No fuzzy translations support in Launchpad

Launchpad Translations isn’t the right translation system for after all. At this moment, Launchpad does not support “fuzzy” entries. This is bad news, because this means that translations will disappear from Launchpad Translations each time the English texts are changed.

So what are those “fuzzy” translations? The project’s original English texts are stored in a PO template (POT) file. Whenever some English text in the POT file is changed, the corresponding translations (stored in separate PO files) are marked as “fuzzy” by gettext – the software used for creating and updating PO files. Fuzzy translations need to be revised by the translator because the original English text has changed.

The PO files for the project are automatically loaded into Launchpad Translations. Ideally, fuzzy entries that are loaded into Launchpad should be marked as “Needs review” so that the translator can update her translation. Sadly, this is not the case. Launchpad currently has no support for fuzzy translations, and as a result fuzzy entries appear as untranslated. This means that translated entries will be removed from Launchpad each time the corresponding English text is changed. As described in bug #493084, this is a conscious design decision.

Launchpad Translations is a great tool, but the lack of support for fuzzy translations is a real problem. I will start looking at alternatives that do have support for fuzzy translations.