Saturday, March 20, 2010

Tatoeba update (Mar 20th, 2010)

As mentioned in the previous update post, we are currently in a phase where we're taking care of the old and small tasks. Here's what we took care of this week.

Traditional Chinese

Chinese sentences are now displayed both in traditional AND simplified. Some contributors in Tatoeba contributed in simplified Chinese and others in traditional Chinese. Instead of asking people to contribute in both or only one form of writing, we let them do both, and we do the conversion automatically. The converted form is in grey, just like the pinyin.

Two new tools (for Chinese)

Since we have integrated traditional Chinese, we also added two new tools.

Note that these tools are based on a software called Adso. You might as well go there if you need to convert.

Pagination on Wall

The Wall was getting quite crowded so we decided to start doing something about it. There is now a paginated version of the wall, in case you don't want to be displaying the entire wall. We still need to do a bit of restructuring though. In two weeks we will have a better wall :)

Latest messages from Wall on homepage

Since the Wall is being more and more used and visited, we eventually decided to display the latest messages on the homepage. Note that for now, clicking on the link of a message will still lead you to the non-paginated version of the Wall.

Number of sentences in lists

We also decided to improve a little bit the lists, by changing the way it is presented, and by displaying the number of sentences in the list.

What next?

On February 13th we went to an event organized by an association based in Paris called Shtooka. Their goal is to compile audio of words, expressions, proverbs, and guess what... sentences! Just like Tatoeba, what they produce is FREE (and with really good quality). They redistribute their content under a Creative Commons license as well (most of their collections are under CC-BY, the rest is CC-BY-SA).
Needless to say, projects were made for each other. They need written content to create audio from, and we have it. We (the users, my team, me) have always wanted audio in Tatoeba, and they provide this.
So you can expect a beginning (and I insist, it will just be a beginning) of audio integration in a couple of weeks :)

The other thing we are going to work on is to give the possibility for users to link and unlink sentences. This is a feature that is really really lacking, but this is also a feature that is very very difficult to implement. I cannot guarantee it will be ready for April 3rd, but we will do our best so that it is.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Tatoeba update (Mar 13th, 2010)

Yes, another update. Aren't you happy? :D

Some news first...

You have to know that we are currently in a phase where we're getting rid of all the old/small tasks so that in a when summer comes we can start tackling new/bigger tasks.

We are also in the phase of setting up some working rules which involves us working on and updating Tatoeba more regularly.
For now, it was decided that we would update Tatoeba on a two-week basis, which means you can be expect for sure some changes every other week (more precisely on Saturday). Each update will be quite small, so that we avoid introducing bugs whenever we introduce new features. We are actually limiting ourselves to 6 tasks for each update.

But if we have more time or if we are very productive, we will also update Tatoeba in-between. The current update is actually an "in-between" update. It was only one week after the last update, and you will only have to wait one week before we update again. But we are updating only because we had the time to test properly what we were going to integrate.

What's in this update (besides the bug fixes)

1. Page with your comments
You can access it from your profile page. Please, take a look at your comments and delete those that are not useful. I will let you judge what is useful and what is not. But of course, be smart, don't delete a comment if someone has replied to you below or it will become confusing (unless this someone also deletes their comment).

2. Page with comments on your sentences
You can access it from your profile page as well. Please, take a look at those comments to check if you haven't missed any suggestion of correction on your sentences!

3. Clickable URL
It's not much, but now URLs in the private messages, the Wall and the What's New section are clickable.

Anyone to translate the website?

I would also like to make a call, to anyone who speaks Japanese, German or Spanish. We need people to translate Tatoeba into these languages.

We have our texts hosted on Launchpad:
It offers an interface for collaborative translation. Whenever we update Tatoeba, we will download the new translations made in Launchpad and integrate them in Tatoeba.

The most urgent would be Japanese!

What next?

I will not write about all the things that we have in mind or in our todo list because there are so many and we don't exactly know when we will deal with them. You will know about it little by little. But I can at least tell you with a decent level of certainty what is planned for the two next updates.

March 20th
- Conversion of simplifed<=>traditional Chinese
- Display on homepage of latest messages from Wall
- And some optimization (trying to make Tatoeba a bit faster)

April 3rd
- Possibility to link and unlink sentences (it's becoming quite urgent)
- Introducing audio for Shanghainese (more details on that next time)

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Tatoeba update (Mar 6th, 2010)

Ah, finally an update that will be integrating "real" changes. Here's a short description of the new stuff.

Possibility to indicate the language

Until now, when you wanted to add a sentence or a translation, you had no way to indicate in which language you were contributing. The language was auto-detected though, but it was still a bit puzzling the first time you try to add something. Most people were probably thinking "But how will they know what language... oh okay, it's auto-detected". But more importantly, we could not really consider supporting languages that are not supported by Google's language detection tool (which we are using). Users would have to indicate manually the correct language everytime, and that would be annoying.

This is a small but important feature we wanted to have in Tatoeba for a long time and it's finally here.

Adopting in place

There's one important concept in Tatoeba: you can only modify a sentence if you are the "parent" (owner) of that sentence. You are by default the parent of the sentences you add, which implies only YOU can modify your sentences (which makes sense). But you can also become the parent of a sentence by "adopting" it. Because many, many sentences in Tatoeba do not have any parent. The reason why you'd want to adopt a sentence is because you noticed a mistake and want to correct it, and you wouldn't be able to do this without being the parent of that sentence.

The adopt feature was quite "heavy" to use. Everytime, you were redirected to the "info" page of that sentence. Now it can all be done in one place. Click on the adopt icon, and there you go, no redirection, you can modify it right away. This should make the tasks of correcting sentences less annoying.

Only main sentence displayed when translating

This should solve a problem that we've had for a long time. Users who are not familiar with the system tend to add translations without caring what they actually add their translation to. Many times, people were adding a translation to a Japanese sentence when they were in fact translating from the English sentence. And because of the way things are displayed, they think "okay, I'm just adding one sentence in that box". But it's not the way things work in Tatoeba... Hopefully this will make things clearer.

Possibility to delete comments

Yes, now you can delete your comments (comments on sentences as well as comments on the wall). You cannot edit them yet though. That will be for next time (probably). Be careful though! Deleting a comment will delete it forever.
We haven't made a page that lists all your comments yet, but you can go through all the comments in Tatoeba here.

What next

Well I'm looking at our todo list, and it's hard to say... I'd rather let it be a surprise ;)