Translating an article

Contributors Contributors Last updated: 03/22/2024 87% of users voted this helpful

Who do I talk to if I have questions?

At some point we were all new to localizing in SUMO, so having questions is welcome and encouraged. The more you ask, the more you know! To get answers, you should find the right people to talk to. You can find us at the following places:

You should also stay in touch with your Locale Leaders. You can find them by going to the locale list and clicking your language in the list. Your Locale Leaders are the best people to ask for advice and most up-to-date information regarding the localization of SUMO into your language.

Translating an article

IMPORTANT: The information below is universal to all locales. To get detailed information about localizing into your language, please get in touch with your Locale Leaders - they will tell you what style of language to use and what to look out for. You can also refer to your locale's style guide. Thank you!

  • At the very top there is a list of the most visited articles. Pick and click the first article you see marked with a red triangle, expand Editing Tools on the left, and then click Translate Article.
  • If you don't see any articles marked with red triangles (awesome!), you can find some articles that are marked as "Needs update" - go for that! In this case you will be updating an existing localization. Learn more about this through reading How do I update articles after their first translation?

  • On the next page the English version is displayed on the left hand side, the translation goes into the right hand side.

What should I translate?

  • Start from the top. Give the article a name in your language, and make sure the slug looks correct.
    What is the slug? The slug is part of the url of the article, like: It shouldn't exceed 50 characters. From the auto-generated slug, you can remove stop words and other unnecessary words. Make sure it stays human-readable (= easy to understand for humans) and has the most important information. Make sure that each word in the slug is separated with a hyphen, like in this-is-the-slug.
  • Translate the keywords for the article. If an article does not have keywords in English, add keywords for your language that you think would work best for this article.
    Why should I translate the keywords? An article must be easily findable. That's the role of keywords. All words in the title that are not English stop words such as "the" and "is" are already considered as keywords, so don't add them as keywords. Depending on your locale, translate some or all the keywords and eventually add synonyms, related terms, regional versions, usual typos, and usual anglicisms. DO NOT add too many keywords because each one of them will have less weight. For more info, see When and how to use keywords to improve an article's search ranking.
  • Then, translate the search results summary. Try to find a compromise between an accurate translation and the 160-character limit. If an article does not have a search results summary, add one for your language that you think would work best for this article.
    What is the search summary? The text paragraph that is listed on the search results page. Make sure it gives people who search for help a clear idea of what they can find when they click the article.
  • Finally, move on to the full article text. This part will probably take at least 5 minutes to go through, if not more. It is the most important part of the translation, so:
    • Remember to keep the Table of Contents marker in place, if it is used in the article. It looks similar to this: __TOC__
    • Remember to keep all the brackets and code elements intact, otherwise the article will not function properly. More details on that in the "What should I NOT translate?" section below.
    • Remember to keep the formatting of the original text - bold and italicized words, section headers, list elements, etc.
    • Be careful about the names of product user interface elements (for example terms like Settings or Add-ons in the text.
      Why should I be careful? The product user interface (also known as UI) is translated outside of SUMO. In order to know what is the chosen label for each UI component (for example, a button in Firefox or a menu in Firefox OS), use the Transvision glossary search.

What should I NOT translate?

It is very important that you do NOT translate several elements in the article content that are mentioned below. If they are translated, the article will be 'broken' - it will not function correctly in your language.
  • If you're translating a "Template:..." article, do not translate the title and the slug - just copy the existing English name into the title field for the localized version. (note: the ability to do this will be disabled in the future, so this point should be removed from the list when that happens)
  • If the document you're translating includes only one word: "REDIRECT", do not translate that article. It is a automatic redirect and it should already work for your locale.
  • Do not translate or change anything that is within brackets like these: {}. This applies to terms like note, for (including parameters like fx57 or linux), warning.
    • However, in markup for buttons, menus or keys (like this: {button Cancel}), do translate the label (in this case "Cancel", but not "button").
  • Do not translate the English article titles referenced in the page (they are framed with double square [[ ]] brackets). They will be automatically updated to your locale when you translate the target page into your locale.
    • If the link contains a custom label (e.g. [[Some Mozilla Support article|this article]]), do translate the label (the text to the right of the pipe | symbol). It will be displayed instead of the article title.
  • Do not translate the elements of any URL. The only thing you can possibly change in a URL is the locale parameter (en-US). In most cases, you can change en-US to your locale (for example pt-BR for Brazilian Portuguese). Before you change it, make sure that the target page exists for your language! If it doesn't, depending on the situation you can:
    • keep the link to the English page,
    • use a different link to a page in your language, if that page makes sense in the context,
    • remove the link to the English page and not use any link in the localized version.

If you are not sure what to do, please ask for help on the l10n forum.

If you are unsure what something means, you should read about How to use "For" tags and Using Templates to learn more about those elements. Also, remember to ask your Locale Leaders or other localizers for help.

While localizing, you can see how your translation will look like by clicking the Preview Content button. You can also add screenshots from the Media Gallery to your article.
  • When you are done, submit the article for review, and make sure you add a meaningful comment, as it will be displayed on the article history page.

The reviewers are now notified about your new translation and will take care of reviewing your article as soon as they can. They will read your translation, make any corrections if needed and make it public for all users who are looking for help. Remember that the review may take some time, so be patient and move on to another article, if you have the time. Thank you for your patience!

If you want to practice localizing SUMO, you can localize our "practice" article here.


If you follow the instructions above and finish an article... that's it! You translated your first article - thank you! We hope you find it easy enough to translate more than one :-).

After your translation is reviewed, check the article history page. If the reviewer has made any corrections to your translation, click "Compare Selected Revisions" and take a look at the grammar corrections and other changes he or she has made. Take them into account when you translate other articles; your translations will be even better!

If you enjoyed it and want to keep translating articles into your language, you should read the following article: How do I update articles after their first translation?

Remember that you should always ask your Locale Leaders or other localizers for help if you don't know or understand something. We all learn from one another and make each other greater - that's the essence of open source!

Do you have any questions? Do you need assistance while localizing? Please tell us on the l10n forum.

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