Localizing a WordPress Blog

There are many translation plugins available for WordPress, and most of them deal with translations of articles. This might be of interest for others, but not for me. If you have a blog with visitors from various language background, because you are living abroad, or writing in several languages, you might feel tempted to provide visitors with a localized “environment”, meaning that as much as possible is translated into the native language of the visitor, without actually translating content – but allowing to.

xili-languages1

In my case I am writing mostly in English and Japanese, but sometimes (in former times) in Italian and now and then in my mother tongue, German. Visitors from my site are from all over the world, but at least for Japanese visitors I wanted to provide a localized environment. This blog describes how to get as much as possible translated of your blog, and here I mean not the actual articles, because this is the easy part and most translation plugins handle that fine, but the things around the articles (categories, tags, headers, …). Continue reading

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柿くへば。。。ー 二つの解釈

日本語の先生は正岡子規の下記の有名な俳句を読ませてくれた:

kakikueba

柿くへば
鐘が鳴るなり
法隆寺

日本語のクラスの後、自転車での通勤しながら、解釈を考えた。そして、妻の意見と感覚を尋ねた。全然違う解釈その結果をここに述べる。

まず、句の言葉の説明:明治時代の正岡子規の言葉なので、ちょっと変わった形がある:「くへば」は「食えば」で、「鳴るなり」は「鳴る音あり」(ナルネアリ->ナルナリ)だと聞いていた。そして、「法隆寺」は奈良の有名なお寺。

僕の解釈。。。

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ポヴィドル・ゴラーチェとラッテッラ

ウイーンにいる間にいつもいろんな事を食べているし、飲んでいるし、時にアイスクリーム。今回はアイスクリームじゃなくて、他の特色なお菓子と飲み物を紹介する:「Powidlgolatsche」(ポヴィドル・ゴラーチェ)と「Lattella」(ラッテッラ):
Powidlgolatsche-Lattella

「Powidl」(ポヴィドル)はプルーン・ジャムみたいな事ですが、普通にジャムの使い方が違う。「Golatsche」(ゴラーチェ)は外側サクサクして、いろんな中身に入れ込んだデニッシュだ。だから、「Powdidlgolatsche」はポヴィドルが入っているデニッシュだ。大好き!!!

ちなみに、ドイツ人と西オーストリア人は、両方の単語を全くしらない。ドイツのドイツ語で「Powidl」は「Pflaumenmus」(つまらない!)、「Golatsche」は「Plunder」か「Tasche」を使われている。そんなにつまらない単語を使わなくていいって、ウイーン人が恵まれている。

そして、「Lattella」(ラッテッラ)はオーストリアの会社の、内容は乳清(ホエイ)と果物の乳製品だ。この1979年から売られている飲み物はオーストラリアに大人気だ。昔々マンゴの味だけだったけど、今いろんな味がある:マンゴ、マラクヤ、パパーヤ、キウィ、パイン、イチゴ、オレンジ等。

読者の皆さん、今度オーストリアへ行く時、ぜひぜひポヴィドル・ゴラーチェとラッテッラを試してみて下さい。

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Flashcards Deluxe – the learning machine

With the start of this semester I am teaching in Japanese – thus I am back to learning, in particular learning Japanese for mathematics. And of course I am using my preferred flashcard application, Flashcards Deluxe. This program has helped me through all the years here a lot. I have tried several flashcards programs, including the well-known Anki in various combinations, but the features and easy of use of Flashcards Deluxe (henceforth FCD) stand out from the rest of the competitors.

flashcards-deluxe-in-action

I have now using FCD for about 5 years, and there it satisfied and still satisfies all my needs.
Read on for more details about features, and my usage patterns

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Language confusion

language-love-wallI have lived about 2.5 years in Italy, more specific in Siena. And till today I have many good friends there. During my time in Italy I learned quite a bit of Italian, or better Sienese dialect, reaching a level where I could fluently write – and of course read all kind of books and magazines, including the famous Vernacoliere.

Recently I was travelling to Siena with my Japanese wife, and I had to face a severe confusion of languages. I guess most of those having learned several foreign languages and tried to translate between several of them had similar experiences. Translating between my friends Italian and Japanese turned my brain into a washing machine spitting out crazy and incomprehensible words and combinations. One I was uttering without even thinking found all of us laughing out loud:


ho 間違to (ho machigato)

when I wanted to say that I said something wrong. Well, those capable of Italian and Japanese will see the point.

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ハリー・ポッターと賢者の石 (Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone)

ハリー・ポッターと賢者の石Hurray! I just finished my first full book in Japanese: ハリー・ポッターと賢者の石. I got the book from pottermore.com shop, the only place to get eBook versions of Harry Potter. I converted it myself to kindle format, since the PotterMore shop still does not provide Kindle Paperwhite readable versions (and still does not, which is strange, since I explained them that it is dead-simple to convert to kindle format!). Using the Japanese-English dictionary for Kindle it is a real pleasure to read, since the 魔法 words are not actually in my daily Japanese repertoire.

There is another reason why I can fully recommend starting reading Japanese books with Harry Potter: Most of the books written for intermediate Japanese learners, who are far from reading all the necessary 2000+ kanji, are quite boring children’s books. So I never got the hang of reading them. With Harry Potter you have an excellent story, and in addition, the Japanese version seem to start with a quite easy use of kanji and using a lot of furigana at the beginning, and is getting progressively more difficult (or more standard reading style).

All in all, I am very happy, since I finally got the feeling that I actually read Japanese instead of stumbling around. And even more – I am looking forward to the next book, time allowing.

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Multi-lingual blog – taxonomy – Tarski theme display II

An update to my recent post about tagging post languages with the language used. Another thing I wanted is the display of flags instead of the short code of the language. In this post I explain how I achieved that with one additional plugin and an extension of code (Tarski extension plugin) shown in the previously mentioned post.

language-tagging-2

Continue reading

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Multi-lingual blog – taxonomy – Tarski theme display

As you might have seen, I am writing this blog in a few languages, mostly English of course, but also German (my mother tongue), Italian (where I lived for 2.5 years), and recently I try also to write a bit in Japanese (where I live now). I was searching for a simple solution to tag my posts with a language, and also display the respective language in the excerpt and post header (at least in the theme Tarski I am using). Since most of the solutions out there are much more involved, including translations support (which I will not do), I just came up with a simple solution (see the red marks in the screenshot):

language tagging
Continue reading

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Italo Calvino: Le città invisibili

Everyone which has fallen in love with travelling should read this book:

Arrivando a ogni nuova città il viaggiatore ritrova un suo passato che non sapeva più d’avere: l’estraneità di ciò che non sei più t’aspetta al varco nei luoghi estranei e non posseduti.

[…] I futuri non realizzati sono solo rami del passato. Rami secchi.

[…] L’altrove è uno specchio in negativo. Il viaggiatore riconosce il poco che è suo, scoprendo il molto che non ha avuto e non avrà.

Italo Calvino: Le città invisibili

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