ODF translation to be simplified by South African IT company


South African localisation experts, Translate.org.za, have launched a new project to simplify ODF document translation. The project aims to develop software that will convert documents in the ISO-approved OpenDocument format (ODF) into XLIFF, a standard format used by translators. The process will convert just the text of ODF documents into the XLIFF format for translation and then convert translated text back into the OpenDocument format.

Dwayne Bailey, managing director of Translate.org.za, says that “this software will allow us to support the South African government’s drive to open standards, and to help translators, not only in South Africa but across the globe, to work more quickly and with higher accuracy.”

The OpenDocument format is an ISO standard for information exchange of office documents. It has been approved as by the SABS, South Africa’s standards bureau, and was adopted by the South African government at the end of October last year.

With the conversion of the ODF document into the XLIFF format, a human translator will be able to work more effectively. The translator will be able to perform the work in any specialised translation tool that reads XLIFF and will not be limited by the program in which the original document was created. This leads to increased translation quality and speed, which benefits both the translator and the customer, says Bailey.

The project is being funded by a grant from the NLnet Foundation, a Netherlands-based donor organisation focused on open standards and open source software. Translate.org.za will collaborate with Itaapy - a French based organisation focused on content management solutions. The final software will be released as open source software, says Bailey.