Localization Lab Community Updates: June 12, 2018

* LocLab community meeting, Upcoming Courier and SecureDrop translation & review deadlines, help us draft a process for creating style guides.

Upcoming Events

LocLab Community Meeting

Mark your calendars! We will be hosting another community meeting this Friday, June 15th at 14:00 UTC and would love to hear from new and returning voices in the community. The meeting will be held on Jitsi Meet.

This is an opportunity to ask questions, bring up concerns, make suggestions and propose projects that you think will move the Localization Lab community forward. It is also an opportunity to interact with fellow contributors and put voices to usernames.

Please feel free to suggest topics for discussion in the open notes document.

Even if you are not able to attend, feel free to add topics and questions that you would like us to cover in the meeting.

Project Updates


Courier, the app formerly known as SecureReader, is a mobile news reader for Android that allows you to securely read, store and share news. Courier is ideal for users in regions where the network is slow, being monitored or manipulated and for users who prefer to use public networks as little as possible.

A new version of Courier will be deployed in the coming months with significant updates. Localization Lab is actively coordinating the translation and review of several languages, however anyone who would like to see Courier available in a particular language is welcome to contribute translations & review prior to the 30th of June in order to have them included in the next release of Courier.

You can access Translator Guidelines and play with a recent test APK which has several full and partial translations available.

Please contact erinm if you would like help finding individuals to collaborate with you on a particular language. A big thank you to everyone who has worked on translation and review of the project thus far.


SecureDrop dropped new strings yesterday! What does that mean? You have until the 18th of June to provide feedback on the strings and make any recommendations for changes before a string freeze takes effect through the 25th of June when translation and review for the next release of SecureDrop are due.

Translations available in prior SecureDrop releases will need translation and review of the few new strings, so if you contributed to either translation or review, please take a look at the new content when you have a moment.

Finnish, Polish, Romanian and Vietnamese translations of SecureDrop are almost 100% finished! If you would like to see SecureDrop available for organizations working in any of those languages, let us know if you can contribute to translation or review.

You can keep up with the SecureDrop localization schedule on the SecureDrop forum

Working Groups

Drafting a Style Guide

We are looking for more individuals who are interested in trying out a test approach to building language team style guides using existing Mozilla style guides as a base. In addition to testing and developing the approach to building style guides using framaGit, we are also looking for more input on key content you want to see in a Style Guide for your language team and how you would prefer to access the end product.

If you are interested in joining the conversation and contributing, you can contact erinm or contribute to the thread in the SecureDrop forum.

Localization Lab Community Updates: June 05, 2018

Staff Announcement

We are very excited to introduce Andrea Chong Bras to the community as our new Localization Associate! The Localization Lab community has grown exponentially over the past several years and we are pleased to have Andrea join us to assist with community management and outreach so that we can better understand volunteer needs and priorities and continue to strengthen our community networks.

Andrea has worked in education and translation projects for the past 10 years and speaks Spanish and Portuguese. She also has experience in workshop facilitation and community management for community-based initiatives across different sectors. Most recently, Andrea has been localizing projects with Localization Lab and is very excited to have a bigger role in the Localization Lab community. 

Please join us in welcoming Andrea to her new role in the Localization Lab community!

You can find Andrea on Mattermost (@acb555) and get in touch by email (andrea@localizationlab.org).

Upcoming Events

LocLab Community Meeting

Mark your calendars! We will be hosting another community meeting this Friday, June 15th at 14:00 UTC and would love to hear from new and returning voices in the community. The meeting will be held on Jitsi Meet.

This is an opportunity to ask questions, bring up concerns, make suggestions and propose projects that you think will move the Localization Lab community forward. It is also an opportunity to interact with fellow contributors and put voices to usernames.

Please feel free to suggest topics for discussion in the open notes document.

Even if you are not able to attend, feel free to add topics and questions that you would like us to cover in the meeting.

Project Updates

Psiphon 3

A new version of Psiphon 3 for Android and Windows has been deployed with the recently finished Afaan Oromoo and Tigrinya translations! Psiphon 3 is now available in Tigrinya, Amharic and Afaan Oromoo to support Ethiopian users.

