Translating web pages

The FSFE's work heavily depends on our translators' contributions. They can make our message be heard in the many languages in Europe and the whole world. On this page you will find a short step-by-step guide about how you can help with translations of and other popular FSFE sites, also some Do's and Don'ts and some more detailed information about the coordination between our translators and about the technical background. Further information can be found on our general page about translations.

Length of headlines and news-teasers A headline has a maximum of 80 characters. (Bonus point when your headline is between 40 - 60 characters)

A teaser is between 200 and 350 characters long. (longer teasers will look bad on our front-page)

A teaser is blank text without any link. (any link people can click in the teaser will lead them to another page than your article)

Step-by-step guide

This little guide should only be used if you already know the background of translations: How our pages are generated, how to find out which translations are missing or outdated and so on.

In this example, we want to translate into Spanish. The screenshots may help visualise some steps (be aware that the content of the file may have changed meanwhile, or that your setup may look different!).

  1. Scroll down the page which you want to translate and find Source code in the footer. This links to the git-source file on (Screenshot)

  2. Download the .xhtml file. In the git you will be able to click on Raw and then with Ctrl+S or right click and save page as save the file to your computer (in this case

  3. Write a short e-mail to (you should already be subscribed to this mailing list) and tell them that you start with the translation. Please open for each new page a new thread and add your two letter Language Code in the mail subject (e.g. [ES]) as well as the name of the file that you are translating. For example "[translating] [ES] spread the word page"

  4. Open the downloaded file with a text editor (for example gedit, Kate, Mousepad on GNU/Linux operating systems, Notepad++ on Windows).

  5. Translate all English text outside the HTML tags into your language. For example: <p><a href="/contribute/">Contribute</a></p> should become <p><a href="/contribute/">Colabore</a></p>. (Screenshot)

  6. Please change the two letter Language Code of the translated file from "en" to the one of your language (for example Spanish =

  7. Afterwards, please reply to your thread in and ask other people to proofread your file. If everybody agrees, it will be uploaded by others on the mailing list. (Screenshot) For the subject line it then looks like this: "[needs proofreading] [ES] spread the word page".

When proofreading a translation or the English original please add [proofreading to the subject line. For example "[proofreading] [EN] spread the word page" or "[proofreading] [ES] spread the word page". This makes it easier for the translators to identify the status and if the message is relevant for them.

  1. If possible check how the xhtml file looks like when it is compiled with our webpreview/tool.

  2. If you know how to use git and also have an account you are welcome to make a Commit and Pull Request for If you want to learn how to use git have a look at the First Steps with git wiki-page. After you have committed your Commit or Pull Request make sure to add this information to the subject line of your emails. So the new subject line should look like this: [Commit] [ES] spread the word page

Note: You are also very welcome to add the <translator>Your Name</translator> tag at the end of the translated .xhtml file above the line saying </html>. See also under Contributing missing translations on this wiki page.

Tags for subject lines

* [needs translation/proofreading] [EN]: Initial message sent by staff people, with no intention of translating the text themselves

Tags for subject line including translations

Helpfull tools: Wordlist

Here you find wordlists for different langugages. The list contains some frequently used words and how we prefer to spell them.

How to use webpreview for translations

  1. Take the link of the page you want to translate/proofread from website (or from git source or pull request), paste it into webpreview and press Preview file button. You can also copy/paste the content of the x[ht]ml file.

  2. Press Proofread/Translate button and choose Translate if you want to start a new translation (the language selection is optional but recommended for the future spellcheck functionality), or Proofread if you want to proofread the existing page.

  3. Make your translation/proofread (the page is automatically saved every minute, or you can press again Proofread/Translate button to manually save it). You have a character count for "Title" (max 80) and "Teaser" (max 350). They become red when you exceed the maximum.

  4. Share the number of the PAD or its link (the number after "PAD:" is an hyperlink, you can right click and "Copy Link location") to the Translator mailing list.

  5. Well done!

Do's and Don'ts

More information on translations

Styleguide for English Translations and Text

There is also a styleguide for English versions in the making. Have a look here for more information.

Everybody can contribute translations

All source files (i.e. all XHTML and XML files) are publicly available for download, so everybody can spontaneously contribute a translation without having to register anywhere. However, whenever you start a translation and expect it to take longer, please write a short note to the Translators mailing list to avoid that somebody else starts to work on the same text simultaneously.

Contributing missing translations

If you have a page open in your web browser that has not yet been translated to your language, scroll to the end of the page, click on the Source code link and save the file you get there. You will get the English XHTML file. Rename the file to carry your language code instead of the "en" code, and open it in a text editor. Now, translate all text in the file that is outside the <…> marks; do not change anything inside these marks (the text inside the marks are XHTML commands that influence the structure of the resulting web page).

At the end of the file there will be a line saying </html>. Immediately above this line, add a line saying <translator>your name</translator>.

When you are done, send the translated file to the Translators mailing list. Other members of this list can proofread the translation, and somebody on that list will ultimately post it to the server. Updating outdated translations

If you have a page open in your web browser of which the translation is outdated (indicated by a note at the top of the page), scroll to the end of the page, click on the Source code link and save the file you get there. This file is the (outdated) translated version. Next, use the English link at the top of the page to jump to the English version of the page and click on the Source code link there, too. The file you get there is the (up to date) English version. Now you can compare both files and update the translation. Please notice that everything inside the < … > marks may not be translated.

Alternatively, you may also use the web-based source repository on the fsfe-website Git interface to create diffs, and to see the latest updates for all source files.

When you are done, send the translated file to the Translators mailing list. Other members of this list can proofread the translation, and somebody on that list will ultimately post it to the server.

Finding out what needs work

You can check the translation status page to see which translations of pages are outdated against their English reference versions (more on outdated pages here).

Currently there's no comfortable interface to show files which do not have a translation at all. You can browse on in your language and look out for pages which you like to see translated – just look out for the red warning box above the content body. Alternatively, feel free to ask the other translators how you can help.

Download all source files and edit them on your own

You can also download all source files at once. Please have a closer look at how our web pages are built. Our Web team provides an overview of the systems behind and other popular FSFE websites.

Translating subtitles for videos

You find a collection of subtitles on our download server. If the subtitle you would like to translate feel free to reach out to the translators mailing list and let us know.

Translating Ada & Zangemann book

The source files for the FSFE's childrens book "Ada & Zangemann" can be found in the git repository. Please feel free to reach out to the translators mailing list if you need help or have any question about the translation.

For more advanced translators we also offer direct write access to the FSFE website source repository. Please refer to the Web team's general information page and the detailed wiki page on editing the website's source.

TechDocs/Mainpage/Translations (last edited 2023-03-14 13:23:37 by bonnie)