While development usually takes place in English, free software is used by people in hundreds of different languages across the globe.
Launchpad applies two of the great benefits of the open source development model to translating your software:
- anyone can translate and/or suggest translations
- translations are easily shared between projects.
Importantly, Launchpad's simple web interface provides a friendly environment in which non-technical people can help translate your software, while its support of the popular GNU Gettext file formats makes it easy to integrate their work into your project.
We require that all translations made in Launchpad are BSD licensed. This does not apply to translations imported from elsewhere. Read more about translation licensing.
You need to do three things before people can use Launchpad to translate your project:
- Enable translation by following the Change details link on your project's overview page and selecting Translations for this project are done in Launchpad.
- Upload a translation template and any existing translation files to the series you want to translate.
- Choose a permissions policy - i.e. decide who can make what sorts of changes to your translations.
Let's take a look at those in more detail.
Preparing your software for translation
Launchpad uses GNU gettext's file formats to import and and export translations:
.pot: a template that includes the English text that you want people to translate. What's this?
.po: translations for one language in a human-readable and editable form.
.mo: a compiled binary form of a .po file.
You can find out more about these file formats and using GNU gettext in the Gettext manual.
You may also find Malcolm Tredinnick's Gnome internationalisation guide useful, although some of the Gnome policies mentioned in that guide are now out of date.
To make your project available for translation, you must upload at least one .pot translation template file. This file tells Launchpad which English strings you want to make available for translation.
Let us now look at how to get your translation templates into Launchpad.