Are you connected to networks in Ethiopia? Do you speak Tigrinya, Afaan Oromoo or Amharic? Share the news, download the application and give us your feedback!

Platform Updates

Transifex Filter Updates

Transifex has updated their (recently updated) web editor search filters, allowing users to search for multiple tags at once and offering suggestions when searching for a tag. You can also now filter strings by developer notes, instructions and issue status.

Project owners take note: Being able to search by issue status will now allow you to filter strings based on whether they have an open issue, a closed issue or no issue. This will allow you to respond to contributor issues more effectively.

You can view all of the available filters in the updated Transifex documentation.

May Translation & Review Contributions

In May we welcomed 30 new contributors to projects in the Localization Lab Hub. These new volunteers are contributing to projects in Dutch, Greek, Norwegian (Bokmål), Persian, Italian, Gujarati, Hindi, Simplified Chinese, Arabic, Gujarati, Polish, Romanian, Russian, Georgian, Galician, Spanish, German, Catalan, French.

Over the course of the month roughly 410,023 words were translated, 265,556 words were edited and 9,318 were reviewed across Localization Lab supported projects in the Transifex hub.

Summary: SecureDrop AMA

Summary: SecureDrop AMA

Thank you to all who participated in the recent Ask Me Anything with the SecureDrop team! The discussion was littered with diverse questions about who uses and can use SecureDrop, the tool's technical features and localization needs. Below you will find some key resources and questions as well as an abridged transcript of the discussion.

Want to see more AMAs with Localization Lab supported projects? Let us know who you would like to see an AMA for or if you are a project that would like to host one.

Call for Applicants: FIFAfrica17 Localization Sprint


Localization Lab is coming to the 2017 Forum on Internet Freedom in Africa (#FIFAfrica17)!

Date: September 26th & 27th, 2017
Time: 08:00 - 17:30
Venue: Sunnyside Park Hotel, Princess Of Wales Terrace, Parktown, Johannesburg, Gauteng

FIFAfrica brings together a diverse set of stakeholders to discuss the future and advancement of Internet freedom in Africa over the course of several days. This year's event is taking place from the 26th to 29th of September in Johannesburg and Localization Lab will be there hosting a Localization Sprint to adapt digital security and circumvention technology into local languages!

This workshop is the perfect opportunity to advance adoption of Internet freedom tools in Africa through translation of technologies and creation of key resources to support the education, training and adaptation of digital security and circumvention tools going forward. At the Localization Sprint participants will address the linguistic biasses in existing technology and discuss adaptation of technology and resources to meet the needs of local communities. The two-day workshop will include collaborative translation and review of select digital security and circumvention tools into local languages with special focus placed on the standardization of digital security terminology and technical language.

If you are attending FIFAfrica and are interested in participating, apply here.

Registration deadline: September 22nd, 2017

New Project: FreedomBox

New Project: FreedomBox

We are excited to announce that FreedomBox is joining the Localization Lab community!

FreedomBox is a simple private server, wireless internet router, and multi-purpose tool designed to create internet freedom with only free software and inexpensive hardware. FreedomBox is a Debian-based system designed to protect against data-mining, surveillance, and censorship. It empowers users to leave the cloud and take control of their data by hosting services on a private server.

And to welcome FreedomBox into the fold and properly introduce the project, we will be hosting an Ask Me Anything with the FreedomBox team on Saturday, September 30th at 14:00 UTC in the Localization Lab Mattermost channel! Mark your calendars and come ready with any questions and feedback that you might have. This event will be open to all, regardless of your familiarity with FreedomBox.

Summary: Tor Project AMA

Thank you to all who attended and contributed to the Localization Lab’s inaugural Mattermost Ask Me Anything with the Tor Project! The event was a great success thanks to your insightful questions and the broad range of talent that the Tor Project brought to the discussion!

Want to see more AMAs with Localization Lab supported projects? Let us know who you would like to see an AMA for or if you are a project that would like to participate.

