Canonical Voices


Ubuntu Translations Portal

Following the series of blog posts about the Ubuntu Translations plans for the Natty cycle, this week I’m thrilled to report on the Ubuntu Translations Portal, and to announce its initial test deployment.

The idea behind the portal is to aggregate all existing content and to be the main entry point to the translations community for new contributors, providing them answers, inspiration and excitement. For experienced translators it will be a central point for resources and news about translating Ubuntu.

The main goal for this cycle is the deployment of the portal, with an official news feed and planet-like and microblogging feeds, all nicely wrapped in an Ubuntu-Light-based theme. I’m happy to report that we’re doing good progress on this.

So without further ado, here’s a preview of what the portal will look like:

Note that as it stands now, this is very much an alpha deployment on an external site, for development and testing purposes. As such, you’ll see that there is not much content, and that that content has been put there to help with development. You’ll also see that the theme still needs work in several parts of the site, but the current state will already give you a good idea of the shape the portal is taking.

Also note that one of the main requirements is that the site is multilingual, so that everyone can see it in their own language. We’ve been setting up the infrastructure for that, so that next cycle we can start translating the portal in all of the Ubuntu languages, but the first iteration this cycle will probably be in English.


Do you want to take part in shaping up the Ubuntu Translations portal?

There are many ways in which you can help. Here are just a few:

Join the Ubuntu Translations Portal discussionDiscuss. Participate in the discussion, ask your questions and stay up to date with the latest developments and announcements in the portal.

Help developing the Ubuntu Translations PortalDevelop. Have you got web development or web design skills? We need you! Help us developing the theme and infrastructure for the portal.

Report a bug in the Ubuntu Translations PortalReport. Have you been using the portal and have noticed any bugs or anything that needs improvement? Report them as bugs in the Ubuntu Translations Portal project in Launchpad.

Write and moderate content for the Ubuntu Translations PortalWrite. Do you want to submit articles related to translation, help with content editing or moderation? Join the Ubuntu Translations Portal editors team and put your writing skills to work.

Stay tuned for more updates. Looking forward to everyone’s participation!

Other posts in this series:

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We all know about Unity, the project that is changing the way we interact with our computer by bringing a consistent user experience and a solid, elegant design for desktop and netbook users.

We want to make sure Unity is for everyone, and one of the key aspects to make it possible is that it is available in everyone’s language.

Unity is already available in more than 60 languages, and can be translated into almost any other. Unity is also Free Software, which means it is in your own hands to make it happen.

So, if your language is not in that list, how can you translate Unity?

  • If you are new to translations, you might want to read the Ubuntu Translations Quickstart Guide.
  • Next thing you can do is go to the Unity translations page and start translating online right away.
  • You can then do the same with the Applications and Files places and translate them as well.
  • That’s it! You’ll find that contributing to Ubuntu by translating it is one of the easiest and most rewarding ways you can start

If you’ve got any questions, you can contact the translations team in whichever way you prefer.

We’ve got about 150 Ubuntu translation teams, and I’m pretty sure we can make that by the time Ubuntu Natty Narwhal is released there is a translation from each one of these teams.

Hence, I’m proud to announce the Unity L10N project, stay tuned for more updates and join the translation party!

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Ubuntu Translations TrainingFollowing the first in the series of posts about the plans for Ubuntu Translations on this cycle and their progress, this week I’d like to talk about Translations Training Sessions.

What we’d like is to run a series of regular events where translators can just attend and learn, in a hands-on way, all the different aspects of translating our favourite distro. There, they should also be able to ask their questions and discuss any topics related to translations. Another goal is to also provide material for all teams to adapt and reuse for their own training events for new translators.

The plan is to start by running a regular series of IRC training events focused on particular translation topics. Here are some suggestions:

  • The Launchpad Translations web interface
  • Translating Ubuntu online and offline
  • Ubuntu Translations review workflow

Do you want to help grow your translations community in your language? Help us with the training sessions by providing suggestions for topics you’d like to see covered in them. You can also help by running the sessions yourself!

You can leave them as comments on this post or directly on the wiki page we’ve set up for that here.

Looking forward to hearing your suggestions!

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Ubuntu Translations TVAfter the first Ubuntu Translations videocast two weeks ago, join me tomorrow in a new edition where I’ll talk about the first steps to get you started translating Ubuntu.

So if are either:

  • new to Ubuntu and would like to learn more and join the awesome translations community…
  • not involved in translations but would like to know more about how Ubuntu is translated…
  • an experienced translator that would like to ask questions or share your workflow…

… then this show is definitely for you.

