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12.2 Introduction 1

NOTE: This documentation section is outdated and needs to be revised.

This is now official, GNU is going international! Here is the announcement submitted for the January 1995 GNU Bulletin:

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’d like to volunteer to work at translating messages, please send mail to ‘’ indicating what language(s) you can work on.

This document should answer many questions for those who are curious about the process or would like to contribute. Please at least skim over it, hoping to cut down a little of the high volume of e-mail generated by this collective effort towards internationalization of free software.

Most free programming which is widely shared is done in English, and currently, English is used as the main communicating language between national communities collaborating to free software. This very document is written in English. This will not change in the foreseeable future.

However, there is a strong appetite from national communities for having more software able to write using national language and habits, and there is an on-going effort to modify free software in such a way that it becomes able to do so. The experiments driven so far raised an enthusiastic response from pretesters, so we believe that internationalization of free software is dedicated to succeed.

For suggestion clarifications, additions or corrections to this document, please e-mail to

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