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Language localization instructions

Contact information

If you have comments, questions or suggestions about the localization instructions, please send them to  I have done my best to make these instructions complete and accurate, but if you find errors or omissions, please bring them to my attention.



Thanks for your interest in translating The Panorama Factory program into another language.  By working on  the translation, you can help make this program accessible to many other people.

The Panorama Factory is owned by Smoky City Design LLC. By submitting your translation work to us, you agree that Smoky City Design may modify and/or distribute the translations to other users of the Panorama Factory and that Smoky City Design LLC shall own all right, title and interest in the translations, including but not limited to copyrights and moral rights worldwide.

Please keep me informed about the status of your translation work.  When your translation is ready, I will make it available for downloading by other users.  I will show your name as the translator and include your email address or web address if you wish.  You should use the File header comment in the translation file to indicate how you would like to be acknowledged.

In some cases, more than one person may express interest in translating the program into a particular language.  The best way for a group to collaborate on a translation is through poWeb, The Panorama Factory's translation web.  Read the following sections for more information about poWeb.


Download and install The Panorama Factory

Please make certain that you have downloaded and installed the most recent release of The Panorama Factory V5 from the Download web page.

You should use the Windows m32, Windows x64 or Mac Edition of The Panorama Factory.  Although it may be possible to use the Legacy Edition for some languages, its support for Unicode is not as complete as the other Editions and may create problems for certain languages (e.g. Asian languages).


Tools for editing The Panorama Factory's translation files

The Panorama Factory V5 uses Unicode for all text information. This means that it can correctly display almost all translations on any Windows or Mac computer. For example, Russian characters will display properly on an English Windows system.

The translation files for The Panorama Factory V5 are stored in GNU gettext message catalogs. These message catalogs can be represented as plain text using UTF-8 encoding, but they must be converted into a binary format for use by The Panorama Factory.  The plain text message catalogs are files with a .po extension.  Binary message catalogs are files with a .mo file extension.

This means that it is possible to use a plain text editor to edit the message catalogs. However, the text file format required by GNU gettext is not convenient for editing by hand. Therefore, we provide tools for editing the gettext message catalogs.  You may use one or both of these tools:


poWeb is The Panorama Factory's translation web.  The translation files are stored on a server and you edit them using a web page.  poWeb is the primary storage for The Panorama Factory's translation files.  It is the source used for the translation files delivered in The Panorama Factory's setup files.

This system is designed for collaborative use by multiple translators.  A single translation file can be shared by a group of translators who work together.  Users who are not part of the translation team may make comments and suggestions to the translation team.  It's possible to use poWeb without having to reveal your email address to your collaborators, protecting you from the risk of unwanted email messages (spam).

poWeb is where other translators and users of The Panorama Factory can provide feedback about the translation.  You will be notified through poWeb when a comment or suggestion is added.  poWeb displays the alert symbol beside sections of the translation file that have new changes, including comments and suggestions entered by other users.


poTree is an editor program for gettext message catalogs that runs on your PC or Mac computer.  One advantage to poTree is that you have control of the data files.  And poTree, unlike poWeb, provides full undo capability.  However, it is much more difficult to collaborate with others using poTree because you must exchange data files and be careful about merging changes made by other users.

If you choose to use poTree, be sure to periodically upload your translation file to poWeb.  This is where I will look for the current translation file when building releases of The Panorama Factory.  Also, be sure to periodically check your translation at poWeb for comments and suggestions entered by other translators and users.  This is where users of The Panorama Factory can provide feedback about the translation.

poWeb / poTree interchange

poWeb and poTree share the same underlying data organization.  Both programs can export and import data in the same formats, so it is possible to move the data back and forth.  The primary storage for The Panorama Factory's translation files is in poWeb, so files edited by poTree should eventually be transferred back to poWeb.

To obtain translation files for use with poTree, you have to download them from poWeb.


First steps

Please begin by requesting a new log in account at poWeb.  Even if you decide to use poTree, you will still need a poWeb account to download and upload translation files.  Go to:

Click the button Request a new log in account and follow the instructions to create your new log in account.

Next, I recommend you browse the poWeb online help.  Read at least the Introduction sections.

Then refer to the section Using poWeb for The Panorama Factory in the poWeb online help.  This section includes complete instructions about how to get started including how to create a new message catalog for your language. The translation work flow specific to The Panorama Factory is also described in this section of the poWeb online help.

If you choose to use poTree instead of poWeb, you should refer to the poTree online help and the section Using poTree for The Panorama Factory.  You will find that much of the of material is shared between the poWeb and poTree help files, but specific information about commands will be different.


Starting a new translation

If you want to start a new translation that doesn't already exist in poWeb, we will have to set up a new language code and blank translation file.  Please contact so we can do this for you.

I strongly suggest you make a glossary as you work on the translation.  For each term used in the English version, write down the translation you have chosen for your local language version.  You can refer back to this glossary as you work on your translation.  The terms fall roughly into three categories:


Giving feedback on an existing translation

To give feedback on an existing translation, you need a poWeb account.  Go to:

Click the button Request a new log in account and follow the instructions to create your new log in account.

Once your account is established, you can provide feedback using poWeb's sticky notes.  These let you attach comments and suggestions to existing translation lines.  If you provide complete alternate translations, the primary translator for the language can accept them (if he or she chooses) with a single click.

If you want to offer your services as the primary translator for a section of an existing translation, you can do this by clicking I would like to translate this folder on the relevant web page within poWeb.


Download and install poTree (optional)

If you choose to use poTree, you should download it here:

    Windows Edition: potree_win_46.msi (3.50 MB)
    Mac Edition: potree_mac_46.dmg (5.8 MB)


Working with plain text or tab separated value files

I believe that poWeb and poTree are the most convenient ways to work on the translation. However, if you are more comfortable working with Plain Text (.txt) files or Tab Separated Value files (compatible with Excel), it may be possible for you to work that way. poWeb and poTree have the ability to export AND import both formats. There are sections in the online help file explaining how this works.


Notes for translators who have worked on V4 translations

If you are familiar with the string table system used for localization in The Panorama Factory V4, you may find it helpful to read this web page:


V5 message catalogs -- completed or in progress

To view the existing message catalogs for The Panorama Factory, visit poWeb.  You may log in as Guest without a password if you wish.  Use the stats hyperlink below the list of translations to get an idea of the state of each translation file.


Revised: March 24, 2008

 1999-2008 Smoky City Design, LLC and John Strait