Come along tomorrow and watch the introduction on how to get started, the general translations workflow, and participate by asking your questions!

Note that if you wish to participate in the online chat, you’ll need to sign up for a ustream account (it doesn’t take more than a couple of minutes), but I’ll also be answering your questions on the #ubuntu-translators IRC channel on Freenode.

Talk to you all tomorrow!

Ubuntu Translations Videocast

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Chromium Translations in Launchpad

I’m very much thrilled to announce that Chromium, the Open Source project behind Google Chrome, the browser that is transforming the way we experience the web, is now open for community translation in Launchpad.

Chromium will be hosting its translations in Launchpad Translations, the collaborative online tool for translating Open Source projects and building community around them.

Translate Chromium in Launchpad

You can now translate Chromium online into almost any language. Using Launchpad’s simple web interface you’ll only need a Launchpad account, a web browser and good knowledge of English and the language you’ll be translating into.

Under the Hood

For the technically minded among us, here’s an overview of how everything fits together.

But first of all, I need to mention that all this would not have been possible without the fantastic work of Fabien Tassin, the legendary Ubuntu community member of Chromium and Firefox packaging fame. Big thanks also go to Evan Martin from the Chromium project, the Launchpad Translations developers and anyone else involved in making this possible.

In short, after seeing the willingness from the Chromium project to use translations infrastructure in Launchpad, Fabien single-handedly designed and implemented the machinery that performs the conversion between the Chrome translation format and Gettext, the widely-used standard format Launchpad understands.  He did not stop here, and he also devised a way to package these translations and submit them to upstream.

The following diagram illustrates the Chromium translations lifecycle:

Chromium Translations Lifecycle

Chromium Translations Lifecycle - Diagram by Fabien Tassin

The work is happening between Fabien’s server, where he maintains a local copy of the Chromium upstream branches, and Launchpad, where the PPA builds and translations happen. These are the two big blocks you see on the diagram.

The existing Chromium translations are imported into Launchpad after being converted to the gettext format. The result is then committed in a bzr branch, which is enabled with automatic translation imports to make the translations available through the web UI.

At this point translators can do their work: either complete missing translations, improve existing ones or add new languages.

This work is then committed daily to another bzr branch making use of another cool Launchpad integration feature: automatic translation exports.

The rest of the process is also fully automatic: every day, a bot in Fabien’s server fetches the translations export branch, converts back from gettext to the Chromium translation format, merges that with the upstream trunk and lands the changes in the corresponding PPA of the daily builds. For other branches the process is the same, except that it is only run when there is a new upstream release.

From there, patches with the translations are generated daily for anyone else interested in using them.


What does community translation mean?
It means that any Open Source enthusiast will be able to translate Chromium to their language through volunteer contributions.

Why do we need community translations?
Many of the translations already available in Chromium come from private translations originated in Chrome. Until now, Chromium did not have any translation infrastructure to enable the community to localize the software, and therefore some languages were incomplete. In Launchpad you can now a) complete Chromium translations, b) improve them and c) add new languages.

How do I get started translating Chromium?
If you don’t have one already, you’ll need a Launchpad account. Once you’ve created it and selected your prefered languages, simply point your browser to, click on your language of choice, and that’s it, you can now start translating!

?I can submit neither translations suggestions nor translations. How can I translate Chromium?
If you aren’t already logged in to Launchpad, try to log in and see if it helps. If it doesn’t, that’s probably because there is no translation team for your language yet. Launchpad Translations is built around a model of community (in the form of translation teams) and permissions (chosen by the project developer).

The permission model for Chromium is Restricted, which provides a good balance between community participation and translation quality. This means that while everyone can submit translations suggestions, only the members of the translation team will be able to accept them after review.

Have a look at the list of teams in the Launchpad Translators group. If there isn’t one, you should be able to start a new team in a matter of minutes following these simple instructions, which will allow you to start translating Chromium once the team is approved.

When I try to translate my translations are saved as suggestions. Why can’t I directly submit translations?
That’s because you are not part of the translation team for your language. You can look for your language’s translation team here and get in touch with them. If you wish, you can ask them if you can join the team or if they can review your suggestions. See the previous question for more information on translation teams, suggestions and permissions.

How do I get support for Launchpad Translations?
There are many ways to get support if you need help. Here are some of them: you can ask a question in Launchpad, you can send an e-mail to the launchpad-users mailing list or you can ask on the #launchpad IRC channel on the Freenode network. You will find more information here.

Will Chromium translations make it to Google Chrome?
Most probably not. Google Chrome and its translations are subject to different QA processes than Chromium and we’re not contemplating this possibility at this time. We are only making those strings either common or specific to Chromium available for translation.

