flutter_pseudolocalizor

A Pseudolocalization tool for Flutter which generates pseudo, nonsensical translations for multiple languages from a given English source.

Pseudolocalization

  • Internationalization is the process of designing a software application so that it can easily be adapted to various other languages and regions without any programming changes.
  • Localization is the process of adapting internationalized software for a specific region or language by adding locale-specific components (€2.99 => 2,99€) and translating text (Hello World! => Hallo Welt!).
  • Pseudolocalization is a software testing method used before the localization process in which a fake (or pseudo) translations (with the region and language specific characters) are generated: Hello World! => [ Hellö Wörld! ÜüäßÖ ].

The benefits of pseudolocalization are three fold:

  1. To test that all (special) characters of the target locale (i.e. German) are displayed correctly.
  2. To test that text boxes can accommodate longer translations. If a pseduotranslation is cutoff or visually looks ugly on the screen, then there's a good chance that the real translation will too.
  3. To flag hardcoded strings or text images.

Character Replacement

Generally psuedo translations will replace characters in the English string (i.e. Hello World) with special (i.e. accented) characters from the target language. Considering German, the special characters ä ö ü ß Ä Ö Ü ẞ could be mapped to vowels a, o and u, with ß mapped to b. Although the letter ß has no relationship to b in German, what is important here is that the text is as readable as possible for the developer. The pseudo translation may also use a mixture of all UTF-8 special characters.

Text Expansion

Considering English as the base language, after translation many languages will exhibit text expansion and have longer text strings. Generally German extends by 10-35%, Polish 20-30% and Russian by 15%. Moreover, shorter English text strings tends to expanded even more than larger strings. Thus one approach to text expansion is to use a constant (say 40%), while another is to use a function of input text length returning values from 30-50%. Note that some languages (i.e. Japanese, Korean) generally contract and can actually have shorter text strings than their English counterparts.

Text Format

There are many different ways to format the pseudo text, for instance:

  • doubling the length of all vowels (i.e. Heellöö Wöörld).
  • wrapping the text in square brackets and using the words one, two, three etc. as text expansion (i.e [Hello World one]).
  • wrapping the text in square brackets and !!! (i.e. [ !!! Hellö Wörld !!! ])
  • wrapping the text in square brackets and prepending random special characters as text expansion (ie. [ Hellö Wörld äßÜẞ ]).

Note: The text expansion may also use punctuation of the target language (i.e. ¿ and ¡ in Spanish).

Pseudo Translations

Putting this altogether, we could render our base string as follows:

EnglishHello World!
German Hellö Wörld! ÜüäßÖ
Polish Hęłłó Wórłd! ꜿʌ
Russian Нёлло Шоялд! ОТЧжт

It is important to remember that these pseduotranslations are nonsensical: they are not real translations, instead merely a way to test that the app is ready for the translation stage.

Getting Started

Firstly, add the package as a dev dependency:

dev_dependencies: 
  flutter_pseudolocalizor: 

Next define settings in pubspec.yaml for the package:

flutter_pseudolocalizor:
  input_filepath: "test.csv"
  replace_base: false
  use_brackets: true
  text_expansion_ratio: null
  languages_to_generate:
    - de
    - pl
    - ru
  csv_settings:
    delimiter: ";"
    column_index: 1
SettingDescription
input_filepathA path to the input localization file.
output_filepathA path for the generated output file. Defaults to <input_filename>-PSEUDO.<extension>.
replace_baseWhether the base language (en) should be replaced. Defaults to false.
text_expansion_ratioThe ratio (between 1 and 3) of text expansion. If null, uses a linear function.
languages_to_generateAn array of languages to generate. Ignored if replace_base is true.
csv_settings: delimiterA delimiter to separate columns in the input CSV file. Defaults to ,.
csv_settings: column_indexThe column index of the base language (en) in the input CSV file. Defaults to 1.

input_filepath must be given, all other settings are optional. If Latin-1 Supplement and Latin Extended-A letters should be tested, set replace_base to true. To test specific languages, set languages_to_generate with an array of languages.

Ensure that your current working directory is the project root. Given the localization file test.csv, simply run the terminal command:

flutter pub run flutter_pseudolocalizor

to generate test-PSEUDO.csv. This generated file can then be incorporated into your dev build using a package like flappy_translator.

Limitations

  • Only CSV input files are supported.
  • Supports Latin-1 Supplement and Latin Extended-A but not Latin Extended-B or Latin Extended-C.
  • The following languages are supported: de, es, fr, it, pl, pt, ru and tr.
  • Only text expansion is considered.
  • Only one character replacement style.
  • Except for Spanish, punctuation isn't considered for text expansion.
  • No ability to ignore certain text constructs (i.e. %myVar$d) when replacing characters.

Future Plans

  • Although 8 languages are currently supported, some of the world's most spoken languages like Arabic, Chinese and Hindi are not supported.
    • For languages with their own alphabets (like Arabic, Armenian, Georgian, Hindi, Korean etc.), one approach could be to append random letters from the alphabet onto the original English text.
    • For character based writing systems like Chinese, Japanese etc., maybe random characters could be appended to the original English text.
  • Add support for Latin Extended-B and Latin Extended-C.
  • Presently Latin-1 Supplement and Latin Extended-A letters can be tested using replace_base option. If there is demand for specific language implementations which use the extended-Latin alphabet (i.e. Romanian, Czech etc.), these could be added per request.
  • If the Russian mapping is positively received, other languages which use the Cyrillic alphabet and Greek could be similarly implemented.

Collaboration

Spotted any issues? Please open an issue on GitHub! Would like to contribute a new language or feature? Fork the repo and submit a PR!

Libraries

flutter_pseudolocalizor