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Localize countries, languages and more

Posted by Edouard on 9 mars 2010

A few months ago I introduced my week-end project: the language and territory database which was exposing the data used by Web Translate It to build its locales and handle plural forms.

It contains information about:

  • In which territories a language is spoken
  • Which languages are spoken on a given territory
  • And other information about the language, such as the plural rules form.

Now you know what looks really bad on a localised software? This:

This is actually a common problem software developers have when localising software exposing this kind of data. Should it be a billing address, the user’s current location or stats by countries countries, developers need to localise it.

Maybe I haven’t looked hard enough (in which case, please point me out a database) but I haven’t found any open-source database of localised countries and languages, so this work is repeated over and over. There are about 250 territories and 500 languages to localise into 500 languages, so that’s a lot of work.

I actually need this localised data myself, and Web Translate It is a translation tool after all, so I thought I should make this data translatable and available to the public. Once for all.

So go and help me translate these databases! If you don’t have a user account, you can sign up for free.

Wait, what will you do with this data?

When I will have enough data (at least the territories translated into 10 languages) I will release monthly a SQL data dump on Github, under the MIT license, so developers can use it directly in their apps.

What else could need translation?

All the major cities in the world! “London” is “Londres” in French, and “Brussels” is “Bruxelles”. Wouldn’t that be cool if we had a database of localised cities?

So I also started building a City database you can already help translate, too, although it is still in a early stage.

All of this geographical data (territories, cities) come with geolocation (longitude and latitude), amount of population, and some other extra information, so you can build cool stuff on top of it.

Come and help if you have a little bit of time (and especially if you need this data!)