Localising the ANLoc manual

The African Network for Localisation (ANLoc) developed a training manual for FOSS localisation. You can find it here: http://www.africanlocalisation.net/foss-localisation-manual

If you are interested in localising this manual into your language, this page gives an outline of what is required. It is a big process, and takes a lot of time.

Although the manual can obviously be improved, we are very proud of the it, and want to make sure that translated versions are of high quality. Therefore we follow a long process with lots of review, and only aim for fully translated versions of the manual. Although a single person can probably do this, it is highly recommended that you get people to help you. It is most strongly advised for reviewing terminology and for reviewing the final document.

The manual is translated as a PO file, and converted to an ODF from which the PDF file is generated. The images are translated manually in a vector drawing program (Inkscape). Here is a rough outline of the process:

Localisation brief: About the book

The book is part of ANLoc’s mission of uplifting people in Africa through improvements in localisation. The message is by no means limited to Africa or Africans, but maybe it is good to keep this in mind as a start.

The typical readers include:

  • Professional translators who don’t know about localisation
  • FOSS contributors who might want to learn more about localisation
  • Existing localisers that might want to improve their skills. This is a useful book to give to new members in any team, and it should probably be accompanied by language and/or project specific guidelines for the team.

We didn’t want the text to be too technical or demanding. We aimed at about 50 pages, and ended only slightly over that. So this is meant as a reasonably short introductory text, with links to useful external resources. The primary goal was for training events in Africa, but of course we are happy for anything it could be useful for.

We assume that the reader is mostly computer literate and can probably use a word processor and web browser comfortably already.

For the English version we assumed that most readers won’t be native speakers of English, and might not have very good command of professional/technical English. For the future editions, we hope to do some readability studies. If you are translating into a language of wide use (with lots of second language speakers) let’s aim for such a second language speaker, or at least keep them in mind.

All the examples are with English source text, and we propose that all the examples remain unchanged, including their translations. Please compare with the original PDF to see what the context is. Please don’t try to translate the Northern Sotho examples :-)

It will be up to you to decide how this impacts your style, choice of words, and anything else you might think of. Feel free to share ideas or raise issues with us or on our mailing lists.

I’m sure you want to do this well, so don’t be afraid to ask if anything is unclear, or there is a way in which we can help to make it better.

About the title

The book is not just about tips and tricks on the nitty-gritty of translation. It is not just a reference manual. We feel we incorporated useful instructions on how to think strategically and work on longer term goals, such as uniform style, team building, and ultimately, advancement of the language. We hope we made a convincing case for why localisation is important, and can be effective, even for currently marginalised languages (like most in Africa, the primary audience). The words “effect” and “effective” should therefore be kept in mind when reading the title.

So a longer, less elegant version of the title would be “How to change the world by doing localisation”. You should fee free to translate the title freely to something that will work as a title, but please satisfy our curiosity and tell us what you are considering :-)