How often will translations be updated?
?It depends on the Chromium version and the operating system you are using:

  • Ubuntu, stable: if you are using the Chromium version provided in the Ubuntu package through Software Center, you will get a translations update whenever there is a new Chromium stable version released upstream.
  • Ubuntu, PPA: If you are using the Chromium daily PPA for Ubuntu, there are several options depending on which actual PPA (channel) you are using: for trunk, once a string is translated in Launchpad it takes about 2 days to be available; for the other channels (dev, beta, stable) translations are only made available whenever there is a Chromium upstream release.
  • Other: the frequency of updates in other distributions will depend on the use they make of the translations and their update policies. There are currently no Chromium builds for Windows or Mac.

This is a fully automatic process: translations exported from Launchpad are fetched daily, merged with the upstream trunk and changes are landed in the corresponding PPA of the daily builds.

How can other Operating Systems use the Chromium community translations?
The intention is that any Operating System/Linux distribution can benefit from the work from Launchpad translators, so these translations will be available to anyone interested in using them. They  can even be used for Windows and Mac.

If you are interested in using the translations for another distro, the best thing is to get in touch with Fabien (you’ll also find him as fta in the #chromium IRC channel on Freenode).

If you’ve got more questions, also feel free to ask by sending a comment to this blog post.

Happy translating!

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So, as our fearless leader nicely put it, it’s Ubuntu Follow Friday!

This last couple of days in the Community team we’ve been looking at some of the ways to spread out the word about different areas of contribution in Ubuntu, share our excitement and reach out to a bigger audience.

We’ve been reviewing and reviving some resources we already had and we’ve been creating new ones, and in the case of translations I just thought I’d give a heads up to everyone about them.



Check out our Facebook page at and make sure to ‘Like‘ us to keep in touch! In less than two days we’ve already got more than 600 fans, so now it’s your chance to also show your support for the awesome work of Ubuntu Translators and to stay in touch with translations news.

Feel free to upload your pictures and videos related to translations, such as translation jam photos, and comment on our wall as well!


Twitter – If you use Twitter, you can subscribe to the ubuntul10n group to share thoughts and announcements in real time about everything related to translating Ubuntu. You can use @ubuntul10n, to send notices to the group, or the #ul10n hashtag for your related tweets. – If you use, you can subscribe to ubuntul10n to follow thoughts and announcements in real time about everything related to translating Ubuntu. In addition to @ubuntul10n, you can also use the !ubuntutranslators, !ubuntu-l10n, !ul10n or !utranslators tags to send notices to the ubuntul10n group, and the #ul10n hashtag for your related tweets.

Remember that these now exist in addition to the existing outreach resources. As before, the main channel for discussion and announcements remains the ubuntu-translators mailing list, but we also want to reach out to everyone who prefers other communication methods. All important announcements will be posted in all of these channels.

I’ve also updated our Ubuntu Translations contact page with all this information.

Other interesting areas

Well, translations are not the only cool area about translations. Check these out as well:

All in all, great ways to stay up to date with key areas of our diverse and vibrant community. I’m sure I’ve left out many others, do add them in the comments!

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??We’ve uploaded  language packs in the maverick-proposed repository for everyone to test before they are released to all users. These should contain all the updates and fixes in translations done since the Maverick release date.

I’d like to ask translation teams and other community members to test them and provide an indication that they’ve done so by following some simple steps and submitting a sign-off, so that we know that translations have been successfully tested.

Simply follow the instructions in this page and add your sign-off in the table at the bottom:

The deadline for the testing is the 17th of December (in a weeks’ time). After that, we’ll update the language packs we’ve received feedback for into maverick-updates, so that all users can benefit from the new translations and fixes.

Remember that you’ll have to enable the maverick-proposed repository to get these updates.

Some Notes

Language Pack Update Schedule

Kenneth Nielsen from the Ubuntu Danish translation team has been rocking in getting the language packs schedule project into shape this cycle. Give him a hug if you see him around!

We’ve now got a plan for the Maverick schedule, including a wiki calendar, a google calendar and an iCal feed:

You can now subscribe to the calendar with your calendar client (e.g. with Evolution) or web e-mail account, so that you can stay up to date on the next scheduled updates and coordinate translations accordingly.

You’ll find the links on the wiki calendar page.


If there are open bugs for the translations in your language, it would be great if you could you check that they are fixed and mark them as “Fix Released”.

You can see if there are bugs for your language by going to the following URL:<yourlanguagecode>

As an example, the German team’s URL would be:

Help us getting the language pack tested and get all those fixes and new translations to everyone!

