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I'm interested in contributing translations to Ubuntu. How do I create a translations team so I can contribute?

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up vote 18 down vote accepted

Translating Ubuntu is a rewarding effort to provide users with the operating system in their language, but at the same time it carries a great deal of responsibility.

We want to make sure users get the most of their native language support, and while lowering the barrier for contributions, we also need to make sure that translators are aware about this responsibility, best practices for translations and of the existence of other projects' translation efforts.

You should start a new team only if there is no translation team appointed for your language. Otherwise you should contact the current team and start working with them. You can identify the team appointed for translating Ubuntu into your language by looking it up on the list of teams in the Ubuntu Translators group.

Before you apply

Here's the checklist to create a new Ubuntu translations team:

  • Check for an existing team. Make sure there isn't already an existing Ubuntu translations team for your language. If this is the case, you can skip all subsequent steps and ask to join the team instead.

  • Natural language. Make sure the language is spoken by real people. There isn't, and there won't be locale support for languages that are spoken by no one at home - so dead languages like Latin or fictional ones like Klingon won't have any support in Ubuntu, sorry.

  • Locale, keyboard and fonts. Make sure the language has a defined code, keyboard and fonts. You can skip this step if your language fulfills all requirements.

  • Launchpad team. Create a new Launchpad team for your language. The team's name must accord to the following rules:

    • ubuntu-l10n-$ISO-639-language-code - Where $ISO-639-language-code is a two-letter or a three-letter (if the two-letter one is not available) ISO 639 code. You can search for the code for your language here. If you don't find your code there, you may want to look at the more comprehensive ISO 639-3 list
  • Moderated subscription. Make the subscription policy of the new team Moderated or Restricted. Only this way you can ensure the quality of translations and make sure that upstream translations are not modified for no good reason.

  • Team information. Add some brief information on the team's page. This should include:

    • A welcome note with the purpose of the team
    • A note on how to join the team
    • Links to the team's existing communication channels (e.g. mailing list, forums, IRC channel, wiki, etc)
  • Team communication. The team should have a communication channel to coordinate the translation activities. This can be any of: a mailing list, IRC, forums, etc. This can be arranged after the team has been accepted, but it is a requirement.

  • Guidelines. The team should have a set of translation guidelines. This can be arranged after the team has been accepted, but it is a requirement.

  • Upstream collaboration. The team should be aware of any upstream translation efforts (e.g. GNOME, KDE, Mozilla, OpenOffice.org, Debian, etc.), and coordinate with them if possible. You'll find more information about the different upstreams here.

  • Coordinator. The team should have a coordinator, who should subscribe to the ubuntu-translators mailing list and forward any relevant announcements or information to the team. It is recommended that all team coordinators read the best practices for the role.

Applying

  • Application. Once all points have been checked, simply file a support request briefly explaining how you addressed all of the points above, and the Ubuntu Translations Coordinators will add the team to the Ubuntu Translators group. If the information is not clear, they might ask you some questions. That might delay the approval of your team, so please try to be clear on each of the points.

After the team has been accepted

It is also recommended to read the Ubuntu Translations Knowledge Base to start getting familiar with how translations work in Ubuntu.

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