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Localisation is in general the process of providing a Software with a multiple language user interface. In FreeCAD you can set the language of the user interface under Edit→Preferences→Application. FreeCAD uses Qt to enable multiple language support. On Unix/Linux systems, FreeCAD uses the current locale settings of your system by default.

Helping to translate FreeCAD

One of the very important things you can do for FreeCAD if you are not a programmer, is to help to translate the program in your language. To do so is now easier than ever, with the use of the Crowdin collaborative on-line translation system.

How to Translate

  • Go to the FreeCAD translation project page on Crowdin;
  • Login by creating a new profile, or using a third-party account like your GMail address;
  • Click on the language you wish to work on;
  • Start translating by clicking on the Translate button next to one of the files. For example, FreeCAD.ts contains the text strings for the FreeCAD main GUI.
  • You can vote for existing translations, or you can create your own.
Note: If you are actively taking part in translating FreeCAD and want to be 
informed before next release is ready to be launched, 
so there is time to review your translation, please subscribe 
to one of the Crowdin FreeCAD translation teams.

Preparing your FreeCAD/master modules for translation

These are the parts to the FreeCAD translation process:

  • extract text strings from source code into *.ts files
  • load *.ts files into FreeCAD Crowdin.
  • translation of strings within Crowdin
  • extract modified/new *.ts files from Crowdin
  • convert *.ts files into *.qm files and update each module's *.qrc file
  • update FreeCAD master

All of the above steps are performed by the "translation scripts" which are run by an administrator periodically.

Preparing your module for translation is quite easy. First, you need to ensure that you have a "translations" directory in myModule/Gui/Resources. Then open a terminal window (or Windows/OSX equivalent) in your "translations" directory and enter the following command:

lupdate -ts myModule.ts

This creates an empty translation file. Once this is done, you need to ensure that the translation scripts are updated as in this pull request.

Everything after this is automatic as far as a developer is concerned. The administrator will extract the text strings, the translators will translate them, then the administrator will extract the translations and update FreeCAD/master.

Preparing your 3rd party module or macro for translation

3rd party modules or macros are translated in much the same fashion, except that you must do some of the work yourself. This forum discussion describes the details .

Automating Translation Updates

Currently FreeCAD uses the Crowdin API via Crowdin Scripts to pull and push translations in to Crowdin and back in to the Github repo.

Older module translation techniques

Localization Older Methods describes the use of translation tools such as Qt Linguist, lupdate, lrelease, pylupdate4, etc in detail. Most of this is no longer required for FreeCAD/master modules, but may be helpful preparing and updating 3rd party modules.

Translating the wiki

This wiki hosts a lot of contents, the majority of which build up the manual. You can browse the documentation starting from the Main Page, or have a look at the user's manual Online Help Toc.

To translate the wiki, you must have wiki edit permissions; see FAQ#How_can_I_get_edit_permission_on_the_wiki.3F.

You should also have enough knowledge of wiki markup and follow the general styling guidelines described on WikiPages.

Translation extension

When the wiki moved away from SourceForge, Yorik installed MediaWiki's Translation extension which facilitates translating pages. Advantages of the translation extension are that the page title can now be translated, it keeps track of translations, it notifies if the original page has been updated, and it maintains translations in sync with the original English page.

The tool is documented in Help:Extension:Translate, and is part of MediaWiki Language Extension Bundle.

To quickly get started on preparing a page for translation, please read the Page translation example. Essentially, a pair of <translate> ... </translate> tags need to surround the entire page to activate the translation system, and the page needs to be marked for translation.

To see an example of how the translation tool works, visit the Main Page. You will see an automatically generated language bar at the top. Click on Deutsch (German), it will get you to Main Page/de. Right under the title, you can read "This page is a translated version of the page Main Page and the translation is XX% complete.", XX being the actual percentage of translation. Click on "Translate" at the top of the page to start the translation utility to update, correct and review the existing translation.

If you go to Main Page/de, you will notice that you cannot edit the page directly anymore by clicking the [Edit] tags, and the top link "Edit" has been substituted by the "Translate" link that opens the translation utility.

When adding new content, the English page should be created first, then translated into another language. If someone wants to change or add content in a page, the English page should be modified first.

If you are unsure on how to proceed with the translations, don't hesitate to ask for help in the Development/Wiki subforum or in the specific language subforum in the FreeCAD forum.

Important notes

Every wiki user that has "Editor" permissions is able to launch the translate utility and write, save, and review translations.

However, only users with "Administrator" permissions are able to mark pages for translation. A page that is not marked for translation won't make use of the translation extension and won't be correctly synchronized to the English information.

The left sidebar is also translatable, but only Administrators can modify this element of the site. Please follow the dedicated instructions on Localisation Sidebar.

The first time you switch a page to the new translation system, it loses all its old "manual" translations. To recover a translation, you should save an offline copy of the old text before the switch. Then you can use this old translated text to fill in the translation units in the new system. You can also open an earlier version from the history, and get the old text in this way. This has to be done for every language that had a translated page.

Old translation instructions

These instructions are for historical background only. Translations should use the new system with the #Translation extension described above.

So the first step is to check if the manual translation has already been started for your language (look in the left sidebar, under "manual").
If not, head to the forum and say that you want to start a new translation, we'll create the basic setup for the language you want to work on.
You must then gain wiki edit permission.
If your language is already listed, see what pages are still missing a translation (they will be listed in red). The technique is simple: go into a red page, and copy/paste the contents of the corresponding English page, and start translating.
Do not forget to include all the tags and templates from the original English page. Some of those templates will have an equivalent in your language (for example, there is a French Docnav template called Docnav/fr). You should use a slash and your language code in almost all the links. Look at other already translated pages to see how they did it.
Add a slash and your language code in the categories, like [[Category:Developer Documentation/fr]]
And if you are unsure, head to the forums and ask people to check what you did and tell you if it's right or not.
Four templates are commonly used in manual pages. These 4 templates have localized versions (Template:Docnav/fr, Template:fr, etc...)

  • Template:GuiCommand : is the Gui Command information block in upper-right of command documentation.
  • Template:Docnav : it is the navigation bar at the bottom of the pages, showing previous and next pages.

Page Naming Convention
Please take note that, due to limitations in the Sourceforge implementation of the MediaWiki engine, we require that your pages all keep their original English counterpart's name, appending a slash and your language code. For example, the translated page for About FreeCAD should be About Freecad/es for Spanish, About FreeCAD/pl for polish, etc. The reason is simple: so that if translators go away, the wiki's administrators, who do not speak all languages, will know what these pages are for. This will facilitate maintenance and avoid lost pages.
If you want the Docnav template to show linked pages in your language, you can use redirect pages. They are basically shortcut links to the actual page. Here is an example with the French page for About FreeCAD.

  • The page About FreeCAD/fr is the page with content
  • The page À propos de FreeCAD contains this code:
#REDIRECT [[About FreeCAD/fr]]
  • In the About FreeCAD/fr page, the Docnav code will look like this:
{{docnav/fr|Bienvenue sur l'aide en ligne|Fonctionnalités}}

The page "Bienvenue sur l'aide en ligne" redirects to Online Help Startpage/fr, and the page "Fonctionnalités" redirects to Feature list/fr.