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(still) open

After the new Natty Narwhal Alpha 1 pre-release, I am pleased to announce that Natty is now open for translation:

Translate Ubuntu Natty!

  • Translation caveats. Remember that according to the release schedule translatable messages might be subject to change until the User Interface Freeze on the 24th of March.
  • Language packs. During the Natty development cycle, language packs containing translations will be released twice per week except for the freeze periods. This will allow users and translators to quickly see and test the results of translations.
  • Firefox. The first language packs will not yet contain Firefox translations. We’ll get them in soon as we’re adapting to the new upstream langpack packaging structure, so that Firefox is localized by default as usual.
  • Test and report bugs. If you notice any issues (e.g. untranslated strings or applications), do check with the translation team for your language first. If you think it is a genuine bug, please report it.

That’s it, happy translating! :-)

(still) open image by Joseph Robertson – License: CC by-nc-sa 2.0

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So, after having done the first translations videocast on the Ubuntu Translations channel yesterday, I can just say it was great fun, and from the feedback I got after the show it seems people liked it too, which is fantastic.

First of all though, big thanks to those of you who joined in with your comments and questions.

I was really really pleased to see lots of participation, both in the ustream chat in the show’s page and in the #ubuntu-translators IRC channel. I think that’s the best format to make it your show as well: do ask your questions, comment and make it more interactive. I can go on forever rambling on… err… talking about translations, but your participation makes it more fun and more personal, which is one of the objectives of these shows.

So for those of you who missed it, here’s the link to the recording to watch it in your own time:

One thing I did not manage, though, was to match Daniel’s comedy gold moment. Dogs and door bells apart, remember to watch his next show on Thursday next week for more Ubuntu Development goodness!

As it was the first time I ever did this, it was a bit experimental. I’ve been pondering about topics for the next shows, and here’s a list of the things I think folks might find interesting:

  • Ubuntu Translations WorkflowHow is Ubuntu translated
  • Natty Translations RoadmapAn overview on the translations community projects this cycle and their progress
  • Translating Ubuntu in LaunchpadA tutorial on how to use Launchpad to translate Ubuntu
  • Best Practices for Translation TeamsTips and advice for translation teams when translating Ubuntu
  • Internationalizing your application – Introduction on how to internationalize and make applications translatable

So what do you think? What would you like to know more about? Do you have any other ideas or suggestions for topics? Do let me know by commenting here or on the Ubuntu translators Facebook page. The main thing is that the biweekly videocasts are useful for you all.

I’ve already scheduled the next show, so I hope to see you on Translations TVsame time in two weeks time.

Do add it to your calendars! ;-)

Join the next Ubuntu Translations Videocast

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?The plan for the community team to dominate social media first and the world afterwards goes on unabated. First it was At Home with Jono Bacon, then Ubuntu Development with Daniel Holbach.

This time it’s translations.

Join me tomorrow on the first ever Ubuntu Translations videocast and learn more about our ever amazing community. I’ll be talking about how Ubuntu is translated, how translation teams work, and whatever else time allows. On later shows I’ll focus in more detail on particular subjects (upstreams, best practices, etc. – I’ll also take requests!).

Ubuntu Translations TV

Tell your friends and bring them along! This is a great opportunity to learn something new, to have a relaxed chat and to ask anything you always wanted to know about Ubuntu translations.

Some quick notes: if you wish to participate in the online chat, you’ll need to sign up for a ustream account (it doesn’t take more than a couple of minutes), but I’ll also be answering your questions on the #ubuntu-translators IRC channel on Freenode.

I’m sure it’s going to be great fun, see you all tomorrow!

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Translations Stories - A tsig mit zibn tsigelekhAs Jono has been mentioning recently, one of the projects we’re working on the translations community this cycle are Translations Stories.

We’d like to show how translations change people’s lives for the best, and how the work of translators has an impact on that. We’d like to share our excitement and highlight the awesome work translators do, and we thought that articles with translations stories would be the perfect vehicle for that.

In order to achieve this, we need your help. You don’t have to be a translator for this: you only need a few spare hours and be willing to give back to the project contributing on this effort to raise awareness on translations.

So, without further ado, here’s how:


Do you want to submit a story to let everyone know about the fantastic work the translation team in your language is doing? Well, that’s easy!

