Debian Installer Internationalization and Localization Guide

This manual is free software; you may redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License. Please refer to the license in Appendix H, GNU General Public License.


This document describes how Debian Installer internationalisation (i18n) and localisation (l10n) are handled.

It is aimed at being used as a reference for all Debian Installer translators and developers when i18n/l10n topics are involved.

The source code of this document can be found in the debian-installer git repository.

Table of Contents

Organisation of the document and covered topics
1. For translators: translating Debian Installer
1.1. The Debian Installer levels of translation
1.2. Levels summary
1.3. Prioritizing work
1.4. Level 1
1.4.1. Contents
1.4.2. Sublevels
1.4.3. Files location and access methods
1.4.4. Updating/adding translations
1.4.5. Prioritizing work
1.4.6. Specific recommendations
1.5. Level 2
1.5.1. Contents
1.5.2. Tasksel
1.5.3. Iso-codes
1.5.4. Popularity-contest
1.5.5. Eject
1.5.6. Espeakup
1.5.7. Grub2
1.6. Level 3
1.6.1. Contents
1.6.2. Debconf
1.6.3. Newt
1.6.4. Win32-loader
1.7. String freezes and the Debian Installer release process
2. For maintainers: maintaining internationalized Debian Installer packages
2.1. Checkout of the whole Debian Installer source tree
2.2. Debian Installer packages internationalization and localization
2.3. English templates handling
2.3.1. General recommendations
2.3.2. New debconf templates introduction
2.3.3. Marking strings for translation
2.4. Translators work method
2.5. Handling modifications to templates
2.5.1. Regular modifications
2.5.2. Review changes to existing templates
2.5.3. Trivial modifications
2.6. String freezes
2.7. Releasing packages
3. The New Language Process: adding a new language to Debian Installer
3.1. First contact with Debian Installer development team
3.2. New language identification
3.3. Locale checking/writing
3.4. Localized language name
3.5. Localechooser entry
3.6. Needed characters
3.7. Font for the graphical version of Debian Installer
3.8. Default keymap
3.9. Account creation on Salsa
3.10. Granting and checking the translator commit access
3.11. Choosing the translator's working tools
3.12. Subscribe to the mailing list
3.13. Announcement of the translation effort
3.14. Follow the Debian Installer development
4. Installation guide translations
4.1. Introduction
5. Coordination of Debian Installer i18n/l10n
6. Technical details about i18n/l10n handling
6.1. Translation status pages
6.1.1. Introduction
6.1.2. Status pages generation scripts
6.1.3. Status pages monitoring
6.2. Supported languages list
6.3. Prospective languages
6.4. Active languages
6.4.1. Removing the language from the prospective list
6.4.2. Run the synchronization script
6.4.3. Activate language in localechooser
6.4.4. Uploading packages
6.4.5. Add or check tasks in tasksel
6.4.6. Check the availability of font for the graphical installer
6.4.7. Record the new status of the language
6.4.8. Add language to utility script
6.5. Translation synchronisation
6.5.1. The need for a synchronization process
6.5.2. Localization files synchronisation process
7. Translations spellchecking
7.1. Introduction
7.2. Understanding the output
7.3. Spotting typos
7.4. Suspect variables
8. Language tasks for tasksel
8.1. Introduction
8.2. <language> task
8.3. <language>-desktop task
8.4. Requesting changes/addition of language tasks
A. Translation methods and advices
A.1. Introduction
A.2. Work with translation teams
A.3. Use peer review
A.4. Remain consistent
A.5. Work with previous translators
A.6. Follow development
A.7. Testing translations
A.8. Variables substitutions
B. Some basic notions about git
B.1. Getting an account on
B.2. Installing git and myrepos
B.3. Using git to get and commit files
B.4. Core Debian Installer and various levels packages repositories checkout command lines
B.5. Changelog entries handling
C. Checkout commands
D. Reporting bugs against Debian packages
D.1. Debian bug reports, severities and tags
D.2. Recommended bug formatting for translation bug reports
D.3. Generic method to send bug reports
D.4. Sending bug reports from a Debian system
D.5. Attaching files to bug reports
E. Gettext files editors and tools
E.1. Gettext files editors
E.2. Gettext files tools
E.3. Debian specific tools
E.4. Spellchecking tools
E.5. Gettext files headers
E.6. Plural Forms
F. Languages codes
G. Debian Installer i18n coordinators
H. GNU General Public License
H.1. Preamble
H.3. How to Apply These Terms to Your New Programs