Tor Project Attendees

@arma: Roger Dingledine, the original Tor person
@tomrittervg: Tom Ritter, long-time Tor volunteer and currently working for Mozilla on Tor Browser Patch Uplift and supporting Tor Browser
@arthuredelstein: Arthur, Tor Browser developer
@mcs: Mark Smith, tor Browser developer
@phoul: Colin Childs, Tor Support and Localization Coordinator
@flexlibris: Alison, Tor Community Team Lead

Key Takeaways & Questions

Tor Resources you may have forgotten about:

Getting up to speed on Tor's past, present, and future
The ultimate Tor resource that will point you to all of the documentation and information Tor has available for users and contributors, including the Legal FAQ, Tor blog, Tor bugtracker, Tor mailing list etc.

Tor Introductory Brochure
A printable brochure intended for skeptics and individuals unfamiliar with Tor. The brochure is currently available in 11 languages, but the team would love to have it available in more. Follow the link for translation instructions.

Contact Tor:

IRC: You can find the Tor team on irc.oftc.net in one of the following channels depending on your topic:
#tor: For general Tor questions and support. For users of Tor.
#tor-project: Discussion related to events, outreach and translation.
#tor-dev: For those interested in Tor development.

Some Discussion Outcomes:

  • The Tor team will consider including up-to-date translations in nightly builds.
  • Tor Project may consider translating the Tor user manual into languages for which there are no current Tor translations.
  • Bundling languages into the Tor Browser (like Firefox) is a possibility. It does not appear to require significant resources.
  • The Tor Project and Psiphon are both interested in initiating discussions on how to improve user feedback. If you are interested in helping push forward these discussions, please contact us.
  • There is interest from Localization Lab and the Tor Project in how to build narratives for different communities surrounding using Tor. If you are interested in contributing to further discussion, please contact us.

Selected Questions:

*Note that this is only a selection of the questions asked during the AMA. A manicured version of all of the AMA questions is available on our site (We highly recommend - it's a good read!) and the full unabridged conversation is available on our Mattermost channel. Questions and Answers below have in most cases been paraphrased.


What is the Tor support portal and how will it be structured?

phoul: “The Tor Project has historically provided support through mailing lists, irc, and we also had a proper help-desk open for a period of time. Unfortunately, this help-desk became overloaded with support requests, which made us decide to put the effort into writing a proper support portal. Currently the community team is writing content for this portal, and working on the initial stages of design.

...the support portal is largely intended to be a resource for users. We will have a way for users to provide feedback, however a direct support function through the portal may not be a feature. We would likely have users contact an email address as a last resort, rather than having an interface on the portal for chat or similar.”

How can I get more involved in the Tor community?

The first steps to getting more involved in the Tor community include joining the Tor mailing list and stopping in at the weekly Tor community meeting which takes place (nearly) every Wednesday on IRC. Connect to the #tor-project channel on irc.oftc.net for more information.

Are there any more Tor AMAs coming up?

Tune into the #tor-project channel on irc.oftc.net for information on an /r/Tor ama that is under discussion

Localization and User Feedback:

What is the best way to contact the Tor Team about localization issues?

The best way to contact the Tor team about localization issues is by emailing the Localization Coordinator, Colin Childs (aka @phoul). Colin is also available for direct message in our Mattermost channel.

Why isn’t the Tor website translated?

The Tor team is currently in the process of updating the Tor website and creating a Tor support portal which will serve as a resource for Tor users (as opposed to the Q&A format of the Tor StackExchange) Once the website and the support portal are finished, they will be made available for translation.

Are there any languages that you constantly struggle to have updated translations for, but are in large demand?

phoul: “For languages, I dont think there is anything we are constantly in demand of and do not have. We are very lucky to have such a wide translator coverage on Transifex.”

Are there current plans to make usability updates to Tor?

Yes, and you can get involved by joining the Tor UX team which meets once a week on IRC.

In Tor development, how important is user feedback from around the globe, and more closed societies in particular? And how can individual users safely help provide the data and feedback you need to make the Tor Network work more effectively in their communities?

flexlibris: “user feedback is hugely important, especially from places where we don't have strong community representation yet.”

You can provide feedback by communicating with the Tor team on IRC (irc.oftc.net at #tor, #tor-project, and #tor-dev) and by writing good tickets using the Tor Project’s bug tracker.

If you are from a closed society or a region facing severe censorship, it would be helpful for you to join the Tor community team to give ongoing feedback to Tor developers and help build Tor communities in your region.