  • Sign up. Sign up for writing a translations story on this wiki page by adding your name to the list there.
  • Research. Think about what you want to write, and get some information. The Get inspired section below (or here) should give you a few pointers to get you started.
  • Write a Story. Write a short article highlighting an area of your choice related to translations. Don’t forget to add a picture!
  • Send the Story. Send me your story (david (DOT) planella (AT) ubuntu (DOT) com) adding the word [STORY] to the e-mail’s subject. I’ll then take care of publishing it to Ubuntu News, Ubuntu Planet and to the translators Facebook page.

Get inspired

Here are some ideas about what you can write about:

  • Schools with Ubuntu in your language: Check out the schools using Ubuntu in your language. Get in touch with them to get more information and write how they are using Ubuntu.
  • Translation Jams: Did you run a translation jam during the UbuntuGlobalJam or at any other time? Tell us how it went!
  • Statistics: Did your team had a whooping increase in translation coverage since the last release? Tell us how you dit it and promote some healthy competition among teams.
  • Interviews: Interview and tell us about people being able to use Ubuntu in their language
  • Workflow: Are you particularly proud about your successful translation workflow and would like to show it to other teams? Write an article and let everyone know!
  • Be creative: There are lots more of other subjects or areas where we can highlight the work of translators and their impact on people’s lives. Use your imagination as a source for stories!

Stay tuned for more news on this effort. We’ll soon be publishing some guidelines on how to write good translations stories to help you making them even more awesome.

Are you going to be the first to send one? Looking forward to reading them!

Picture: A tsig mit zibn tsigelekh by Center for Jewish HistoryNo known copyright restrictions

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Once again, the unstoppable Catalan team demonstrate their drive and capacity in event organization and Free Software advocacy.

Last 20th of November, pursuing the lofty “hey, one install party is not enough” goal and organized by Vicent Cubells and Josep Martínez, the team pulled yet a second Ubuntu Maverick install party. This time round it was in the beautiful city of València, and in an emblematic location as well: the Ca Revolta center – which is currently celebrating its 10th anniversary.

Several Ubuntu installations were performed throughout the day, either in parallel to Windows or wiping it out completely at the user’s request. Technical support was also offered to anyone who came by, which in some cases required a big dose of genius and willingness to be confronted with -back in the day- state of the art technology, such as psychedelic laptop screens and the likes.

All in all, a fantastic event: everyone went back home satisfied, enjoying the new freedom of their shiny Ubuntu systems.

Big thanks to everyone who participated, and see you at the next one soon!

You can also read this post in Catalan.

Pictures by Vicent Cubells


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It’s less than a week before the Ubuntu Developer Summit kicks off in Orlando, Florida, from the 25th-29th Oct, and everyone is getting ready to plan all the sessions and put all of the pieces in place for what will be once more an amazing schedule for an exciting development cycle: Ubuntu 11.04, the Natty Narwhal.

As usual, we’re going to have a solid representation of Ubuntu Translations, and I’d like to take the opportunity to let you know bit more about the sessions we’ve got in store for this UDS.

Main Sessions

These will constitute the roadmap for next cycle, and were based on the great feedback from community members during the call for proposals for the Ubuntu 11.04 Translations Plans.

Everyone should feel welcome to participate in the discussions and collaborate in completing these goals.

Ubuntu Translations Portal

A web portal to unify all the available content on Ubuntu translations such as stories, announcements, language teams, documentation, etc. (read more…)

Language Pack Updates Schedule

A clear policy on language pack updates for stable releases, stating for which releases and when they will be published. (read more…)

Translations Stories

A coordinated effort to publish stories about the work of translation teams throughout the cycle. (read more…)

Introductory Video to Ubuntu Translations

Production of an introductory video on Ubuntu translations, which will ultimately appear on the Translations Portal. (read more…)

Translations Training Sessions

A set of translations training sessions to help new translators getting started using Launchpad Translations and contributing to Ubuntu. (read more…)

Additional Sessions

Translatable Ubuntu Code of Conduct and Leadership Code of Conduct

We want to provide the Code of Conduct (CoC) and the Leadership Code of Conduct (LCoC) in anyone’s own language, and we want to enable the community to translate it. (read more…)

Internationalization of Launchpad Answers

We’d like to have an open discussion about the scope of work and the steps involved in enabling internationalization and localization of the Launchpad Answers application’s web UI. (read more…)


Ubuntu Translations Community Roundtable

A roundtable to discuss anything related to the Ubuntu Translations community, and to Launchpad Translations as a tool. (read more…)

How to participate

Whether you can attend UDS presentially or remotely, if you see any translation session you’re interested in, you can participate or follow the progress by subscribing to the blueprint. And if you are at UDS, just join the session! Here’s how you can do it:
  • Go to the blueprint. Click on the session you’re interested in, either in this overview (using the read more.. links) or in the UDS schedule. This will take you to the blueprint in Launchpad.
  • Subscribe to it. Subscribe to the blueprint, optionally ticking the “Participation essential” checkbox.
  • Add feedback. If you like, add feedback to the blueprint’s whiteboard.
  • Join in! Remember that if you are participating remotely, there’s IRC projected in all rooms and sound is streamed, so you can interact with those in the session. Check out the remote participation documentation for detailed instructions on how to participate from home or anywhere else.

