flutter_pseudolocalizor 0.4.0
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A Pseudolocalization tool for Flutter and Dart which generates pseudo, nonsensical translations for multiple languages from a given English source.

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:


Next define settings in pubspec.yaml for the package:

  input_filepath: "test.csv"
  replace_base: false
  use_brackets: true
  text_expansion_ratio: null
    - de
    - pl
    - ru
    delimiter: ";"
    column_index: 1
    - '%(\S*?)\$[ds]'
    - 'Flutter'
    - 2
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.
patterns_to_ignoreA list of patterns to ignore during text replacement.
line_numbers_to_ignoreA list of line numbers which should be ignored.

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:

dart run flutter_pseudolocalizor


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.

Note that patterns_to_ignore is especially useful to avoid text replacement for certain know constructs, for instance a product name or a pattern ``%myVar$dused to parse variables from text.line_numbers_to_ignore` is the actual line number as seen in a text document.

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!

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

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