Using Qt Linguist Phrasebooks

Phrasebooks in Linguist offer suggestions, and makes your job of translating much easier.

About Linguist phrasebooks

Your app will use many phrases that others in the Qt community have already translated.  But your app uses the phrases in a different context than the phrases were originally translated.  This usually is irrelevant, and your session with Linguist then becomes mostly verifying that the existing translation is appropriate for your context.  In other words, Linguist suggests a translation (from a phrasebook) to you for your context, and you OK it for use in your context.  You just click on the suggestion.  You might not need to think much about the meaning of the translation, or its grammar.

A Linguist translation file comprises translations in context.  A Linguist phrasebook comprises translations without context.

Obtaining phrasebooks

Phrasebooks are files with the .qph suffix.

You can often find them at /usr/share/qt5/phrasebooks.   (I suppose installing Qt installs them.)

You can also use other translation files  as a phrasebook, after converting them.

Converting a .ts to a phrasebook

You can convert a translations files ( a .ts file) to a phrasebook.

You need the lconvert tool distributed with Qt.

lconvert -of qph -i  <foo_xx>.ts -o <foo_xx>.qph

This says:

  • -i:  convert the named input file
  • -o: to the named output file
  • -of: outputting the format qph.

Where you substitute the name of an app for foo, and the name of a language for xx, before submitting the command.  For example ‘qt_ja.ts’ for the Qt app (library), and the Japanese language.

Qt .ts files are a very good to convert to phrasebooks.  The Qt library uses many phrases that your app also probably uses, although in a different context.

All the files are XML files.  In a translations files, the translations are nested in contexts.  The conversion just removes the nesting within contexts.  Leaving just a sequence of translations.

Opening multiple phrasebooks

You can open many phrasebooks at the same time.  For example, you can open both:

  • /usr/share/qt5/japanese.qph
  • qt_ja.qph (that you converted from qt_ja.ts)

Opening multiple translations files

Other translation files (not phrasebooks) are NOT a source of suggestions for translations (only translations in other languages that you might understand better).

You can open many translation files simultaneously in Linguist.  But they must all be for the same app.  For example:

  • qt_ja.ts
  • qt_kr.ts

You can’t for example concurrently open:

  • myApp_ja.ts
  • qt_ja.ts

because qt and myApp are different applications.

When you open many translation files, the result is that you see together (in the Linguist GUI) two foreign phrases for a single (context/sourcephrase.)  In other words, the view is of the two translation files merged, sorted first by context, then by source phrase.

Nested translation files

When converting community translation files, you might find some that are nested.  In other words, one just includes others.   For example qt_de.ts includes several other files, such as qtbase_de.ts.

You might only need to convert qtbase_de.ts or other included files.  (I didn’t try to convert the top level file.)

Creating personal phrasebooks

You might want to do that if you translate many related apps using a common set of specialized phrases.  But community phrasebooks, full of common computer terms, will probably be more useful.

Contributing translations back to the community

I don’t know how you would contribute your translations back to the community.  I don’t know who maintains /usr/share/qt5/phrasebooks nor why it doesn’t already include translations from qt_xx.ts.

Other sources of phrasebooks

Several large users of Qt:

  • KDE
  •  Ubuntu

I don’t know whether they have their own translations and phrasebooks.


I suppose that if you can find a copy of a phrasebook, you can use it without worrying about licensing?  Although you are copying a translation, you are copying just a few words at a time and putting them in another context, creating a new work.






One thought on “Using Qt Linguist Phrasebooks

  1. Pingback: Deploying PyQt Python Qt apps cross platform using pyqtdeploy | plashless

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