The Mozilla Localization blog has a fantastic post, authored by Jeff Beatty: Why we localize Firefox. Jeff has asked Mozillians why they contribute to Firefox localization. The responses are inspirational.
Here is one:
I wanted to do something which had an impact on others. This is difficult to do when you are a student and all your work is something which is graded and then forgotten. Contributing to an open source project was my way of having an impact.
Have an impact. See your efforts be used by people around the world (instead of writing code that will never be used in the real world). Imagine what a difference it makes when it comes to motivating a student!
Here is another one great quote:
I tried to help Armenian localizers so my grandfather could use Firefox in Armenian.
Today, Firefox 14 has been released and it features a new language: Fulah (also known as “Peul” in French and Wolof, “Fula” in Portuguese). Fulah is used in 20 African countries, most of them in West Africa.
I’d like to thank Ibrahima Saar for his work on the Fulah version of Firefox. Ibrahima is really making a difference for people who use Fulah on a daily basis, just like the other people who translate into the 77 other languages Firefox is available in are.
I know from experience that commercial companies need to know the Return On Investment (ROI) before deciding if they should localize one of their products or not. In short, they need to know if the potential gain will cover the cost or not.
At Mozilla, things are different. Like I said previously, Revenue is the wrong yardstick. Ibrahima did not have do justify having a Fulah version of Firefox. The same goes for Frisian, Esperanto, Galician, Romanch, Breton or Welsh. We care about quality of the localization, not whether we’re going to make money out of it.
Today, I’m sure the Fulah people of the world join me to thank Ibrahima for empowering them with a great Web browser available in their language. I don’t read Fulah, yet having one more language for Firefox makes me proud of the collective work done.