3.1 How to Form a New Team
Establishing a new team is not hard, but a certain procedure ought to be
followed. The most important thing to realize is that this is somewhat
a long-term engagement that requires a lot of spare time, communication
and technical skills, and devotion. The only “bonus” team leaders
have is more work and more responsibilities.
You should read all the documentation related to the
translation process and at the very least all important
philosophy-related articles listed at
before you decide to form a new team, or take over an orphaned team.
Once you have the internal feeling that having a gnu.org translation
team for your language is a must, and you are the one for this job,
follow these steps:
- If you do not have a Savannah account, register at
https://savannah.gnu.org/account/register.php. Write access
to the repository and project membership is handled via Savannah, so you
would need an account in any case.
- Checkout a complete working copy of the CVS Web repository as described
at https://savannah.gnu.org/cvs/?group=www. If you still
don’t have a Savannah account or if you have registered one, but are not
yet member of any Savannah project, refer to the instructions under
“Anonymous CVS Access”. If you are already a member of (any) Savannah
project, you can proceed with “Project Member CVS Access via SSH”,
although you will still lack permission to commit (later, when it is
granted, you can use the same working copy).
Examine the layout and structure of the repository. Basically, it is
mapped to the URL locations, more or less. Take a look at the most
important materials to translate under /philosophy, /gnu,
/distros, /copyleft and /licenses directories just
to get a rough estimate about the amount of work involved2. If you are
still not scared and determined to go on further, excellent.
As you have probably observed, every directory that contains
translatable articles has a /po sub-directory, which is where the
canonical source format of the translations is stored.
- Submit your first message stating that you would like to establish a new
team to email@example.com; please mention that you have
read all the documentation and list the issues that remain unclear for
you. The Translation Managers will answer your questions and send you
the standard questionnaire for new team leaders. It is short and
shouldn’t take more than 10–30 minutes to complete. This questionnaire
is important, as we consider it crucial for any translation team
co-ordinator to have a good understanding of the philosophy of the free
- Check if your language code is present in the variable
TEMPLATE_LINGUAS in the file server/gnun/gnun.mk. If it
is not, the first thing to do is to translate and submit to
firstname.lastname@example.org the following files (all in the
See New Translation in The GNUnited Nations Manual.
- - The language code (lang) should be the ISO 639-1 code of the
language, for example ‘hy’ for Armenian or ‘el’ for Greek. If
the language is a variant such as Brazilian Portuguese or
Simplified Chinese, use small caps and a dash—‘pt-br’ and
‘zh-cn’ instead of ‘pt_BR’ and ‘zh_CN’.
- - The PO file header and initial comments should be completed as
- Any prospective team leader should submit a few translations first.
This is a process of pointing errors and omissions (which are expected
and natural); it’s an important thing to do as the leader is going to
carry out these checks on her own, once the team is approved. If there
are existing translations that are not yet in PO format, the best thing
to do is to migrate one or two. You can use
find to find out
what’s already in the repository, for example:
- Submit at least two translations of your own. We maintain a list with
priority articles at
although it is probably hard to start with one of them. Choose whatever
you wish, provided it is an essay and not an auxiliary page. Avoid
translating the homepage or planetfeeds.html—they are moving
targets and keeping up would be only a distraction for both parties in
the process. As usual, send the completed translation to
- The Translation Managers will review your translations, and eventually
comment on them (mostly technical details if there is no one among them
speaking your language). Depending on the case, it might be required to
submit a corrected file. In any event, please take into account the
remarks in future work.
- If all goes well, you will receive a response inviting you to apply for
a new translation project at Savannah. The project name should be
‘www-lang’ where lang is, unsurprisingly, the language
code. If such a project already exists, this step will be skipped and
you’ll be made an administrator of the project and its mailing lists.
To register the
project, go to https://savannah.gnu.org/register/ and make sure
you fill in the required fields. The “Group type” should be
‘www.gnu.org translation team’, and “Project
license”—‘WebSite Only’. In the “Tarball URL” field enter a
bogus URL such as ‘http://gnu.org’.
Pay attention: This step is a formality. You should proceed
with the project registration only when you have been asked by
email@example.com to do so. Otherwise, the submission
may appear in the task list of the Savannah Hackers for a fairly long
time, which is troublesome.
- When the project is approved, the team information will be added to the
list at README.translations.html, you will become a member of the
‘www’ project (thus granting you CVS write access to the whole
repository—so be careful) and the ‘trans-coord’ project. You’ll
also be subscribed to the following mailing lists:
- - www-commits
- - trans-coord-discuss
- - www-discuss
- When you are appointed the admin of the new project, please edit its
configuration; in particular, write its description, create a mailing
list (don’t forget to subscribe yourself!), optionally add a home
page using Web CVS repository.
If you are taking over an orphaned team, Translation Managers will
make you the owner of its mailing lists (if any).
The whole process should not take more than two weeks or maximum a
month—if this period turns out to be longer, it is an indication that
you do not have the required time and resources for this job, or
web-translators are badly lagging behind and do not process the requests
with the expected pace.
Applications for new teams are sometimes processed in
most suitable candidate is chosen in this case. This is, undoubtedly,
based on a subjective judgment made by the Translation Managers, and
many factors are important.
The procedure for taking over an orphaned team is the same. Once
completed, you will be made an admin of the respective
‘www-lang’ Savannah project, or if it doesn’t exist, invited
to apply for registration. Do not automatically remove old members just
because you are starting “afresh”—some of them might want to
continue to contribute. Contact them privately, explaining that you’re
the new appointed team co-ordinator, and ask them if they would be
willing to continue their involvement in the team.