Roan is a software engineer at the Wikimedia Foundation. Over the past 10 years, Roan has worked on a wide variety of wiki-related things, from JS/CSS asset delivery on Wikipedia to an in-browser WYSIWYG-like editor for wiki pages, and he’s learned a few things on the way about building software for a global audience.
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Making open source software translatable is easy, right? You just take out all the strings, put them in a translation file in your git repository, and start accepting pull requests. Simple! Well, not so fast. There’s a lot more to this than meets the eye, and if you take a quick and dirty approach you’ll end up with upset translators, complaints from users, and mysteries like “what is ١٢٬٣٤٥٬٦٧٨ and why does my code want to parse that as a number?”. Thankfully, there are open source resources and libraries that can take care of these things for you.