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Get the most out of developer comments

Posted by Edouard on September 21, 2011

Developer comments are instructions or help for translators left by developers in a locale file.

They are very different from regular comments. Comments are meant to be used for discussion, whereas developer comments as meant to be used for leaving a brief instruction to a translator.

When importing most language files, WebTranslateIt automatically extracts these developer comments and displays them in the translation interface, so they are visible to translators.

You can author or edit a developer comment from the web interface. Click on the “option” button, then “Details” (keyboard shortcut: press the d key after selecting a string).

A modal window appears and lets you type a comment. The length of a developer comment is limited to 140 characters to force you to keep your message short: these instructions should convey the idea quickly to translators.

Advanced features

Did you know you can upload and attach screenshots to developer comments to illustrate your comment? Use it to upload a screenshot of your app to show where a string is located, for instance.

Perhaps the killer feature is that developer comments are formatted using Markdown. The Markdown syntax allows you can create links, display images… the possibilities are almost limitless.

In this example, I used the markdown syntax to display an image inline.

Now, here’s real-life example: one of our users pushed the usefulness of this feature even further. They use WebTranslateIt to translate a list of products for an online shop pulled from their database. They wanted to convey more context to translators: how different is this shoe look compared to this other shoe?

They had the idea of programmatically format their developer comments so a small thumbnail representing their product is displayed on the translation interface for each string. Is there a better way to give context to a translator than that?