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Virtaal simplifies software translation

By   |  October 22, 2008

South African localisation experts have released version 0.2 of a brand new translation tool called Virtaal.

Translate’s Friedel Wolff says that “Virtaal is a graphical translation program with a simple layout … built on the powerful API of the Translate Toolkit”.

Dwayne Bailey, founder of, says that Virtaal is intended to be easy enough for a beginner translator to use, yet feature rich.

Virtaal is also designed to speed up the process of translation with features such as auto-completion, auto-correction of common mistakes and spell checking built in.

Wolff says that Virtaal includes support for a wide range o localisation formats including Gettext .po and .mo, XLIFF, TMX, TBX, WordFast TM, Qt .ts and .qph.

Syntax highlighting and spell checking for both the original and the translated text make it significantly easier for translators to eliminate errors.

Virtaal – the name is a play on the Afrikaans words “for language” and the word for “translation” – can be downloaded as both a Windows .exe file or in RPM or SRC format. The software is completely free and open source software.

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4 Responses to “Virtaal simplifies software translation”

  1. Vadim P.
    October 22nd, 2008 @ 11:44 am

    Hm. I’ll stick to Launchpad’s Rosetta. The fact your translated work is shared across other projects is simply wonderful and really, really useful.

    And yes, I am aware that I can’t tinker with Launchpad’s code – but I wouldn’t do that with a buggy open-source program either.

  2. F Wolff
    October 22nd, 2008 @ 12:44 pm

    @Vadim P:
    I’m happy for you if Rosetta works for you. For most of us, translating online has limitations, and exporting a PO file from Rosetta – well, not very cool.

    About Rosetta: The fact your translated work is NOT shared across other distributions is simply awful and really, really sad. In the next releases of Virtaal it should support the translator with reuse options.

    The FOSS localisation world has been quite disappointed with Rosetta and the quality issues it caused. Lying about going to open-source it “soon” for so many years is not helping with the image either.

  3. Dwayne Bailey
    October 22nd, 2008 @ 12:47 pm

    @Vadim P.: VIrtaal is a desktop translation program, so I’m not quite sure why you bring up Rosetta in this context.

    I think what you mean to say about Rosetta code is that it is proprietary code. Whether you choose to tinker with it is pretty much irrelevant, its simply not Free Software and you have no choice.

  4. Vadim P.
    October 22nd, 2008 @ 3:53 pm

    I bring it up because both are translation tools, ans between Rosetta and Virtaal, Rosetta is superior. So I thought I’d comment on it :)

    I’m not sure what is your “no choice” regard. I actually have an equal choice to use Rosetta or Virtaal… since I don’t tinker with the code, the choice of being able to tinker with it matters to me zero.

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