Another post in our Awesome L10n Communities series. This week we’ll introduce you to the Icelandic L10n community, led by Kristján Guðmundsson.
How did the community get started?
It started for me in 2007; I was using Sunbird in English and was frustrated by the lack of integration in Sunbird for native date and time formats from the operating system. So I started creating my own language pack for Sunbird to add date formats and to translate the user interface into Icelandic as well. After I had translated Sunbird, translating Firefox seemed to be the next logical step, since most of the work in Toolkit was already done. At first I created my own language pack as an extension and made it available at mozdev.org. In 2008 I joined Mozilla and registered as a translator to have Icelandic added as an official language release for Firefox.
What are some unique language & cultural challenges your community faces?
The biggest challenges are mainly that the whole population of Iceland consists of only about 320 thousand people. This usually means that getting a big and active community is not easy and you have to be prepared to do a lot of work yourself. Icelandic is probably one of the smallest languages Firefox is available in with regards to native speakers. The second “problem” is that all Icelanders learn English as a second language in school, so there is a strong tendency to just use the English versions of any software even if there is access to a native version. But I think this has been changing lately and more people are starting to prefer the native versions. Of course it is impossible to expect all software to be available in your language, but I am a strong supporter of having the most used applications available in your native language.
How do you find new contributors for your community?
People contact me directly with corrections and language improvements. I am also in touch with the community that localizes Linux into Icelandic and they send me corrections and improvements from time to time.
When you find new contributors, what sort of best practices do you train them on?
Since I mostly do all the work, there are not many options for best practices
If there was one thing your community would point to as the community’s greatest achievement, what would that be?
Translating Firefox and having it available to download for the Icelandic public was a great achievement for me personally.
What are you most looking forward to accomplishing this next year?
I have been thinking about starting an Icelandic translation for Fennec, so that would be something to look forward to.
If you had one piece of advice for new L10n communities, what would it be?
Starting a translation for any large project like Firefox seems impossible to finish at first, but by just working incrementally and consistently you will soon find that it takes less time than you think.