Contributor Roles & Guidelines

Thank you for joining the Localization Lab’s efforts to translate and localize internet freedom tools for users around the world. Translation is challenging work, and we are committed to providing the best possible translations of these tools for the users who need them. There are many people involved in that process, from the developers who build the tools to the translators who translate each word of text, to the reviewers who check all translations for accuracy, and finally the coordinators for each project or tool who ensure that translations move forward and are integrated into tool updates when they are complete.

Over the past months, based on feedback and input from all areas of the community, some best practices have emerged for people filling each of those different roles. Below we share those best practices in order to set expectations in terms of the work we are all taking on, to improve efficiency of localization using Transifex, and to create processes that will help us all work better together to get these tools to the users around the world who are looking for ways to be safe in their online activities.



Developer / Project Manager

The tool developers provide the content and context which makes translation and dissemination of these essential technologies possible. A little bit of time on the developer side spent thinking about localization and preparing your tool for it, can make the localization process significantly smoother and faster.

  1. Plan for localization. If you want your product to be translated efficiently and effectively, creating a localization plan with an awareness of the needs of your tool and your target community is essential. Remember that localization takes time and focus. Consider string freezes to allow translators to complete work unhindered by new and updated source strings.

  2. Designate a localization lead. Having a person on your team responsible for communication regarding localization will streamline the process.

  3. Prepare the strings for translation. Break the text into small chunks, taking care not to break it in the middle of sentences. Use language that is understandable and translatable. When complicated technical terms or neologisms must be used, ensure they are clearly defined in the glossary. Limit colloquialisms. It is also critical to ensure the English versions of the strings being submitted for translation are correct--make sure the tool is fully reviewed by a native English speaker for accuracy before submitting for translation!

  4. Be aware of your audience. Consider wording and tone and how it might translate into other languages and cultural contexts, and provide guidance for the translators regarding the tone you would like them to take (formal/informal, personal/professional, etc.).

  5. Provide context for translation. Use the Instructions field in the Web Editor to provide translators with context when possible. Basic information identifying the location of the string within an application, clarifying grammatical elements (part of speech etc.), referencing related strings, or even providing a link to a screenshot of the string in context can significantly help translators as they strive to provide accurate translations.

  6. Communicate with your translation team. The localization process will require communication, particularly with any language coordinators supporting the translation of your tool. If you have a strong language coordinator, communicate with the coordinator and let the coordinator manage the translation team. Without a coordinator, you will want to communicate directly with the translators using Announcements in Transifex and the Localization Lab Google Group. Ensure that needs, deadlines, target release dates, and any upcoming changes to the team or the product etc. are actively communicated to the language coordinators, and be responsive when they reach out to you with questions from the translators.

  7. Prepare the glossary. Ensure the glossary for your tool contains keywords and terms so that it can be completed and provide consistent guidance for the translators working on your tool.

  8. Prioritize translation quality. Avoid including incomplete, unreviewed and machine translations in an application when possible. If translation and review need to be expedited for a release date, communicate with language coordinators and Localization Lab staff so that they can provide support and reach out to translators.

  9. Incorporate finished translations into your tool. When translations have been completed and reviewed, remember to incorporate them into your next release and publicize it! Let the community know when your project is available in a new language so that we can use and help promote the tool in that language.

  10. Honor and motivate your translators. Translators are volunteering their time to provide an essential service. You can honor that work by thanking them with a mention on your website or in the software, and even more so by letting them know how that translation is having an impact. Has a new Farsi translation led to 3,000 new Farsi-speaking users?  Share the news!

Translator

The translators are the foundation of the Localization Lab community. The time and efforts you put in make it possible for people around the world to access the essential tools that can protect their privacy and their freedom. In order to be effective as a translator and make a valuable contribution to this work, this is what you need to do:

  1. Review our Getting Started Guide, create an account for yourself on Transifex and select the project you want to work on.

  2. Communicate with the Project and Language Coordinators regarding how much involvement you plan to have in the project translation and whether you have any experience with translation. How many hours can you contribute and during what time period?  If you’re not sure, make that clear to the Coordinator. This communication is really important as Project Coordinators may remove translators from projects if they believe they are no longer interested in participating.

  3. Communicate with fellow translators! When you encounter a recurring error or are confused by a translation choice, communicate with translators to resolve the issue. Open dialogue will provide other reviewers and translators with context and will help to avoid future misunderstanding. Dialogue can happen via the Comment or Issue functions for a particular string or through a language-specific Discussion for the project team. *Remember that language is fluid and that this is a group effort - differing opinions should be respected.*

  4. Follow the glossary. There is a glossary for each project and language which provides guidance on how specific words in that project have been translated in the past. Following the glossary ensures that you translate those words the same way as other translators on the project have done and that consistency of language will make the tool much easier to use for end users. Note: Do not change the translations of words you find in the glossary. If you think a glossary term is incorrect, let your Project Coordinator know!

