TRANSLATING   [plain text]

                                                              -*- text -*-

If you are contributing code or translations to the Subversion project,
please read this first.

                   Guide to translating Subversion

$LastChangedDate: 2008-05-26 21:09:19 +0000 (Mon, 26 May 2008) $

* Introduction
* Software version requirements
* Starting a new translation
* Verifying your po file
* Submitting your po file
* Updating existing po files
* Maintenance on branches
* Requirements for po and mo files
* Conventions for the empty string msgid section
* Translation teams
* Single versus double quotes
* Error message conventions


Subversion uses gettext for its translation.  Gettext uses '.po' files
to store translation information; the existing ones are kept in the
subversion/po directory of the repository.
[Note that the last paragraph deliberately does not say GNU gettext.]

Please take some time to go through this document as well as

Software version requirements

The Makefile build targets locale-gnu-* (used to maintain po files)
require GNU gettext 0.13 or newer.  Note that this is not a requirement
for those wanting to compile the *.po files into *.mo's.

Starting a new translation

Before starting a new translation please contact the subversion
development mailing list to make sure you are not duplicating efforts. Also
please note that the project has a strong preference for translations which
are maintained by more than one person: mailing the lists with your
intentions might help you find supporters.

After that, you should perform the following steps:

* Unix (GNU gettext)

1) check out Subversion (see INSTALL for more information)
2) run ./
3) run ./configure
4) run make locale-gnu-pot
  This step is currently only supported for GNU gettext Makefile based
5) run msginit --locale LOCALE -o LOCALE.po in the
  subversion/po directory of your working copy. LOCALE is the ll[_LL]
  language and country code used to identify your locale.

Steps (2) and (3) generate a Makefile; step (4) generates

The Subversion project has a policy not to put names in its files, so
please apply the two changes described below.  (See www/hacking.html
for a description of this convention.)

The header in the newly generated .po file looks like this:
  # This file is distributed under the same license as the PACKAGE package.

Please replace that block with the following text:
  # <Your language> translation for subversion package
  # Copyright (C) <YEAR> CollabNet.
  # This file is distributed under the same license as the subversion package.

The first translation block in the .po file contains two lines like these:
  "Last-Translator: FULL NAME <EMAIL@ADDRESS>\n"
  "Language-Team: LANGUAGE <>\n"

Please replace those with these two lines:
  "Last-Translator: Subversion Developers <>\n"
  "Language-Team: YOUR LANGUAGE <>\n"

* Unix (non-GNU gettext)

  To be documented

* Windows

  See issue #1977 in the subversion issue tracker

Verifying your po file

Before submitting to the mailing list or committing to the repository,
please make sure your po file 'compiles'.  You can do this with these
steps (on Makefile based systems):

1) run './'
2) run './configure' (with the appropriate arguments)
3) run 'make locale'

The step is important, since it adds new po files as
dependencies of the 'locale' build target.  Note however that steps 1
and 2 are only needed once after you have added a new translation.

Submitting your po file

Please don't mail large po files to the mailing lists.  There are many
subscribers on who are on slow links and do
not want to receive a large file by email.  Instead, place the po file
somewhere on the Internet for download, and just post the URL.  If you
do not have a site available, please ask on dev@ and someone will help
you find a location.

Of course, if you have commit access to the Subversion repository, you
can just commit the po file there, assuming all other requirements
have been satisfied.

Updating existing po files

The Makefile based part of the build system contains a make target to
facilitate maintenance of existing po files.  To update po files on
systems with GNU gettext run

    make locale-gnu-po-update

To only update a particular language, you may use

    make locale-gnu-po-update PO=ll

where ll is the name of the po file without the extension (i.e. PO=sv).

It is recommended that the .po update is done by using two commits; one
after the "make locale-gnu-po-update", and one after the translation is
done. This has two advantages:

- gettext(1) produces lots of line number changes which makes the
  resulting diff hard to review by the other translators. By committing
  twice, all the line number changes are stored in the first commit, and
  the second commit contains all the actual translations with no extra
- If there are several translators for a specific language (which is
  highly preferred by the project) you don't risk working for hours just
  to find that some other translator already has done the job when
  you're finished. You will immediately notice that someone else is
  working on the .po file when you try to perform the first commit,
  because svn will tell you that the file is outdated.

Maintenance on branches

Editing po files in trunk is pretty straightforward, but gets a bit more
complicated when those changes are going to be transferred to a release
branch.  Project policy is to make no direct changes on release branches,
everything that is committed to the branch should be merged from trunk.
This also applies to po files.  Using 'svn merge' to do the job can lead
to conflicts and fuzzy messages due to the changes in line numbers and
string formatting done by gettext.

The scheme below eliminates any complexity which exists when using 'svn
merge' to do branch updates. The following rules apply:

- Translation updates go to trunk
- Messages required on the branch which ever existed on trunk
  get merged from trunk
- There are 2 mass operations allowed on po files on branches:
  * 'make locale-gnu-po-update'
  * merging messages from trunk (see below)
- The remaining few messages which never existed on trunk
  in any revision are translated on the branch
- Message options (such as fuzzy) can be tweaked

The above list is a complete enumeration of all operations allowed on
po files on branches.

Merging messages from trunk revision X of YY.po to your branch working
copy can be done with this command:

  svn cat -r X | \ YY.po

Requirements for po and mo files

On some gettext implementations we have to ensure that the mo files -
whether obtained through the project or created locally - are encoded
using UTF-8.  This requirement stem from the fact that Subversion uses
UTF-8 internally, some implementations translate to the active locale
and the fact that bind_textdomain_codeset() is not portable across

To satisfy this requirement po files are required to be UTF-8 encoded.
If the gettext implementation on the target system doesn't support
bind_textdomain_codeset(), the build system will ensure that the mo
file is in UTF-8 by removing the Content-Type header from the po file
header.  Note that some msgfmt utilities dislike the absence of the
charset designator and will generate warnings along the lines of
"Won't be able to do character set conversion" because of it.  You can
safely ignore these warnings.

Conventions for the empty string msgid section

Some gettext implementations use a section with a msgid "" (empty
string) to keep administrative data.  One of the headers suggested is
the 'Last-Translator:' field.  Because the Subversion project has a
policy not to name contributors in specific files, but give credit in
the repository log messages, you are required not to put your name in
this field.

Since some tools require this field to consider the po file valid
(i.e. Emacs PO Mode), you can put "" into
this field.

Translation teams

The GNU translation project
( attempts to organise
translation attempts and get translators for various packages.  Some
teams have guidelines to stimulate consistency across packages.

Single versus double quotes

The project has standardised the use of quotes.  Some translation
teams have done the same.  If there is no translation team for your
locale or they did not standardise quoting, please follow the project
guidelines per www/hacking.html.  If they did: follow them :-)

Error message conventions

Since translators will generally see all error messages in the code,
it's important to know that there is a special section in
www/hacking.html about this category of strings.  Here the same
applies as does for the quotes: Adhere to them on all points for which
there is no explicit policy set out by the translation team for your

vim: set tw=72 ts=2 sw=2 sts=2 et fo-=2w fo+=n js :