When I arrived in Hamburg I did not know exactly what I would hack on. Something localization related was in my mind. Then I decided that I would like to solve an easy hack which has not been picked by anyone for 18 months, yet it is important from the localization point of view. In source code of UI strings (both in vcl resources, and in xml config files) it is possible to add comments to English UI string in order to explain or disambiguate them. These comments have a special language code: x-comment. Until now tooling ignored these comments, they were not extracted to sdf/po files, so they were little of use to translators. There are not many x-comments in the code, but it is no wonder. It would have not made sense to write comments that nobody would ever see. I patched l10ntools in master, so from now on x-comments are extracted, and will be there in the po files.
This is how it will look like in Pootle, when we will start to translate LibreOffice 3.6. Next to the KeyID the x-comment will appear, if there is one. Now it is up to translators and developers to write good comments for the problematic parts of the UI. Give context, explain things, when someting is non-trivial. Please send patches, make new translators’ job easier.
Example from svx/source/dialog/sdstring.src:
Text [ en-US ] = "Diagonal 1l";
Text [ x-comment ] = "l means left";
Currently there are no comments in xml configuration files, but if there were, an entry would look like this:
<value xml:lang="x-comment">This is the Open command.</value>