The WordPress.org plug-in repository is making a big change in the next few months – the repository will host and ship language packs for all plug-ins. This is a huge and amazingly welcome change – but it does introduce some new issues.
The major advantages for plug-in authors are that we will no longer have to maintain our own language repositories. I’ve been running my own GlotPress installation for years, and managing the maintenance and updating of translations for all my plug-ins. This is a lot of work, and as a result I actually have virtually no oversight on translations. Additionally, translations can currently only be updated when I update the plug-in – so sometimes a translation will sit, undistributed, for far, far too long.
For users, central control over translations means that installation files will be considerably smaller, language packs will be more up to date, and it’ll be possible to search in WordPress.org for plug-ins available in your language.
But there’s going to be one huge change. I’ve always distributed partially completed translations. I don’t really have a problem with this; there are valid uses for incomplete translations. But WordPress.org will *only* provide access to translations that are 100% complete. As a result, many languages currently available for my plug-ins will go away if they aren’t completed.
When the time comes for the import, I’ll use Google Translate to automatically generate the remaining strings for any translation that’s over 80% complete, so that the maximum number of translations are available. But those won’t be good translations; at best, they’ll hopefully not be completely and utterly wrong.
At this point, all independently managed translations are closed; for the free plugins, only translations from WordPress.org will be handled moving forward.