The situation with translations is very complicated. They involve a great deal of work and co-ordination, and because of this, I am generally very cautious about taking on new languages. Each language has to have its own resource sets, its own list memberships, its own distribution and testing regime; it has to be hurried along when it falls behind, and has to be regularly told about changes and additions. Almost inevitably, I become involved any time there's a question about the intention of a string, phrase or other resource, and I have to consult with all the teams any time I plan a major addition to make sure that there are no issues associated with that.
For a time, I had a "translation co-ordinator", but that approach didn't work out, and for a time the translation process basically died altogether. I ended up resurrecting it myself, something I have very limited resources for. The only formula I found that would work was to have teams led by someone I trust (in almost every case a long-time beta tester) who would co-ordinate the process and involve me only when it was unavoidable.
I've been very lucky that the French, Italian and German translations are led by extremely good and motivated individuals who have involved me to the smallest possible extent. By contrast, I have tried three times to establish Spanish translation teams, and each time they have failed dismally. Other languages typically haven't fared much better. Please note that I am not being critical of the translators in these cases - there was a failure of process, and lack of time and involvement on my part that meant that they could never establish enough impetus to get going properly.
A lot of the problem is that people simply don't understand the enormity of the process, nor the level of technical knowledge required (it's *not* just a case of running Notepad and translating some strings). There are also problems with finding good tools to handle the process - I've now tried several, with mediocre results at best. Most people also fail to appreciate that the effort is ongoing: a translation that only works with a single version of the program is essentially useless.
I would love to have a good Spanish translation of Pegasus Mail - it would give me the classic "EFIGS" translation set (English, French, Italian, German and Spanish) and would be useful to a great many people. The problem is that I do not have (as far as I know) a Spanish beta tester, nor even a long-time beta tester who is Spanish-speaking, and in the absence of such a person to act as a team leader, past experience makes me very reluctant to approve a team.
The situation with languages/scripts that have non-Western orthography, such as Hebrew or Mandarin, is much more complex. The program dates from a time when these languages simply weren't a consideration, and it simply hasn't ever been designed with them in mind. To handle non-Western orthography you really have to design your application from the ground up to be able to do so, and the changes required for a codebase as long-standing as mine would be very considerable indeed. I am told that Pegasus Mail can be made to work to some extent with some non-Western scripts, but if that is so, then it is largely by accident and definitely not through good design on my part. I lack the resources and language skills necessary to be able to handle these types of language changes and currently do not have an effective plan for dealing with them, other than possibly considering a complete rewrite of the program in .NET, which is not going happen any time soon (it would be at least a year's work, plus the learning curve time adapting to the new technologies).
This message is rather longer than I wanted it to be, but I feel it's important to lay out clearly what the situation is regarding this very important area. If the issue of producing new translations seems slow and unusually obtuse, it is not because I do not appreciate the value or importance of such translations - it's merely a reflection of the limits I face as a solo developer operating on minimal resources. I would love to be able to do better than I currently do, but best intentions alone are not going to do the work. *Sigh*.
-- David --