FreeBSD Developer Summit Documentation Translation System Session

May 15th (Thursday), room will be announced when it is known.


As part of the May 2014 FreeBSD developer summit, this working group will work on better ways to support our documentation translations and the teams that do them. The FreeBSD Documentation (handbook, FAQ, articles, website) is translated from US english (abbr. en_US) into different languages in order to allow people not fluent in english to understand and use FreeBSD.

Current Status of Translations

At present, only a few people (namely, two) per translation project take care of updating the documents and translating them into their local language. This is mostly a manual process, comparing revisions, editing documents by hand and committing them to the official FreeBSD repo (or filing doc PRs with patches attached). This process is tedious and translations in general can not keep up with the pace of changes that are happening in just one en_US document alone (the handbook is a good example). Some translation projects seem abandoned altogether and one reason might be that a manual approach to translation is simply not the way to keep folks motivated in doing it.


There are tools available to help translators keep up with the translation work. We want to explore what tools can be used with our doc toolchain to simplify the process. The goal of the workig group is to try to enhance what we already have, discuss open questions and possible solutions. We want to see our docs being translated faster to keep up with the original en_US version changes, revive translation projects, and maybe add a few new ones, too.

One idea is to use gettext tools to extract the strings form the xml documents. These strings would then be translated with the help of a translation memory (basically, a database of already translated strings, terms and phrases that will be built up over time). Afterwards, the strings will be put back into the xml documents and be committed to the doc repo.

A nice side effect of this approach is that these strings don't have to be translated by someone with a doc commit bit. We could present those strings on a web page (PC-BSD does this with a textproc/pootle server) and let people submit translations to those strings to a database. A doc committer would then select the best strings to be put into the translated documents (making changes if needed), compile, review, and commit it to the repo.



1) Presentation on how translation is currently done by using the FreeBSD German Documentation Project as an example

2) Demonstration of how gettext tools can be used to help support the translation process

3) List of things that are needed (like scripts, solutions to edge cases) and people willing to help out

4) Open Discussion


If you would like to participate, contact the chairpersons below and CC devsummit@. You will be then added to this page. Please include a list of things you want to talk about or the areas you are interested in. This helps in planning the session and to bring people together with common interests.

Important note: Even though you may not speak a second language, you should still participate. You can help us with scripting and automating the process and if you know or even use gettext and/or other translation tools, you are welcome to share your knowledge and ideas.




Topics of Interest

Other Notes



Translation, using better tools, automation

Session chair (1/2)


Session chair (1/2)


translation work



Making translations easier

Benjamin Kaduk


Making translations easier

David Croal




Chinese and other wide-character languages

Andy Nagle


Walt Croom


Slides & Notes

BSDCAN2014TranslationWG.pdf BSDCanDevSummitDocWG.pdf

201405DevSummit/Translation (last edited 2014-05-15 21:29:54 by BenedictReuschling)