New Translation Process (Pootle server)

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This wiki page is stored for archiving reasons. The Pootle server at is the standard process for translating Find more information at:

Note: Content of this page will be continuously updated based on discussions on the dev@l10n and dev@qa mailing lists, IRC sessions etc.

This page contains information about the new OOo translation process and about the Pootle server as a central point for storing translatable content.

Why a new translation process?

The main reason of setting up a new translation process was the fact that it's currently hard for Communities to contribute to translation of Sun-supported languages due to various (mostly technical) reasons. The new Pootle-based translation process should overcome these limitations.

What is Pootle?

Pootle stands for PO-based Online Translation / Localization Engine. Pootle is a web portal that allows to translate .po files. The translation can be done online or the .po files can be downloaded, translated offline and then uploaded back. Pootle can be integrated with CVS or SVN.

The official Pootle documentation can be found on here:

Pootle user guides (available in a few languages):


There are several steps involved in the translation process. TBD: Who (Sun/Community) will be responsible for what steps:

  1. checkout of OOo sources from the CVS
  2. extraction of translatable content from the sources
    result: 1 .sdf file per language
  3. each .sdf file converted into .po files
    result: directory tree containing many .po files (1 .sdf file per language becomes many .po files per language)
  4. fixing .po files (some magic done to the .po files) - TBD - add more info
    result: fixed .po files (removed duplicates etc.)
  5. .po files merged with those already stored in Pootle
    result in Pootle: set of .po files (those already translated in previous rounds and those waiting for translation)
  6. translation of untranslated .po files - either directly or offline
    result: all .po files translated
  7. backconversion of .po files into .sdf format
    result: 1 .sdf file per language ready to be imported into the translation database
  8. issue created, .sdf files attached or linked
  9. .sdf file from the issue imported into the translation database
  10. build based on latest translations is created

Pilot Process

There is a pilot process already running (started May 8) for Russian and Khmer languages. The Pootle server can be accessed at


This section will contain questions and answers discussed on the dev@l10n and dev@qa lists.

Q: How will readme.txt/readme.html be handled in future?
A: Strings for readme files are part of the translatable content. This means that they are available in .sdf files along with all other strings (like UI strings and Online Help strings). All lines starting with "readme" in the .sdf file belong to the readme files. There is no difference between translating strings for readme files and translating strings for other parts of OOo - the workflow described above stays the same.

Q: After I log in, I see a page where I am requested to enter personal data: what should be entered in the following fields?
1. Number of rows in translate mode
2. Input Width (in characters)
3. Number of rows in view mode
4. Input Height (in lines)
-ad 1. the number of rows you want to see when you are in translate mode
-ad 2. the width of the inputbox (measured in the number of characters)
-ad 3. the number of rows you want to see when you are in view mode
-ad 4. the number of lines you want to see

Q: When will other languages for OOo like German or Dutch be integrated in Pootle?
A: April 2008 - Dutch localization is integrated in Pootle

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