to expand every web application by a real-time communication center with end-to-end encrypted two-party chat, video calls, file transfer, group chat and a lot more. Beside some already adapted packages for Nextcloud, Ilias, Wordpress, SOGo and other open source projects, you can easily integrate JSXC with just a few lines of code into your website.

WTI: Who are the people who started it?
K.H.: I started JSXC as part of my Bachelor Thesis and now it’s developed by me, some colleagues from the Distributed Systems Laboratory at the University of Konstanz, Germany and a growing community.

Meet the JSXC core team.

WTI: What was your main motivation?
K.H.: The idea was to create a simple to use, secure and privacy-aware chat application which can be integrated into every website, so that people around the world can share their ideas and opinions without fear.

WTI: Why create a free product when it could have been commercialized?
K.H.: We love open source software and think thats the only way to go if you like to have a secure product. Nobody can trust in closed source software, because you don’t know what’s going on in that black box.

WTI: And finally, can you tell us how WebTranslateIt helped you along the way?
K.H.: It helped us to engage non-technical persons to the project, who like to contribute but need an easy to use interface with a clear work flow.

Klaus and his team have started translating their project into more than 20 languages and we are proud to help them reach to worldwide users.
If you are interested in the JavaScript XMPP Client, want to use it or would like to help develop it or translate it, don’t hesitate to reach out to Klaus at klaus@jsxc.org.

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