Looking forward to seeing everyone next week!

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?You Rock!

Translations Awesomeness

As you all know the Meerkat is out.

After the release frenzy, I’d like to take a step back and use the opportunity to thank the people from the part of the community that’s closer to me: translators.

For those not familiar with them, they are a vital piece of the diverse group of individuals that bring Ubuntu to millions: they enable almost everyone to use Ubuntu in their own language. With every release they manage to organize, coordinate and perform the translation effort for the applications that are part of our Operating System.

We’ve got more than 1600 translatable applications for Ubuntu in Launchpad, and believe me, translating even the set of most visible ones is an incredible achievement. Not to forget the effort of upstream translation teams, the work of which is also reflected in Ubuntu.

All in all, the end result is something to be truly proud of.

This Cycle’s Hall of Fame

Special mention this time goes to the Spanish, Galician, English (United Kingdom), Brazilian Portuguese, Turkish and German teams, who have achieved 100% translation status according to the statistics at release time. If you see anyone from these teams around, give them a big hug.

Ubuntu-10.10 Top 20 Stats

A total of 37 languages reached what we consider a full translation in Ubuntu 10.10, with many more being close to that figure.

The Galician team, in 2nd place this time, has managed to beat the living daylights out of all languages in the Iberian Peninsula apart from Spanish. In comparison to them, we Catalan ranked 15. Congratulations! But next time it’s personal ;)

And the Turkish team has been working very hard in the last two cycles to make it to the top: in Lucid they already sprang from the 27th to the 7th position in terms of translation coverage of all Ubuntu translations in Launchpad. Well done, you’ve done a spectacular job.

Translators: thanks for your awesome work, you rock!

Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License You Rock! image by IAN RANSLEY DESIGN + ILLUSTRATION

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In the Community team at Canonical we are already turning the engines to start laying out the plans for the 11.04 roadmap for translations.

For this, we really value your input and would very much like to take your ideas and feedback into account. Remember that this is about the translations community itself, it is not about requesting new features for Launchpad Translations.

If you’d like to participate and contribute in making our translations community even more awesome, you can do it very easily in any of these ways:

For instance, one of the key areas I’d like to work on in this cycle is outreach: we want to bang the drum and get people excited and involved in translations.

What are your thoughts and ideas? What do you think we should focus on?


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Ubuntu Global Jam participants

Wow, our ever amazing community has done it again. Since last time I looked at the LoCo directory, the number of teams participating in the Ubuntu Global Jam has nearly doubled.

There is still time to organise new events and join the fun next weekend – a great opportunity to meet your old and new Ubuntu friends and help improve Ubuntu.

So here’s the question, is your country or area represented in there? Let your region also make the difference by adding your event.

See you there!

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Join the fun at the Ubuntu Global Jam

Getting ready for the Jam

It’s less than two weeks before our ever amazing community joins around the globe to have a good time while improving the incoming Ubuntu release, 10.10, codenamed the Maverick Meerkat.

The Ubuntu Global Jam is a great opportunity to contribute to your favourite OS in any area you can participate in. There are plenty of proposed activities, such as Bugs, Testing, Upgrade, Documentation, Translations, Packaging, but it does not have to stop at that. Why not propose your own activities, or run meetings related to them? Marketing, advocacy… your imagination is the limit.

We want to hear about your events!

I'm going to the Ubuntu Global JamSo far there are already 14 teams registered at the LoCo Directory for the Ubuntu Global Jam. It would be really cool to have a representation from as many LoCos as possible, so if you are still thinking about running a jam, or if you haven’t added your event, why not go for it? There is still time!

Adding a new Ubuntu Global Jam event in the LoCo Directory is really easy: it should not take you more than two minutes to do it, it will give more visibility to your LoCo, help people find a jam near them, and assist you with the planning.

Here’s how you can add your Global Jam event:

  1. Go to – Go to the Ubuntu Global Jam event in the LoCo Directory
  2. Log in – If you already haven’t, log in to the LoCo Directory with your Launchpad ID
  3. Add the eventAdd your team’s event

That’s it, you’re now part of the rocking list of LoCos running an Ubuntu Global Jam :) .

