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12.1 Introduction 0

NOTE: This documentation section is outdated and needs to be revised.

Free software is going international! The Translation Project is a way to get maintainers, translators and users all together, so free software will gradually become able to speak many native languages.

The GNU gettext tool set contains everything maintainers need for internationalizing their packages for messages. It also contains quite useful tools for helping translators at localizing messages to their native language, once a package has already been internationalized.

To achieve the Translation Project, we need many interested people who like their own language and write it well, and who are also able to synergize with other translators speaking the same language. If you’d like to volunteer to work at translating messages, please send mail to your translating team.

Each team has its own mailing list, courtesy of Linux International. You may reach your translating team at the address, replacing ll by the two-letter ISO 639 code for your language. Language codes are not the same as country codes given in ISO 3166. The following translating teams exist:

Chinese zh, Czech cs, Danish da, Dutch nl, Esperanto eo, Finnish fi, French fr, Irish ga, German de, Greek el, Italian it, Japanese ja, Indonesian in, Norwegian no, Polish pl, Portuguese pt, Russian ru, Spanish es, Swedish sv and Turkish tr.

For example, you may reach the Chinese translating team by writing to When you become a member of the translating team for your own language, you may subscribe to its list. For example, Swedish people can send a message to, having this message body:


Keep in mind that team members should be interested in working at translations, or at solving translational difficulties, rather than merely lurking around. If your team does not exist yet and you want to start one, please write to; you will then reach the coordinator for all translator teams.

A handful of GNU packages have already been adapted and provided with message translations for several languages. Translation teams have begun to organize, using these packages as a starting point. But there are many more packages and many languages for which we have no volunteer translators. If you would like to volunteer to work at translating messages, please send mail to indicating what language(s) you can work on.

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