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Guide to Translating Web Pages on www.gnu.org

Introduction

Translating gnu.org with its many articles and keeping them updated is a complex task which requires careful organization. Translators are grouped into teams, one for each language, and each team normally has a coordinator. However, there are some languages for which no team has been formed yet, and sometimes a team lacks a coordinator.

Team Coordinators use software tools to update pages efficiently for partial changes. One of these tools is a program called GNUnited Nations (GNUN) that makes it very easy to maintain and keep track of translations that need to be updated; it was developed ad hoc by our current GNU Translations Manager Yavor Doganov.

The Translations Manager is the person in charge of the overall organization of teams and is generally involved in training new Team Coordinators.

As a Team Member, you can contribute to translations without knowing anything about GNUN, but you can help at more levels if you know how to use it.

Who can help

All teams are always looking for new volunteers. Basically, there is a task for everyone in the translation process: we need people with good language skills, as well as people with good technical skills or willing to learn some simple technical skills.

How to Participate

As a Team Member
Please read the General Guide for Translations below and then contact the relevant translation team. Each team has its own system of organizing the work. Thus, to join an existing team, you need to get detailed information from that team. The Team Coordinator will be able to guide you through their specific methods. If you don't get an answer in two weeks, write to the Translations Manager <web-translators@gnu.org>.
As an Occasional Contributor
If you just want to submit a new translation and are not interested in collaborating regularly, follow the General Guide for Translations below and then send your translation to the appropriate Team Coordinator if there is one, or to the Translations Manager <web-translators@gnu.org> if there is no team or coordinator for your language.
As a Team Coordinator
If there is no team established for your language or a new Team Coordinator is needed, we will be grateful if you undertake that task. As a coordinator, you will need to follow both the General Guide for Translations and the more specific Guide for Team Coordinators.

General Guide for Translations

Here are our specific goals for our translated pages.

Clarity

With few exceptions, the pages we translate are addressed to the general public. Before working on a page, please look at the original and ask yourself whether it is addressed to programmers or to the general public. Then aim your translation at the same audience. In pages meant for the general public, please avoid words that are not found in common dictionaries, except for our special terms such as "GNU" and "copyleft" (see the list below).

Accuracy

In order to produce a translation which is accurate and faithful to the original, you need to be familiar with the basic concepts of the GNU Project and the specific terminology used in gnu.org.

Please study the philosophy of the free software movement, so that you can present it properly and clearly. The following articles will be particularly helpful:

These terms and files need special attention:

For more info, see Interpreters Guide

Before installing or before submitting your translation for installation in gnu.org:

Licensing of Translations

A translation page should be licensed just like the original page. If the original page carries a Creative Commons license, use the same Creative Commons license. If the original page says it is in the public domain, the translation should say the same thing.

For specific rules, see Distribution Terms in the GNU Web Translators Manual.

What to Translate

All essays and articles in the following directories should be translated in all available languages, but you should first browse our Web Translation Priorities:

Again, please coordinate with your language team before starting any work, to get clear instructions on how to proceed and to avoid duplicating efforts.

Note: The material in the software/ directory pertains to individual GNU packages. If you would like to translate something in that directory, please talk with the maintainers of the package to see what they would like to do.

Translators Manual

You may also want to read the GNU Web Translators Manual if you wish to have a better understanding of how our translation system works. But please talk to the team first; most probably you will not be required to read it in order to start helping.

Guide for Team Coordinators

The following is an explanation of what a Team Coordinator does specifically. In addition to what has already been described, a Team Coordinator:

Tools

We use .po (Portable Object) files to process and maintain translations. A .po file contains the original text and its translation, divided in paragraphs. This is how we do it:

We have also implemented notification tools to keep translators informed of changes in the original pages. In any case, a Team Coordinator needs to subscribe to our www-commits mailing list to keep an eye on pages that are modified. You may also use “make report TEAM=LANG” if you have GNUN installed.

Coordinators Manuals

The following manuals explain in detail the translation process that we have briefly shown above. It is necessary that a coordinator reads and becomes well acquainted with them:

After you have read this entire page, if you intend to volunteer and be listed as the Team Coordinator for your language, please inform the Translations Manager <web-translators@gnu.org> of your decision. Start reading at least the first two manuals and ask the Translations Manager for assistance if you have any doubts.

Translation Teams

Volunteers to establish new teams are more than welcome and will be assisted during the learning process.

In the following list, the language code is followed by the name of the language, and by the name of the Team Coordinator.

Note: English (en) is a special case. The bulk of the site is written in English, which is the de-facto language of the GNU Project. We occasionally need to translate to English original documents written in other languages. It is best to notify the Team Coordinator of that language if you volunteer. If there is no team coordinator and you are willing to help with this, please contact <web-translators@gnu.org>.

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