I’m sure it’s going to be once more an awesome event. Don’t forget to show off how your team is rocking by taking pictures and telling everyone about it. We’d like to hear as many fun stories about the Ubuntu Global Jam as possible!

See you at the Jam!

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Ubuntu Hebrew Translators LogoAfter running the Ubuntu Translation Teams Healthcheck I took it to heart to help translation teams in the areas they asked for assistance in the survey.

One of the teams that had a need in a particular area was the Ubuntu Hebrew translation team. In their own words:

We don’t get much feedback, to be exact, we need to beg the users for feedback, once in every few months someone is kind enough to tell us that there is a translation mistake [...]“

In short, the team needs your feedback. Whether it is to tell them there are translations that need improvement, or whether it is simply to commend or support them in the awesome work they do translating Ubuntu, they’ll be very happy to hear from you.

So, do you use Ubuntu in Hebrew? Do you want to help? There are many different ways you can support Ubuntu in your language. Pick one or more of them!

With your help the Hebrew team can reach excellent language support for all their users. What are you waiting for? Give them a hand!

(And here in Hebrew. Ddorda tells me it’s readable, although some bits might sound weird, so beware of the Google automatic translation!)

Help the Hebrew translation team

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?I’m pleased to announce that Ubuntu Maverick is now open for translation:

Remember that according to the release schedule translatable messages might be subject to change until the User Interface Freeze on the 26th of August.

During the Maverick development cycle, language packs containing the translations are generally released twice per week. This way you can see and test the results of the translations more frequently.

That’s it, happy translating!

Do you have any questions about translating Ubuntu? – Ask! – Did you find a bug in translations?  Report it!

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Some weeks ago I ran the Ubuntu Translation teams healthcheck survey. The main goal was getting in touch with the teams to have some feedback on how they were doing, if they needed help in any particular area and make sure that they were aware of the latest changes in translation policies. While the results were available on the wiki, I hadn’t had a chance to post a summary.

Here it is.

Language info

Participation. Up to 71 teams participated in the survey. Of these, 58 submitted the input and explicitly agreed to have it published online. This summary represents the input from the following teams:

Persian, Welsh, Manx, Armenian, Punjabi, Bulgarian, Telugu, Portuguese, Dhivehi, Asturian, Belarusian, Hebrew, Icelandic, Macedonian, German, Irish, Kazakh, Norwegian, Afar, Gujarati, Spanish, Hungarian, Sinhala, Arabic, Northern Sotho, Japanese, Finnish, Maori, Greek, Shuswap, Frisian, Tamil, Korean, Estonian, Lojban, Lithuanian, Silesian, Occitan, Ukrainian, Simplified Chinese, Tibetan, Low German, Brazilian, Russian, Dutch, Catalan, French, Khmer, Luxembourgish, Galician, Traditional Chinese (Taiwan), Basque, Slovenian, Uyghur, Swedish, Danish, Italian, Romanian

Active translators. On the question of how many active translators a team has, the average is about 12 Launchpad team members or regular translators, with another average of 20 occasional or drive-by translators.

This seems to validate the model of having a small team of reviewers who can submit and review translations and a bigger group of translators submitting translation suggestions, as well as also confirm the migration in the last cycles to smaller, more manageable moderated teams, focusing on translation quality assurance.

Natural language usability. On the three categories, we seem to be in good shape.

Language Usability

While we’re doing excellent-good in fonts and input method, the interesting bit will be to focus on converting that good-average to excellent-good in applications. One thing to have into account when evaluating fonts and input method though, is that many languages do not need an input method or are nowadays not in need of a set of fonts to correctly display text. So here the challenge will be to concentrate on the languages rated as average and poor to see the areas in which this rating can be improved.

This information is also very useful to me in a per-language basis to see the perception of how usable Ubuntu in a particular language is comparing it to translation coverage statistics.

Translation team policies

Translation policies. While in more than half of the responses translation team coordinators were aware of the new Ubuntu Translations policies, there are still quite some teams who did not know about them. I’ll take an action to send a reminder explaining the new policies.

Ubuntu translators mailing list subscription. We’re now asking all translation team coordinators to be subscribed to the Ubuntu translators mailing list, and it seems that the majority are. Some of the people who said they were not subscribed did it just after participating in the survey. I’ll follow this up with the rest who aren’t on the list, but the most important part is to make sure new team coordinators are aware of the need to be subscribed to follow all Ubuntu translations announcements and forward them to their teams when necessary.

