[development] The bigger picture for content translation in Drupal 6

Gabor Hojtsy gabor at hojtsy.hu
Sun Apr 22 08:59:32 UTC 2007

Hi all,

A short IRC conversation with kkaefer and some excessively long bathing 
(that is where I think through these complex issues, our water company 
being so grateful to Drupal for those excessive water bills :) resulted 
in some good ideas about dynamic string (menu items, taxonomy terms, 
user profile labels, etc) translation. It is basically a rehashing of 
the issues we are poking around for a few months now in the i18n working 
group, but hopefully some durable ideas are around here.


We need every piece of criticism and comments there to get this done as
soon as possible. Drupal 6 code freeze is approaching, and I hope we can 
ship a node translation engine and a generic dynamic translation engine 
for Drupal 6 in time, if we keep going without loosing pace.

Why are nodes and the "other stuff" are different? By default, people 
would like to have their different language version nodes count visits 
uniquely, have revisions separately, support different permissions, have 
different authors, have different workflows, and so on. But by default, 
many people would not like to have taxonomy trees, menu trees, content 
types, user profile field labels, etc set up per language. That could 
result in inconsistent content types, user profiles and such, and is 
very cumbersome to set up. People turning to localizer from i18n module 
all tell these stories (although i18n provides optional dynamic string 
translation based solutions too, but they are optional, and somewhat 

Note that we are not wearing eye-shades, so we keep in mind that there 
are some use cases, where node translation should not be implemented 
with separate nodes (eg. simple polls), and there are valid use cases, 
when different menu or taxonomy term trees are required for sites. So 
although Drupal core is planned to provide some default, both 
translation methods will be replaceable by contrib modules, in case 
someone would like to have a more customized solution.

Both node translation and dynamic string translation are in the pipe, 
and we need your opinion about these. Node languages (with translations 
coming next) are already in the patch queue:


Now I have a dynamic string translation writeup above, where we would 
really welcome your criticism.

Come and help make Drupal 6 *the* multilanguage release! We need more 
eyes and more opinions!


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