We tend to neglect the importance of the translation projects, thinking that the majority of our users speaks the English language well and does not need any documents in other languages. It is not really true, though. Expert users tend to speak English well, but nowadays the UNIX-like systems are not limited to expensive servers and workstations because they can serve as a cheap and efficient replacement for the commercial desktop operating systems, too. FreeBSD also aims to be a multi-purpose operating system and its derived projects, TrueOS and GhostBSD are especially designed for desktop users. There are ongoing efforts to make FreeBSD easier to install so that everybody can install it on their own desktop system. Apart from this, it is also necessary to provide more language support for those, who don't speak English so well. Furthermore, the user basis what we can get by providing better language support will thank us the effort; don't forget that contributors will grow up from users and committers will grow up from contributors. Summarizing this, language support is demanded, useful and shows up as an "added value" of a software product.
What I get if I translate?
First of all, you get respect. Users will say thanks to you and will respect you for what you have done for them. Secondly, there's no better translator reference than a published translation on a website of such a well-known and respected product, like FreeBSD. It is something that you can make use of, that you can present in your CV as a working experience of a translator. Thirdly, FreeBSD uses a well-designed infrastructure of its documentation using technologies and standards, like SGML, XML, XSLT, HTML, DocBook, DSSSL, CSS. Using these tools to design infrastructures to develop technical documentation is an independent profession, which is called Documentation Engineer. At the first sight, this markup might seem complicated and difficult to you, but if you are committed enough, you can get some knowledge of it, which is again, something like that you can make use of in your career.
How to start out?
If there is an existing documentation project for your language, refer to the appropriate link below for the details about joining. If there's no such project yet, you can refer to the doc@FreeBSD.org mailing list for further information. GáborKövesdán is also happy to give a helping hand to new volunteers wanting to join the project.
Also, it's worth noting that <wblock AT FreeBSD.org> is working on the translation infrastructure. You might want to send him an email if you're starting out.
General Advice for Translators
- Use a unified comment in each source file to identify the original English revision from which you have made the translation. This will help you later identify the changed parts between the translated revision and the actual English revision. All you will have to do is to make a diff between the two relevant revisions of the English file and check what has been changed.
- Each translator team should maintaining the publicity by adding general information here below on its page and maintaining up to date TODO list and instructions for new volunteers about joining.