As I used to be a translator like you, I agree with all you have mentioned. I just want to add that beside GNU Gettext which I experienced with almost two years, there were also some other formats for translation stuff and the one I want to mention is XLIFF. You can see my post about this issue at http://moodle.org/mod/forum/discuss.php?d=75676. I am also new to XLIFF, so I can't say more about it but somebody in my team might can say. I will try to get them to this discussion.