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WebTranslateIt.com is a web-based translation tool to translate documents and software.

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Recent posts

Possible scheduled downtime next Saturday from 12AM-1PM GMT

Posted by Edouard on October 13, 2009

Web Translate It currently use a very basic disk cache to display faster a lot of different things. Disk cache is simple to implement, however it is not very efficient as it needs to access the hard disk to invalidate the cache.

Under high server load it even causes some malfunctions as it sometimes become slower to invalidate the cache than displaying a page.

On Saturday afternoon I will migrate the cache system to Memcache which will solve these problems and probably speed things a little bit up. I shouldn’t take the site down, but it is probably wise not to plan to do any important work on Web Translate It from noon to 1PM GMT.

New Feature: string sorting

Posted by Edouard on October 5, 2009

I released a new feature on Web Translate It today. You can now create custom filters and sort strings using these filters.

The user interface is slightly different than draft I made the other day, because it wasn’t working as soon as there are a lot of filters.

Let’s see how it works

Here we look at all the strings in the project.

Now, if I want, I can have a look at the new strings I added 1 week ago. As you can see, the statistics change as well.

Now I want to sort the strings I added a month ago, which are on this template edit_profile.tpl. Let’s create a custom filter that match the template I want in my project.

And we can now select “1 month ago” and “edit_profile.tpl”.

This is very flexible. You can also filter by file name and key name. I hope you will find this feature useful.

September Status Update

Posted by Edouard on October 2, 2009

This month I have been releasing only very few new features. I have also been working on the website’s performance.

A few new features


“Search” seems to be such a little feature. It’s actually used a lot, needs to search everything and fast. It has been quite complex to implement.

Given the amount of string entries we are dealing with (we currently have more than 30,000 strings in database without having officially launched), and because we want a full-text search, it becomes quickly inefficient to directly query our database.

The solution for this problem is a search engine. In the background, an indexer look at the database for changes in the strings and well, index these changes. On the front-end, a search server check the index and respond quickly to your queries.

I chose Sphinx because it is fast, lightweight and under active development. It also has awesome plugins for Ruby on Rails, I chose Thinking Sphinx, which has an amazing documentation.

Save all strings in this page and developer comments

Another small improvement is the ability to save all the strings in the page. This has been requested by our beta testers. Furthermore, Web Translate It can now display developer comments. Developers can put there explanations or links to example pages.

Help section

I have also been working on the help section. It actually is a wiki, users will be able to write there tips and tricks.

Better importers

I have been rewriting the Yaml importer and exporter from scratch. The version I had was not capable to handle Rails’s plural forms. Also, more validations are now done before actually triggering the importers, therefore more availability and less failures.

Lastly, since today we also support PHP .ini and Java .properties files.

Performance improvements

API performance improvements

This was also technically thrilling: The API now supports Conditional GET Requests.

If you provide your request with a context (a HTTP header that include the date of last modification of your file), the new API will respond with a sensible HTTP status code.

If there has been changes since your last call, it will respond with the code 200 OK along with your translations. If there aren’t any changes, it will respond with a mere 304 Not Modified without your translations.

Needless to say, respond something empty is blazing fast.

Website performance improvements

To accommodate this feature, I also have been optimising Apache, which now supports Gzip compression, page caching and E-tags. The YSlow plugin for Firefox and Yahoo’s Best Practices for Speeding Up Your Web Site have been inestimable resources for this work. Web Translate It really feels much faster now.

Finally, I upgraded Ruby, the language that powers Web Translate It to a slightly newer version. Because traffic is still quite low, it is hard to notice any improvements on speed, but I noticed a huge drop in memory consumption.

That’s it

That’s it for this month. This is probably the last time I write a monthly status update. I release a new version of Web Translate It weekly, so it is hard for me to compile all my work in a post, and it makes rather long posts. I’d rather post weekly updates or “feature by feature” updates for large features.

Finally, as usual: Web Translate It is currently open for beta testers, so if you want to test Web Translate It for free, send me an email at edouard@atelierconvivialite.com.

New release

Posted by Edouard on October 2, 2009

I just released a new version of Web Translate It. Unfortunately the string filtering feature didn’t make it and will be pushed another week further. It requires some important work to integrate well with the statistics system. Besides, a few other important features required all my attention.

Here’s what’s new:

  • Ability to upload multiple language files in a zip file. This is useful for large projects with many language files.
  • File Manager: this is a big update. It is now much easier to use and allows you to do more with your files.
  • PHP .ini files support
  • More robust language file importer/exporter, with better error handling.
  • A few of small improvements in the translation interface
  • Fixed a bug with the search engine. It wasn’t indexing your new strings sometimes.

Calling out all beta testers

Posted by Edouard on September 21, 2009

Web Translate It has reached the point we call the “minimum viable product”. Do you need a translation management system for you project? Join and test it.

Web Translate It is not ready for prime time yet but it already works really well. Do you have a project to translate? Are you interested by trying it before everyone else? Please contact me to get a beta tester account.

What will you get?

You will gain access to a web-based translation system that makes it easy for human translators to collaborate. During the beta time, using it will be free. After the launch date you will have to choose if you want to continue to use it and pay, or not use it. Web Translate It will remain free for Open Source project.

Web Translate It can help you to translate 3 things:

  • Dynamic websites
  • Software
  • iPhone applications

It also solves a few problems in the translation process:

Avoid unnecessary file logistics

Web Translate It integrate an easy to use and efficient translation interface. The whole translation team can work on your translations directly in a web browser. The translators can ask questions to the developer through a commenting system. The developer can see when his translation work is finished in the Project Statistics, and download all the language files at once in a zip file.

Test the translations

Web Translate It has a very simple API. If you work on translating a website, you are invited to set up a staging site for the translators to test their translations. You could make your staging site fetch and display the latest translations for every page load. Translating a website and testing your translations is as simple as saving your translations and checking the result on the staging website. If you are a software developer, you could develop a system that regularly builds your application against the latest translations.


Web Translate It keep an history of everything that happened on a string: who translated it, who proofread that and when. You can also revert the string to a previous version. This feature is crucial for an efficient translation workflow.

Don’t reinvent the wheel

Developers, developing yet another hasty web-based translation software is a loss of time. Developing good software takes time. Translators don’t like to work on slow or buggy tools. Besides, our API afford a tight integration to your system, as if Web Translate It was hosted on your system.

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