Translating phosphor-webui [GUI accessibility]

Joseph Reynolds jrey at
Wed Dec 19 06:19:41 AEDT 2018

The GUI design team talked about an attempt to translate the web GUI 
during the OpenBMC Community Call held on 12/17/2018.  Here are my notes 
of that conversation together with my comments.

An attempt was made to translate the phosphor-webui[1] web application 
from English into German, Chinese, and other languages.  This 
application consists of HTML, CSS, and Javascript code.  The HTML 
contains English phrases which need to be translated.  The JavaScript 
code also likely contains English phrases which would need to be 

The approach was to copy and modify the English HTML files, one set for 
each target language.  For example, bmc-reboot-controller.html[2] (but I 
didn't record which files were shown during the call).  To use the 
translated version, simply replace the English version with the 
translated version in your OpenBMC image, and your browser will show the 
translated version.

Performing the translation was difficult because the English sentences 
were built from phrases with replacement text in the middle of the 
sentence.  For example, in the sentence, "The processor temperature of 
60 degrees is over the limit of 58", can built from HTML like:
   <p>The processor temperature of</p><script>...get the 
temp...</script><p>degrees is over the limit.</p>.

This presents a problem for translation centers who typically receive 
each phrase separately and may not have visibility to the entire 
One might think you could simply re-arrange the HTML elements, including 
the replacement fields, into the sequence you need, but translation 
centers are not typically set up for that.  Besides that, we don't want 
to trust them messing with our HTML files: that is not their expertise.

The problem becomes impossible to translate correctly when the word 
order must be changed (which happens regularly for German) such that the 
replacement text (e.g., 58 and 60 in the example above) must be 
rearranged.  A translation center would reject this and create an issue 
for the web developer to fix this problem.  Hence the recommendation 
(requirement?) is to always keep entire sentences together and never 
build them up from phrases.

We discussed using the AngularJS translation framework.

There were some problems with the way the translated text appeared in 
the web browser window.  Some of the translated text was much longer 
than the English versions; and some of these were clipped instead of 
flowed.  These problems are being addressed by fixing the HTML and CSS 

We talked about other things that may require translation.
  - Translated Redfish schemas[3] for example described by DSP8011.  
Redfish schemas are JSON files served by the BMCWeb HTTP server which 
contain English descriptions of the Redfish APIs.  In BMCWeb, they are 
stored here [4].
  - Are the sensor names supposed to be translated or not?
  - Do we need to translate any phrases in interfaces like the REST APIs 
(Redfish and phosphor-rest), ipmitool, openbmc-tool, and ssh?  The 
thinking was that these are not good candidates for translation.

The decision to translate is driven by balancing the cost of translation 
and preparing for translation (which can be high in terms of developer 
effort and $$) compared to the benefit of the project being usable by a 
wider international audience.


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