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Spotlight: Michal Čihař

Lead Maintainer of Weblate

Michal Čihař
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Where did you grow up?

I grew up and still live in Prague, Czechia. This is also where I studied computer science at Czech Technical University. After studies I’ve worked for several companies, some of them made me travel a lot and that helped me to better understand some aspects of software localization.

Are you currently working or have worked for a company in the past?

After studies, I worked for several companies. So far I’ve spent most of my time at SUSE. For past years I’ve been self employed with focus on providing services around Weblate. Besides employment, I was also involved in several open source projects. Most notable is probably that I’ve spent 18 years at the phpMyAdmin project, starting as a translator and being project leader for last year.

What is Weblate?

Weblate is a libre continuous localization platform. It can connect to a Git repository and open up the translations over web interface to make contribution easier and more comfortable.

Weblate Logo
550+
total contributors
8 years
since first release
5000+
translations per day

What’s the primary problem that the project solves?

There are dozens of localization platforms, but none of them was great in agile development and Git integration. This is where we started with Weblate, but over the years we’ve become a generic localization platform not only limited to this use case.

How can someone use Weblate?

We’re open-source. In case you don’t want to maintain your installation, you can purchase our cloud services. See weblate.org/download. The documentation is here.

What inspired you to start this project?

We were looking for a localization tool at phpMyAdmin back then and we could not find anything that would fit our needs, so I started to write Weblate. You can find more detailed reasoning in my blog.

Who is the ideal user of Weblate?

Anyone who wants to give access to localization to non developers and make it easy. It can be for in house translators with less technical knowledge, hired localization professionals or crowd-sourcing using your community.

Are there any success stories that you would like to share?

Recently Fedora, one of the largest Linux distributions, has migrated to our service for localization of their tools and documentation.

What’s coming up in the next release?

We’re introducing string shaping feature to group different variants of the same string to be used in different screen resolutions. This makes it easier to translate such strings properly.

What is your vision for the future of this project?

We’re currently the only actively developed open source localization platform and I want Weblate to stay like this. We have a growing community and customer makes, which both makes it possible to bring new features and fix bugs that we hit on the road.

If someone wants to support the project, where can they donate?

You can donate to Webalte on our website: weblate.org/donate. We are also on Liberapay and Bountysource.

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