Imagine a world in which every single human being can easily select the language of the website that they are reading.
The Universal Language Selector is already used on translatewiki.net and on the new Wikidata project, two massively multilingual communities of software translators and data curators, who are testing this feature in an actual production environment, and reporting many bugs. After coming back from the Bangalore Developer Camp, the team set out to fix the last major bugs in the ULS, and most notably:
- The “Apply” button is now active only if the user changed settings.
- User settings can now be properly saved.
- The web fonts are now applied to all the elements of the ULS window.
- The selected language is immediately previewed in the ULS window.
- Clicking outside the ULS window now closes it, as it usually happens in web applications.
- Pau Giner fixed visual design issues for input method menu and settings.
Currently, the Universal Language Selector supports 68 keyboard layouts and 44 web fonts, and the number is growing. New fonts and keyboards are added according to the needs of the readers and the editors’ communities around the world.
In other news:
- We held Language Engineering office hours on November 21.
- Web fonts support was deployed to the Persian Wikipedia, but unfortunately reverted after the users found several issues with font rendering. The team hopes to fix the problems and deploy web fonts again, for the benefit of all the users who do not have good fonts installed on their computers and devices.
- Niklas Laxström created the first test release of the MediaWiki Language Extension Bundle, an easy-to-install package of stable versions of several MediaWiki extensions that improve its multilingual support. It keeps your MediaWiki site’s interface translations up-to-date and includes “language skills” boxes, rich locale data, easy translation of content pages and site interface, and the aforementioned UniversalLanguageSelector, which helps users select the language.
I created a keyboard mapping for easy typing in the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA), based on the SIL IPA layout. The IPA is very commonly used as a pronunciation guide in Wikipedia and Wiktionary, and the deployment of the Universal Language Selector will make typing in IPA easier. Other IPA layouts may be easily added, for example X-SAMPA. You are very welcome to try this layout in translatewiki.net: click any text field, and select the English language and the SIL IPA layout in the keyboard layout pop-up.
The team’s next sprint marks the beginning of a new release, during which we’ll start implementing a major overhaul of the user interface of translatewiki.net.
Amir E. Aharoni, Software Engineer (Internationalization)
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