  5. Communicate translation progress. Notify a Project Coordinator, Language Coordinator or Localization Lab staff if you complete translation of a resource. This will let coordinators - who are stretched across multiple resources and projects - know when review of strings can begin and will lead to the more timely incorporation of your translations into an application.

  6. Remain active on your project! Keep translating whenever you can and let your Project Coordinator know if you are unable to continue for any reason. As a volunteer community, we rely on each other to ensure this critical work gets done, and ongoing activity and open communication help that collaboration to work smoothly.

Reviewer

Reviewers play a critical role in ensuring that translations are high quality and the language is truly consistent and accessible to the target audience.

  1. Communicate with the Project and Language Coordinators regarding how much involvement you plan to have in the project and whether you have any experience with translation and review. How many hours can you contribute and during what time period?  If you’re not sure, make that clear to the Coordinator. This communication is really important as Project Coordinators may remove participants from projects if they believe they are no longer interested in participating.

  2. Communicate with fellow translators! When you encounter a recurring error or are confused by a translation choice, communicate with translators to resolve the issue. Open dialogue will provide other reviewers and translators with context and will help to avoid future misunderstanding. Dialogue can happen via the Comment or Issue functions for a particular string or through a language-specific Discussion for the project team. *Remember that language is fluid and that this is a group effort - differing opinions should be respected.*

  3. Set aside the time. Translation review is a detail-oriented process that can actually take more time and attention than translating from scratch. Set aside a chunk of time that you can dedicate specifically to review.

  4. Follow the glossary. There is a glossary for each project and language which provides guidance on how specific words in that project have been translated in the past. Review the tool’s glossary for key terms so that you can ensure that translations accurately reflect the glossary. Following the glossary ensures that translations are completed the same way throughout the project and that consistency of language will make the tool much easier to use for end users. Note: Do not change the translations of words you find in the glossary. If you think a glossary term is incorrect, let your Language Coordinator know!

  5. Fill in translation gaps. If there are strings remaining untranslated as you go through the review process, you can fill in those gaps and translate the strings directly.

  6. Communicate review progress. Notify a Project Coordinator, Language Coordinator or Localization Lab staff if you complete review of a resource. This will let coordinators - who are stretched across multiple resources and projects - know when a resource is ready to be pulled and will lead to the more timely incorporation of your translations into an application.

  7. Remain active on your project! Keep reviewing and translating whenever you can and let your Project Coordinator know if you are unable to continue for any reason. As a volunteer community, we rely on each other to ensure this critical work gets done, and ongoing activity and open communication help that collaboration to work smoothly.

Language Coordinator

For each tool, the Language Coordinator acts as an intermediary between the tool developers and the community of translators for a particular language.

  1. Reach out to new translators. When a new translator comes on board for your language, reach out to that person to welcome him or her into the community and find out key background, like what translation the person has done before and where the inspiration originated to join the Localization Lab community. That initial outreach will allow you to better support and motivate that new translator.

  2. Communicate with developers. Be in active contact with the developer team for the tool you are supporting. That includes reminding them of the developer best practices (above) and ensuring they share the necessary information for effective translation, including glossary terms, tone and context. It also includes updating developers when translations are complete and asking them to share key information with the larger community, including release dates and testing opportunities and impact.

  3. Communicate with the translators. As the intermediary between developers and translators, you are in a position to share with the developers where the translators are struggling with their tool. That includes being in contact with active translators to understand how they are doing, to ask them to increase efforts in certain areas to finish a high priority project, or to get their feedback to pass on to devs. It also means listening to reviewers to understand where they see consistent issues coming up in translation so that those can be addressed with both translators and developers. Finally, it includes sharing with the translators messages from the developers about the impact of their work to encourage them to keep up their important work!

  4. Be the motivator. As the Language Coordinator, you are the backstop for translations in your language. If you see that translations remain unfinished, reach out to translators to ask them to renew their involvement, communicate the needs to your translator community, and don’t hesitate to pitch in to ensure the job gets done.

  5. Fill in translation gaps. If there are strings remaining untranslated by translators or reviewers, you can fill in those gaps and translate the strings directly.

  6. Communicate translation progress. Notify a Project Coordinator or Localization Lab staff if translation and review of a project is complete so that all of your hard work can be incorporated into an application as soon as possible.

  7. Maintain communication with the Localization Lab staff. Language Coordinators should remain in contact with the Localization Lab staff, who oversee all the projects in our Transifex Hub. Maintaining contact about project progress and issues that arise within the translation team will ensure that the learning and progress made on your project can be shared with other Language Coordinators across the Hub.

  8. Contribute to Localization Lab events! Join our bi-weekly community meetings, our annual Localization Summit and Sprint and other virtual and in-person events Localization Lab hosts throughout the year. These events are a great way to engage with developers and other translators from around the world. More information about upcoming events is available on the Events page of our site.