We anticipate that some gnu.org translators will find this format odd or inconvenient, if they never happened to work with PO files before7. Don’t worry, you will soon get accustomed to it. It is the established format for translations in the Free World, and if you have any problems, other translators will help you.
The most efficient way to edit a PO file is using a specialized PO editor, because each of them represents and treats gettext messages in a consistent and predictable way. It is possible to edit a PO file with an ordinary plain text editor, but extra effort would be necessary to make it valid.
Note that recent versions of some PO editors (both offline and web-based) offer access to various translation services that do machine translation for their users. Using a machine translation service is a clear example of SaaSS (see https://www.gnu.org/philosophy/who-does-that-server-really-serve.html), so please don’t use such editors unless they only submit requests to your (or GNU project’s) own servers.
Here is a list of widely used PO editors we can recommend:
M-x po-mode RET. On some GNU/Linux distros such as gNewSense, PO mode is available in a separate package,
gettext-el. See Emacs’s PO File Editor in GNU gettext tools.
wxWidgetsgraphical toolkit. See http://www.poedit.net.
An alternative way to maintain translations is to use one of the existing online editors. There are plans to install a web-based system for managing .po files at Savannah, including online editing and statistics. Until it happens, teams who wish to use this functionality may setup such a server on a host of their own, or use one of the existing free hosting platforms such as Launchpad (http://translations.launchpad.net).
Here is a short and probably incomplete list of such systems:
If you decide to use such a system, please make sure that no translations are published in HTML format there.
Note that to keep the .pot files regularly updated (assuming such
a web-based system runs
msgmerge automatically), you’ll have
to take care of the one-way regular sync from the ‘www’ CVS
For detailed information about editing PO files, see Working with PO Files in The GNUnited Nations Manual.