The Worldwide Lexicon is an open source project. The goal of this project is to make translation services ubiquitous, as worldwide as the worldwide web. To support this goal, we are publishing most of the tools we’ve developed as open source, and are also publishing detailed specifications about how we built our services, and how you can use our source or copy it to embed WWL in your systems.
WWL is an example of where open source is a superior way to build systems. Human language is tricky. What works well in English may not work for other languages. By making this an open system where developers can modify these tools, we will enable developers to adapt this technique to their languages and specific needs or to integrate WWL into their publishing systems.
The goal of this project is very ambitious. Within one to two years, this technique should be a standard feature on most web publishing systems. It is easy to build, and is easy to integrate into modern content management systems. By publishing our source and specifications, we hope to provide the web publishing industry with a reference design that can be incorporated into many web services.
Over the next several months, we will be following the release of our hosted service with a suite of translation management tools for independent and professional publishers, and for incorporation into other web applications. We’ll be developing and testing these tools here at worldwidelexicon.org and will make them available in our open source releases. The service itself is built in Ruby on Rails, using MySQL as a data store, and can be installed on standard issue web server environments (if you can run RoR, you can host WWL).
In the immediate future, we are focusing on the hosted service, and will be adding the following features, all of which will be included in the open source package:
- User registration and access control
- Editorial control and work review (e.g. new submissions must be cleared by privileged user or editor)
- Ability to create translation communities around sites, subjects or languages
- Tracking and alert features (e.g. sign up to receive email alerts about new articles awaiting translation)
- Randomized peer review
- Links to dictionaries and translation memories
- Documented RSS and web service interface for integration with external content management systems and web applications.
Throughout this process, http://www.worldwidelexicon.org will be a development environment for new features and services. If you would like to join our team, we are looking for talented web developers to contribute to this project (we are developing this package in Ruby on Rails, but when we finish the first release, we’ll be looking at other popular environments like PHP).
How Can You Integrate WWL Into Your Publishing System Or Web Service?
WWL provides a clear and simple interface to external systems. You simply provide one or more RSS feeds into the WWL system, and it provides RSS feeds back out. Your systems don’t need to know a great deal about how WWL operates internally, and it does not need to know much about your system. In most cases, WWL picks up new items from your system, processes them, and publishes translations in an outgoing feed (and does so in a way that your system can automatically match translations up with the source items it sent to WWL).
When Will The Open Source Release Be Available?
We’ll share our code now with experienced developers. We’ll publish a complete package when we’ve finished work on the features above and are confident that the system is reliable and well documented. Until then, you can experiment using our hosted service to develop and test other applications against it.
How Can I Help?
If you’re proficient in Ruby on Rails or PHP, and would like to help develop additions to the platform, we’d love to hear from you. Contact me at brian () mcconnell.netBrian McConnell, Leader
Worldwide Lexicon Project