Team membership. The vast majority of teams have now a moderated team membership, which allows them to have more oversight on translation quality. There are still a handful of open teams, which I’ll be trying to help migrating to a moderate membership.

Launchpad team page information. Nearly all teams represented in the survey had up to date information on their Launchpad page, which should be the entry point for translators wanting to translate Ubuntu in their language. Having clear and useful information there is a step that should not take more than a few minutes, but it is extremely important to make the process of joining translation teams easier and thus to get more help in the effort of translating Ubuntu in your own language.

Communication channel.

Translation Team Communication Channels

Mailing lists, be it on, on or externally, are the main communication method for translation coordination. We generally recommend using lists at, as Launchpad mailing lists only allow subscription for team members, which for translation teams exclude occasional, non-member, translators.

The important point for me here is that nowadays nearly all translation teams use some form of communication for successful translation coordination.

From the additional comments, other methods were direct e-mail, face to face meetings, instant messaging, regular IRC meetings and wikis.?

Translation guidelines. While many teams do have guidelines, there is still a 30% of them who haven’t, so I see this as an area that needs improvement. I believe translation guidelines are one of the most basic tools for a successful translation process, and each team, be it new or already established, should have some. Guidelines can cointain glossaries on how to translate common software-related terms, grammar rules or conventions specific to the language and translation of free software – or anything that can help in achieving consistency, resolving doubts and making the translation process more effective. IRC meetings, jams or any other events are generally useful to start developing guidelines.

Our wiki page on guidelines contains some very useful information and good examples from teams using them.

Translation team workflow

Translation bug tracking. The majority of teams use their mailing lists or forums to track translation problems and fix them, but there is still a considerable amount using Launchpad to track translation bugs, and to a lesser extent, external bug trackers.

The point risen here was that the important part was getting actual feedback from users about the problems, and some teams are struggling with this.

Accepting new team members. As a result of most teams being now moderated, the common practice in accepting team members is them asking to join the team, team members reviewing the application and then accepting them.

The thoroughness of the process varies across teams. Some have requirements on new members to have signed the CoC, having a minimum of karma, submitting the application to vote, or some others have a more relaxed process.

Another practice that some teams tend to follow is to have the main team acting as a small set of reviewers who can accept suggestions and a separate, bigger team that anyone can join. This way occasional or new translators can still submit suggestions as usual, but can also have a feeling of being part of the team.

Translation events. That’s another area for development, as the majority of teams don’t seem to be running any translation events. Translation events, either on IRC, or face to face (e.g. a translation jam) are extremely useful for focusing on particular translation goals and getting together to achieving them. Being all together at the same place makes the process much more agile, as reviews can happen instantly, and doubts can also be discussed straight away. We will need to better raise awareness on translation jams, either occasional ones or during the Ubuntu Global Jam.

Translation review process.

Translation Review Process

Here most of the teams seem to use the Launchpad Translations online interface and take advantage of the more agile translation and review process, either just translating and simply fixing errors when they are found, or through an explicit review process after finishing each translation.

Upstream coordination. That was for me one of the most interesting areas of the survey, and I’m quite pleased to see the results.

Upstream Coordination

They show that nowadays most of the Ubuntu translation teams actively coordinate with upstream projects. Using a mixture seems to be the most popular choice: indistinctively translating upstream or in Launchpad. The next most popular approach is translating first upstream and then completing Ubuntu-specific translations in Launchpad.

There are still a few teams who are not working with upstream, and we’ll have to see what the best approach for them to contribute back is. Another interesting trend are those teams translating everything in Launchpad first and then sending it upstream. They tend to be the same translators both upstream teams and in Ubuntu, and they effectively use the best of both worlds: the best online translation interface for open source software combined with sending translations upstream to make them available to all other projects.

Final thoughts

It would have been interesting to compare results with previous data from a couple of cycles ago, but having been part of it for a long time now, my feeling is that the Ubuntu Translations community is developing in the right direction, and I hope that this survey also serves as a testimonial to show external translation communities how Ubuntu translators work. The points about the importance of a defined workflow, team communication, quality assurance and upstream coordination are most definitely getting across.

Some areas in which we’ll have to concentrate is seeing how we can help those teams that are or have become inactive, better communicate the Ubuntu translation policies and work with the teams who don’t have translation guidelines to start developing some. I will also go back to the teams who explicitly asked for help in particular areas.

This has also offered me an invaluable insight on each team and their current situation and workflow, which will help me working with them in the future.

Thanks to everyone who took the time to complete it, as the input has been very valuable to know more about the Ubuntu translations community.? You allow millions of users to use Ubuntu in their own language every day, and you truly rock.

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