Translating free software

Last year I noticed that the translations for the free software packages and operating systems I use started to get more and more swenglish language in them, i.e. a mix of Swedish and English. I started to look for the reasons and noted that one of the most prolific and enthusiastic translators in Sweden had taken a break – maybe for good. This happened already in 2012, but as you all know, it takes a while before it’s noticed, due to packages drifting downstream, forking and other things. Also, the quality in some of the translations had started to get real bad. What to do? I’ve never cared for translating  before, as the translations were just there, and I’ve not been that much into the area (other than programming languages). However, my Swedish school teacher always told med ”You should write” so I guess I at least have (or had:) some natural fluency in writing.



Anyway, I started with some small translations to help out, and  ended up as the coordinator for the Swedish Ubuntu translation team. It turned out to be FUN in a way I couldn’t imagine. I really thought it would be boring, but somehow, my brain likes the creative and the correctness of translating. So much, in fact, that I do it several hours a week. So far, I have done maybe 50-100 translations – I don’t know because I don’t have list – and will continue as long as I think it’s fun. It’s an never ending work, but the focus for me is mainly on Gnome and Ubuntu-related stuff.

It also feels good from an altruistic view, knowing that people use the translations daily. And actually it’s good to have on a CV.

To get going and help out, start with check out which, even if it’s directed at Ubuntu users, is general enough to get you going, and to help you get in touch with reviewers and so on. If you’re into languages and want to help out, please do – It’s fun, altruistic and good for your CV. A lot of projects, like Firefox, VLC, Chrome, Libreoffice, The Swedish word lists, and other programs are out there, waiting for your help. Oh, btw, you probably use these programs on your Mac and Windows computer too, so it’s really for the benefit of all.