Note: This wiki page needs some work! It's been brought over from the page of the same name during a migration and some of the links are probably still referencing things over there incorrectly. Feel free to jump in and help us get this fixed up!

How to Translate Wiki Pages

First off, while not a requrement, if you're going to do any translation, you may consider joining your Language Team. Your language team can advise you on how things work in Ubuntu, what tools you can use, and can get you involved with translations elsewhere in the Ubuntu project.

Choose your Page

Check out the PagesNeedingTranslated page for core pages we're actively working to translate.


Your Launchpad login, as well as giving you access an the amazing range of services and information, also works in this Wiki. If you don't yet have a Launchpad account, I strongly recommend you get your Launchpad account, since it's needed for access to the translation project, bug-tracker and much more. Once you have your login ... login.

User Preferences

You can customize your Launchpad-Wiki account in various useful ways. Take a few minutes to set your User Preferences. One of the things you may find most useful, is being able to select a number of pages you want always shown at the top of my Wiki pages, for quick access. You may also want to subscribe to all pages that include LL where LL is your language code, the ISO-639 international-standard code for your language.

Edit the original page

In order to create a new page, your translation page, you need to create a link to it from an existing page. When translating a Wiki page, you create a link to your translation from the page showing the original text (the text to be translated), usually in a prominent position, at the top of the page, so someone with little English doesn't have to try and read through the whole page to find the translation link.

It is common to have a translation bar across the top of the page, or a language bar down the side. It is coloured, to attract attention. It is a simple table, to which you can add your language. All you need to do, is add the link to your new translation page.

Save the original page

This is a good opportunity to talk about page-locks and previewing. You will find that after a set amount of time, the wiki will annoy you by flashing in your browser's status bar something like "Your edit lock will expire in X minutes/seconds!", or even "You edit lock has expired!!!"

If you're going to edit much text, it's much less annoying, and easier all around, if you create the page in your text editor, or other offline tool, then, when you're finished, simply paste it into the wiki interface.

We strongly recommend keeping an offline copy of any significant amount of text you add to a wiki, or to any online content site. Data can be lost, and you don't want to lose your work, due to error, electronic disaster, or because someone else has edited over it. I keep a copy of any wiki pages I edit, in a directory named for that wiki and/or group.

The Preview feature is very useful, because it allows you to find mistakes and fix them before the page is published. It also gives you a chance to experiment with formatting, which is necessary when you are learning how to use a particular wiki, and/or when you are confused, because all the wikis are so similar in formatting, yet they differ in small but frustrating ways. One or two square brackets for links? How do you mark bold text again? Preview lets you try things out, to see if they work.

Your new page

Once you've saved your changes to the original page, review it for accuracy.

You'll notice the page starts with:

{{{#format wiki #language en}}}

Change this to show your language code. In our example, we would change it to:

{{{#format wiki #language fr}}}

Make sure all your translated wiki pages have your language code specified at the top. That way, search engines will automatically find your pages for people speaking your language, browsers will automatically show your pages to people who have chosen your language in their preferences, and the wiki will group your page with other pages in your language. If the page doesn't show this header, you should add it. Keeping a copy of your wiki pages helps in this way: you have examples of how to format your page.

Write something in your new page, like "This translation will be created when the original text has been finalized." in your language.

A good general practice for translated pages, if you don't have time to translate the whole page yet, it to copy the entire original text to the translation page. You can translate it bit by bit, and the information is all there for the reader. This is much better than having part of the text translated there, and the rest of the information still on the original page.

Preview and Save your page

Maintaining your translation

The great thing about wikis is that they're so easy to edit: anyone can login and input information. Unfortunately, that's also their biggest problem: keeping track of all the changes! To maintain your translation, I recommend:

So at any point, you can add/remove subscribed pages singly or as a list. You can use regex (regular expressions) in this preferences box, e.g. .* should subscribe you to all Ubuntu Women pages. However, this would mean a lot of mail: you probably only want to subscribe to pages for which you are taking some responsibility.

For further information about translation, please see the Translate Wiki, a central resource for translators. Translators are greatly needed and valued in Open Source projects. Whatever time you have available, can make a big difference for your language group. We look forward to meeting you!

HowToTranslateWiki (last edited 2010-04-10 01:26:05 by lyz)