Tor Censorship:

How is Tor being blocked in Egypt and elsewhere?

The Tor network is made up of about 7000 relays, run by volunteers around the world. If you can reach those relays, the Tor network aims to provide you security and privacy, but also alo you to circumvent censorship.

Simple censorship tools block the Tor website to keep you from downloading the Tor Browser and accessing the Tor network. If you already have the Tor Browser downloaded, this approach will not block your access to the Tor network.
More complex censorship tools try to block your access to the Tor network by blocking your connections to the 7,000 Tor relays. This can be done by blocking a list of all of the 7,000 relay addresses or by trying to block the Tor protocol and anyone who speaks it.

Even more dedicated censors do "deep packet inspection" (DPI), which recognizes Internet traffic by protocol and requires changing what the Tor network protocols look like. This is where "pluggable transports" come into play. Pluggable transports basically add another layer of encryption on top of your Tor traffic to disguise it and make it more difficult to block. The most common pluggable transport is currently “obfs4.”

While Egypt's censorship situation seems to change by the week, according to the OONI Project, DPI is being used.

How can I get around censorship of Tor in Egypt and elsewhere?

When relays are being blocked by address, Tor bridges can be used to access the Tor network. Bridges are like Tor relays, however they are not listed publically, so they are harder to block.

When opening the Tor Browser, you can choose to use one of the default bridges included in the Tor Browser or you can add custom bridges. Visit bridges.torproject.org to access bridge addresses which can be added as custom bridges in the Tor Browser.

Apparently, the default obfs4 bridges available in the Tor Browser still work in Egypt.

Can Tor bridges be blocked?

The default bridges in Tor Browser can be blocked (roughly 30 addresses). This does not often happen however. Most often only the Tor website is blocked, and then less often, “Vanilla” Tor (Tor without bridges).

If “Vanilla” Tor is blocked, first try to use the default bridges provided in the Tor Browser. If those don't work, visit bridges.torproject.org, get a few bridge addresses, and put them into the Tor Browser.

In Egypt, is censorship of the Tor website and network being done in a centralized manner or on the ISP level?
The seems the only thing universally blocked in Egypt is the Tor website. Otherwise it appears that censorship of the Tor network varies based on network and time period. Some users are able to access Vanilla Tor, while some are not.

It is possible that censorship is happening on the ISP level by government order, with each ISP using different censorship tools.

How hard would it be for Egypt to use the same DPI tools to start blocking obsf4-encrypted traffic?

arma: “actually, very few of the dpi tools can block obfs4. it's designed to be hard to recognize any headers in. so most of the censors around the world don't know how to recognize obfs4 traffic.”

Tor browser supports snowflake now. Will there be any new PT protocol like obfs5? obfs4 bridges might be blocked some day in country like China and meek is slow and expensive.

arma: “Snowflake is a great upcoming pluggable transport option. The snowflake developers seem to have slowed down though, so I don't know what their future plans are. It needs some more work to be more usable.

There are some known deficiencies in obfs4, and people have designs for an improved version. But right now nobody is developing it. There are some other groups out there, like brandon wiley, who are developing their own thing that we hope will be an improvement.”

Could Tor make it easier to use Tor Browser with circumvention tools like goagent and shadowsocks?

arma: “the tor browser people are wary of making it look like we 'endorse' one of these random third-party things

that said, i think looking at the usability side of things, and what can be changed in tor browser to make it easier for people to do it themselves, sounds really smart.”

Is it useful to run an entry node inside a country where Tor censorship occurs?

arma: “that's a complicated one. yes, in that more relays are good for building the capacity of the tor network. yes, in that maybe surveillance is only done at the country's borders, so it would be safer to use an entry node inside. no, in that maybe the surveillance is done throughout the country, in which case you're not buying yourself anything. in many countries, if they block the tor protocol well enough, running a relay inside that country will basically not work, since that relay can't reach enough other relays.

for example, a while ago mexico was blocking connections to the tor directory authorities. those are 9 or so relays that together tell the tor users what relays are available. that meant if you used a bridge, you were fine. but if you were a normal relay, and you tried to publish to the directory authorities so you'd be added to the network... your relay would be censored.”